Fedor Sologub

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Sologub, Fedor

 

(pen name of Fedor Kuz’mich Teternikov). Born Feb. 17 (Mar. 1), 1863, in St. Petersburg; died Dec. 5, 1927, in Leningrad. Russian writer.

Sologub’s father was a tailor, and his mother a peasant. He graduated from a teachers’ institute in 1882 and for 25 years was a teacher of mathematics. His first poems were published in 1884. A symbolist of the older generation, Sologub was strongly influenced by European decadent philosophy and aesthetics.

The hero of Sologub’s well-known novel The Little Demon (1907), the provincial teacher Peredonov, an unsavory character, an informer, and a politically loyal philistine, embodied all the commonplace, base aspects that Sologub observed in contemporary life. This acutely grotesque personage came to be used as an appellative. Peredonov’s opposite, the teacher, poet, and magician Trirodov—the author’s Utopian self—triumphed in the novel The Created Legend (1914). Here elements of realistic grotesque were combined with whimsical fantasy, mysticism, and the erotic.

In Sologub’s lyrics as well, love, art, and the dream are count-erposed to gloomy reality. M. Gorky regarded Sologub as a highly talented writer who expressed a pessimistic world view; he stressed his own inability to accept Sologub’s principal ideas. Nevertheless, Gorky recommended that Sologub’s poetry be studied: “an excellent poet; his Flaming Circle is a remarkable book that will be admired for a long time” (Sobr. soch., vol. 30, 1955, p. 57). Sologub’s poetry is classically pure and melodious; with the exception of The Little Demon, it is better in quality than his prose.

From 1905 to 1907, Sologub wrote caustic Small Political Tales and malicious epigrams on the tsar and his circle. The defeat of the Revolution of 1905-07 strengthened Sologub’s pessimism. He welcomed the overthrow of the autocracy but to a great extent did not understand the October Revolution of 1917.

Sologub translated works by Voltaire, Maupassant, T. Gautier, Baudelaire, Verlaine, Rimbaud, Heine, O. Wilde, S. Petófi, C. N. Bialik, and T. G. Shevchenko. He also wrote a number of plays and articles.

WORKS

Sobr. soch., vols. 1,3-20. Petrograd, 1913-14.
Stikhotvoreniia. Leningrad, 1939. Melkii bes. [Kemerovo] 1958.
Stikhotvoreniia. [Introductory article by M. I. Dikman.] [Leningrad] 1975.

REFERENCES

O F. Sologube. Kritika: Stat’ii zametki. St. Petersburg, 1911.
Briusov, V. la. “F. Sologub.” In his book Dalekie i blizkie. Moscow, 1912.
Ehrenburg, I. “F. Sologub.” In his book Portrety sovremennykh poetov. Moscow, 1923.
Blok, A. “Tvorchestvo F. Sologuba.” Sobr. soch., vol. 5. Moscow-Leningrad, 1962.
Chukovskii, K. “Putevoditel’ po Sologubu.” Sobr. soch., vol. 6. Moscow, 1969.
Bibliografiia sochinenii F. Sologuba. St. Petersburg, 1909.
Istoriia russkoi literatury kontsa XlX-nach. XX v. : Bibliograficheskii ukazatel’. Moscow-Leningrad, 1963.

S. L. ZAUN

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