Mikhail Gershenzon

Gershenzon, Mikhail Osipovich

 

Born July 1 (13), 1869, in Kishinev; died Feb. 19, 1925, in Moscow. Russian historian of literature and social thought. Graduated from Moscow University in 1894.

Gershenzon’s works on P. Ia. Chaadaev (1908), V. S. Pecherin (1910), the Decembrist S. I. Krivtsov (1914), “Griboedov’s Moscow” (1914), and the Westernizers and Slavophiles (The History of Young Russia, 1908; Historical Notes on Russian Society, 1910; and Images of the Past, 1912) contain a wealth of factual information and are written in the style of the literary, philosophical, and psychological study, but from an idealist point of view. In 1909, Gershenzon contributed an article opposing the ideas of socialism and revolution to the journal Vekhi. In 1914 he broke with the supporters of Vekhi.

After the October Revolution, he cooperated with Soviet power—for example, he was an organizer and first president of the All-Russian Writers’ Union. However, he maintained his religious and philosophical views. His books about Pushkin and Turgenev, which were written in 1919, contain original psychological and aesthetic observations together with efforts to establish the basis of creativity in the irrational. His method of “slow reading” in these books is subjective. Gershenzon made a number of valuable archival materials available to the scholarly world. He prepared the collections Russian Propylaea (vols. 1-4, 6, 1915-19) and The Ogarev Archives (published posthumously in 1930) for publication.

WORKS

Stat’i o Pushkine. Introduction by L. P. Grossman. Moscow, 1926.
Pis’ma k bratu. [Leningrad] 1927.

REFERENCES

Plekhanov, G. V. Soch., vol. 23. Moscow-Leningrad, 1926.
Berman, Ia. Z. M. O. Gershenzon: Bibliografiia. [Odessa] 1928.

IU. N. KOROTKOV

References in periodicals archive ?
During June and July he shared a room with his old friend, the cultural historian Mikhail Gershenzon.
The contact established between Yaffe and the Russian poets at the time was largely due to Mikhail Gershenzon, a prominent Jewish-Russian cultural figure, a major scholar of Pushkin, who was well-known in literary circles and was a personal friend of Vladislav Khodasevich.
In 1909, the eminent literary and social critic Mikhail Gershenzon wrote that "the surest gauge of the greatness of a Russian writer is the extent of his hatred for the intelligentsia"--a view that works well if we think of Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and Chekhov.