Senkovskii, Osip

Senkovskii, Osip (Iulian) Ivanovich


(Józef-Julian Sękowski). Born Mar. 19 (31), 1800, in Vil’na Uezd (district); died Mar. 4 (16), 1858, in St. Petersburg. Russian writer, journalist, and Orientalist. Corresponding member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences (1828).

The son of an old Polish szlaehta (noble) family, Senkovskii graduated from the University of Vil’na in 1819, after which he made a tour of the Orient. Having a brilliant grasp of many Oriental languages, he was a professor at St. Petersburg University from 1822 to 1847 and was one of the founders of Oriental studies in Russia. From 1834 until 1847 (nominally, until 1856) he was editor of the journal Biblioteka dlia chteniia (Library for Reading), in which he published, under the pen name Baron Brambeus, a number of novellas with a variety of themes: the Orient, high society, everyday life, and satirical, scholarly, and philosophical subjects. His feuilletons and articles also appeared in the journal. Although he possessed literary talent, erudition, and a light style, Senkovskii failed to make a lasting contribution to Russian literature. As an adherent of the theory of pure art, he was opposed to realistic tendencies in literature.


Sobr. soch., vols. 1–9. St. Petersburg, 1858–59.


Krachkovskii, I. Iu. “Senkovskii i ego ucheniki.” Izbr. soch., vol. 5. Moscow-Leningrad, 1958.
Kaverin, V. A. Baron Brambeus. Moscow, 1966.
Pedrotti, L. J. J. Sękowski: The Genesis of a Literary Alien. Berkeley-Los Angeles, 1965.