Aleksandr Vasilevich Nikitenko

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Nikitenko, Aleksandr Vasil’evich


Born Mar. 12 (24), 1804, in the village of Udarovka, in what is now Voronezh Oblast; died July 21 (Aug. 2), 1877, in Pavlovsk. Russian literary critic and literary historian. Academician of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences (1855).

The son of a serf, Nikitenko was granted his freedom in 1824 with K. F. Ryleev’s assistance. In 1828 he graduated from the faculty of philosophy and law of the University of St. Petersburg, and from 1834 to 1864 he was a professor there in the department of Russian philology. From 1860 to 1865 he worked in the Main Administration for Censorship. In 1847–48 he was official editor of Sovremennik.

He was the author of the article “On the Contemporary Trend of Russian Literature” (1847), as well as articles on the work of V. A. Zhukovskii, I. A. Krylov, and other writers. Nikitenko was one of the forerunners of the academic school in literary theory and criticism. His Essay on the History of Russian Literature (1845) was one of the first works to attempt a periodization of Russian literature and an analysis of Russian literature’s sources and means of study. Published posthumously were his My Tale About Myself and Diary (1888–92; separate supplementary edition Notes and Diary, vols. 1–3, 1893), which are valuable documents for the history of Russian social thought and literature of the 1820’s to 1870’s.


Mysli o realizme v literature. St. Petersburg, 1872.
Dnevnik, vols. 1–3. (Introduction by I. Ia. Aizenshtok.) Moscow, 1955–56.


Belinskii, V. G. “ ’Recti’ o kritike’ A. Nikitenko.” Poln. sobr. soch., vol. 6. Moscow, 1955.
Belinskii, V. G. “Opyt istorii russkoi literatury.” Poln. sobr. soch., vol. 9. Moscow, 1955.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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