Vladimir Dal

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Dal’, Vladimir Ivanovich


Born Nov. 10(22), 1801, in Lugansk, present-day Voroshilovgrad; died Sept. 22 (Oct. 4), 1872, in Moscow. Russian author, lexicographer, and ethnologist. Born into the family of a physician.

Dal’ graduated from the medical department of the University of Dorpat in 1829. He was a physician and then a civil servant. In 1838 he was elected a corresponding member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences in the category of natural sciences for his collection of the flora and fauna of Orenburg Krai. Dal’ was a friend of A. S. Pushkin and was present at his death.

Even as a youth Dal’ collected linguistic and folklore materials. His version of Russian Fairytales: The First Quintet was published in 1832 and True Stories and Fables in four volumes in 1833–39. In the 1830’s and 1840’s, Dal’ printed essays in the spirit of the naturalist school under the pseudonym Kazak Luganskii. V. G. Belinskii noted the realistic and democratic character of his work. In “Soldiers’ Spare Time” (1843) and “Sailors* Spare Time” (1853), Dal’ strove to create tales with mass appeal. In 1861–62 he published the collection Russian Popular Sayings, which contained more than 30,000 proverbs, sayings, and jokes. Dal’ spent over a half century on his major work, A Defining Dictionary of the Living Russian Language (vols. 1–4, 1863–66), which contains approximately 200,000 words and earned Dal’ the Lomonosov Prize of the Academy of Sciences and the title of Honored Academician (1863).


Poln. sobr. soch., vols. 1–10. St. Petersburg, 1897–98.
Tolkovyi slovar’ zhivogo velikorusskogo iazyka, vols. 1–4. Edited by I. A. Baudouin de Courtenay. Moscow, 1955.
Poslovitsy russkogo naroda. Moscow, 1957.
Povesti, Rasskazy, Ocherki, Skazki. Moscow-Leningrad, 1961.


Belinskii, V. G. “Povesti, skazki i rasskazy Kazaka Luganskogo.” Poln. sobr. soch., vol. 10. Moscow, 1956.
Istoriia russkoi literatury XIX v.: Bibliograficheskii ukazatel’. Moscow-Leningrad, 1962.


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