Ertel, Aleksandr

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ertel’, Aleksandr Ivanovich


Born July 7 (19), 1855, in the village of Ksizovo, in what is now Zadonsk Raion, Lipetsk Oblast; died Feb. 7 (20), 1908, in Moscow. Russian writer.

Ertel’ was self-educated. He moved to St. Petersburg in 1879. In the early 1880’s he became associated with the People’s Will. Arrested in 1884, he was in exile in Tver’ until 1888. In 1883 Ertel’ published the book of literary sketches and short stories Stepniak’s Notes, which brought him fame as a realistic writer. He went on to publish the novellas The Young Lady of Volkhonka (1883), Piatikhin’s Children (1884), MineraTnye Vody (1886), Two Pairs (1887), and Strukov’s Career (1895). He was also the author of the drama The Women’s Revolt (1884). His novels include The Gardenins: Their Retainers, Their Adherents, and Their Foes (vols. 1–2, 1889), which is considered his best work, and The Change of Generations (1891). His principal themes were the life of the poor peasantry, the democratic intelligentsia, the pomeshchiki (landowners), the merchants, and the stratification of the countryside after the peasant reforms. A. P. Chekhov, L. N. Tolstoy, and M. Gorky held Ertel’s talent in high regard.


Sobr. soch., vols. 1–7. Moscow, 1909.
Gardeniny, ikh dvornia, priverzhentsy i vragi, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1933.
Zapiski Stepniaka: Ocherki i rasskazy. Moscow, 1958.
Volkhonskaia baryshnia. Smena. Kar’era Strukova. Moscow-Leningard, 1959.


Kostin, G. A. A. I. Ertel’: Zhizri i tvorchestvo. Voronezh, 1955.
Spasibenko, A. P. A. I. Ertel’: Pisatel’-vos’midesiatnik. Alma-Ata, 1966.


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