Grigorii Machtet

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Machtet, Grigorii Aleksandrovich


Born Sept. 3 (15), 1852, in Lutsk; died Aug. 14 (27), 1901, in Yalta. Russian writer.

Because of his political unreliability Machtet was expelled from the Nemirov (1865) and Kamenets-PodoPskii Gymnasiums. From 1872 to 1874 he lived in America, where he was a farm laborer. Upon his return to St. Petersburg, Machtet participated in the Narodnik (Populist) revolutionary movement. In 1876 he was imprisoned in the Peter and Paul Fortress; he was in domestic exile until 1885.

Machtet began to publish prose fiction in 1873. He also wrote travel sketches (the collection Traveling Far and Wide published in 1889). Machtet’s fiction (short stories drawn from Siberian life, including “Another Truth,” “A Mundane Affair,” and “An Assessor’s Dream,” as well as the novella The Prodigal Son, 1881, published in 1887) is characterized by a Narodnik idealization of the peasants’ everyday life combined with sharp criticism of the regime of oppression and force. Vital issues of the period are treated in his novella A Man With a Design (1886), the novel At Dawn (1892-93), and other works, the best of which is the novel One Can Fight Alone, Too (1886, the original title of which was From the Past Which Cannot Return), revealing the dramatic fate of a village of serfs. Machtet is the author of the famous revolutionary song “Succumbed to the Ordeal of Imprisonment” (“The Last Farewell”), written about the student Chernyshev, who had died in prison.


Poln. sobr. soch, vols 1-10. St. Petersburg, 1911-13.
Izbrannoe. Moscow, 1958. [With an Introduction by T. G. Machtet-lurkevich.]


Mikhailovskii, N. K. Poslednie sochineniia, vol. 2. St. Petersburg, 1905. Pages 54-55.


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