Kornei Chukovskii

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Chukovskii, Kornei Ivanovich


(real name, Nikolai Vasil’evich Korneichukov). Born Mar. 19 (31), 1882, in St. Petersburg; died Oct. 28, 1969, in Moscow. Soviet Russian writer, critic, literary scholar, and translator. Doctor of philology (1957).

Chukovskii was expelled from a Gymnasium in Odessa in the fifth grade because of his social origin (his mother was a peasant). He subsequently worked and studied on his own. He began his journalistic career in 1901, publishing essays on contemporary writers that were later collected in such books as From Chekhov to Our Times (1908) and Faces and Masks (1914). Although sharp and penetrating, Chukovskii’s literary portraits at times exhibited excessive subjectivity and paradoxicality of judgment. In Nat Pinkerton and Modern Literature (1908), he mocked petit bourgeois literature with great skill.

In 1916, M. Gorky invited Chukovskii to work at the Parus Publishing House and advised him to write for children. Chukovskii’s fairy tales in verse “Moidodyr” (1923), “The Giant Roach” (1923), “Mukha-tsokotukha” (1924; under the title “The Fly’s Wedding”), “Barmalei” (1925), and “Aibolit” (1929; under the title “The Adventures of Aibolit”) were elegant, witty, and free of didacticism. They quickly found their way into the hearts of young readers. Chukovskii’s painstaking study of children’s speech, ability to create words, and psychology resulted in Little Children (1928), republished later as From Two to Five (21st ed., 1970).

Chukovskii dealt with the legacy of N. A. Nekrasov in Nekrasov as Artist (1922), the collection of articles Nekrasov (1926), and the 1927 edition of Nekrasov’s Complete Collected Poems. His work on Nekrasov culminated in his definitive study, The Mastery of Nekrasov (1952; Lenin Prize, 1962).

A translator for many years, Chukovskii was the first to acquaint Russian readers with W. Whitman’s Leaves of Grass (1907). He analyzed contemporary methods of translation in Principles of Artistic Translation (1919) and High Art (1968). In his literary and historical memoirs, such as Contemporaries (1962) and Chekhov (1967), Chukovskii drew vivid portraits of Russian cultural figures. He also worked extensively as an editor.

Chukovskii received an honorary doctorate in literature from Oxford University in 1962. Many of his books have been translated into languages of the USSR and foreign languages. Chukovskii was awarded the Order of Lenin, three orders of the Red Banner of Labor, and various medals.


Sobr. soch., vols. 1–6. Moscow, 1965–69.
Aleksandr Blok kak chelovek i poet. Petrograd, 1924.
ll’ia Repin. Moscow, 1969.
Moi Uitmen, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1969.


Petrovskii, M. Kniga o Kornee Chukovskom. Moscow, 1966.
Rassadin, S. “Iskusstvo byt’ samim soboi.” Novyi mir, 1967, no. 7.
Slonimskii, M. “Kornei Chukovskii.” Zvezda, 1972, no. 8.
Vospominaniia o Kornee Chukovskom. Moscow, 1977.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
This is not surprising, because the highlights of his research year in the USSR were meetings with intellectuals and cultural elites, like Boris Pasternak, Kornei Chukovskii, and Anna Akhmatova.
Bowra was pleased to have another connection besides Kornei Chukovskii with the 'lost generation' (p.
On the lionizing of Murav'ev, see Kornei Chukovskii, The Poet and the Hangman (Nekrasov and Muravyov) (Ann Arbor, MI: Ardis, 1977).
(5) Witness Shklovskii's withering accusation in 1932, partly motivated by the personal enmity thathad played a significantrole in the dissolution of Lef, that Brik and his wife Lilia were 'boiling [Maiakovskii] down for glue': Kornei Chukovskii, 'Iz dnevnika 1832-1969', Znamia, 11 (1992), 135-94 (P 136).
(17) See Evgeniia Ivanova, "'Zimnii vziat i zagazhen,' ill Nowi biografizm v stile talk-show," a review of Irina Luk'ianova's Kornei Chukovskii, Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie 90 (2008): 315-38.
(41) See Anna Muza's discussion of Kornei Chukovskii's strenuous attempts to adjust the biography of a famous poet, Nikolai Nekrasov, to the needs of contemporary life.
Consequently, there are articles on Kornei Chukovskii's work on Nikolai Nekrasov over the decades, from the pre Revolutionary era to 1952, Sigizmund Krzhizhanovskii's novel Vozvrashchenie Miunkhgauzena (1927), Mikhail Slonimskii's novel Srednii prospekt (1927), Aleksandr Grin's novel Zolotaia tsep' (1925), the autobiographical fiction of Tsvetaeva's daughter Ariadna Efron, village prose', in particular Vasilii Belov's Lad (1979-81), and Lidiia Chukovskaia's Sofia Petrovna (1965).
(6) Others, like Kornei Chukovskii (1882-1969), may have had more reservations.
Naisfield, 'Some Observations on the Linguistic Competence of a Two Year Old Child', Child Development, 40 (1969), 565-75; Kornei Chukovskii, Ot dvukh do piati (Leningrad, 1935); Leondar, pp.
The chorus of the poem made use of a verse that had originally been published, credited to a small boy, by the famous writer Kornei Chukovskii. (74) This was not in fact a peace poem but was "adopted" without apology for the new purpose--framed in a way that made it suitable to the paternalistic adult culture of the time.
He himself was just as "ugly" a poet as Dmitrieva was "an ugly poetess." (8) Even those who benefited from his hospitality--like the critic Kornei Chukovskii, who stayed in Koktebel' for an extended period of time in 1923--felt free to comment on his inability to listen to other people and his tendency to bore them to death with his stories.