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the collective pen name of a group of Russian writers: A. K. Tolstoy and the brothers A. M. and V. M. Zhemchuzhnikov, who wrote as a team during the 1850’s and 1860’s.
The fictitious Koz’ma Prutkov presented the comic figure of a poet and minor functionary, “complacent, slow-witted, good-natured, and loyal” (Works of Koz’ma Prutkov, 1960, p. 355), who judges all things from a bureaucratic point of view. The works of Koz’ma Prutkov, printed from 1859 to 1863 in Iskra, Sovremennik, and other publications, played an important role in literary life. Through parody, the authors exposed the emptiness of the poetry of V. G. Benediktov (“Aquilon”), ridiculed so-called pure art (“Philosopher in a Bathhouse”) and pseudo-science (“Introduction to ’Historical materials’”), and debated the Slavophiles (“A Difference in Tastes”). Political issues of the day were reflected in the satire “Project: On the Introduction of Conformity of Thought to Russia” and the comedy “A Triumph of Virtue.” Prutkov’s aphorisms are popular to this day.
WORKSSoch. Koz’my Prutkova. Moscow, 1965. [Introduction by V. Skovznikov; notes by A. K. Baboreko.]
REFERENCEIstoriia russkoi literatury XIX v.: Bibliograficheskii ukazatel’. Moscow-Leningrad, 1962.
A. K. BABOREKO