Kozma Prutkov

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Koz’ma Prutkov


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.


Soch. Koz’my Prutkova. Moscow, 1965. [Introduction by V. Skovznikov; notes by A. K. Baboreko.]


Istoriia russkoi literatury XIX v.: Bibliograficheskii ukazatel’. Moscow-Leningrad, 1962.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Now look at the sunset, read another poem, write a letter and go and get your sleep before resuming the struggle of the next day." A collection of wisdom and synthesizing observations in the tradition of the great French moralists La Rochefoucauld (1613-80), Chamfort (1741-94), Vauvenargues (1715-47), and, last but not least, the inestimable fictitious Russian author Kozma Prutkov. A very fine company to be in, and on a very high plateau of creative ingenuity.
In the 1850s, in collaboration with two cousins, Tolstoy began to publish comic verse under the joint pseudonym "Kozma Prutkov," who is portrayed as a clerk in the Ministry of Finance.