Nikolai Rubakin

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Rubakin, Nikolai Aleksandrovich


Born July 1 (13), 1862, in Oranienbaum, now the city of Lomonosov; died Nov. 23, 1946, in Lausanne; buried in Moscow. Russian specialist in book science, bibliographer, and writer.

Rubakin graduated from St. Petersburg University, where he studied in the faculty of physics and mathematics and in the faculty of law. He took part in the activities of an illegal student organization and was arrested. From 1907 he lived in Switzerland.

Rubakin was concerned with the psychology of those who read. His study of the psychology of the principal types of readers led him to consider the question of book propaganda and reading guidance. It also led him to propose a theory of “bibliopsychology,” in his book The Psychology of Reader and Book (Moscow-Leningrad, 1929). In this work, however, his erroneous methodological positions were apparent. Rubakin’s philosophical views were positivist and eclectic, and V. I. Lenin criticized them in a review of the second volume of Rubakin’s Among Books (V. I. Lenin, Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 25, pp. 111–14). At the same time, Lenin noted the great value of Rubakin’s bibliographical work Among Books: Survey of Russian Book Resources Relating to the History of Scientific-Philosophical and Literary-Social Ideas (2nd ed., vols. 1–3, 1911–15).

Rubakin made a significant contribution to library science and to the theory and practice of self-education. He amassed two large libraries (about 200,000 volumes), which he donated to the public. In 1930, for his services in the field of enlightenment, the Soviet government granted Rubakin a personal pension.


Rubakin, A. N. Rubakin: lotsman knizhnogo moria. Moscow, 1967.
Mavricheva, K. G. N. A. Rubakin. Moscow, 1972.


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