Lebedev-Polianskii, Pavel Ivanovich
(real surname, Lebedev; pseudonym, Valerian Polianskii). Born Dec. 21, 1881 (Jan. 2, 1882), in Melenki, now in Vladimir Oblast; died Apr. 4, 1948, in Moscow. Soviet critic and literary scholar; academician of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (1946). Member of the CPSU since 1902.
Lebedev-Polianskii was a participant in the revolutionary movement. From 1908 to 1917 he lived as an émigré in Geneva. After the Great October Revolution (until 1919) he was state commissar of the literature and publishing department of the People’s Commissariat for Education; he was director of the first Soviet editions of the works of classic Russian writers. From 1918 to 1920 he was chairman of the All-Russian Council of Proletkul’t (Proletarian Cultural and Educational Organization) and was influenced by its erroneous theoretical positions.
Lebedev-Polianskii was editor in chief of a number of publications, including Proletarskaia kul’tura (Proletarian Culture; 1918–21), Literatura i marksizm (Literature and Marxism; 1928–30), and Literaturnaia entsiklopediia (Literary Encyclopedia; 1934–39). From 1921 to 1930 he was director of Glavlit. He was also a member of the editorial board of the first edition of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia.
Lebedev-Polianskii was the author of a number of theoretical works (Lenin and Literature, 1924), studies in the history of Russian criticism (N. A. Dobroliubov, 1933; Three Great Russian Democrats, 1938; V. G. Belinskii, 1945), and articles on Soviet literature (the book On the Literary Front, 1924). He was awarded the Order of Lenin.