Petr Nikolaevich Kudriavtsev

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kudriavtsev, Petr Nikolaevich


Born Aug. 4 (16), 1816, in Moscow; died there Jan. 18 (30), 1858. Russian historian and man of letters.

Kudriavtsev graduated from Moscow University; he was the student of T. N. Granovskii. In 1847 he became an instructor and in 1855, a professor at Moscow University. His specialty was world history. As a methodologist Kudriavtsev opposed the attempts of the dvorianstvo (nobility and gentry) ideologist S. S. Uvarov to represent history as a chain of legends of questionable authenticity. In his studies, written from the viewpoint of a liberal bourgeois, Kudriavtsev sought to uncover the inner and, above all, political causes of historical phenomena. Transitional periods in the history of man (the rise of feudalism, the Renaissance, and the Reformation), when old social relations were superseded by the new, particularly attracted him. He gave his greatest attention to ancient Rome and medieval Italy. He was also interested in contemporary Italian history. Kudriavtsev’s most important monographs are The Fate of Italy From the Fall of the Western Roman Empire to Its Restoration by Charlemagne (1850) and Roman Women (1856).

Kudriavtsev was the author of a number of novellas and short stories (for example, Katen ’ka Pylaeva, 1836, and Without Dawn, 1847; he published under the pen name A. N. or A. Nestroev), an art critic (he published articles on Western European art), and a journalist (he was a contributor to Teleskop, Moskovskii nabliudatel’, Sovremennik, etc.).

Being a representative of progressive Russian bourgeois scholarship, Kudriavtsev assailed despotism and advocated the abolition of serfdom in Russia; nevertheless, adhering to the theory of evolutionary social development, he sought to prove that a revolution could be averted.


Soch., vols. 1–3. Moscow, 1887–89.
Povesti i rasskazy, parts 1–2. Moscow, 1866.


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Alpatov, M. A. “Istoricheskie vzgliady P. N. Kudriavtseva.…” In the collection Ocherki istorii istoricheskoi nauki v SSSR, vol. 1. Moscow, 1955.
Romanova, I. I. “Istoricheskie vzgliady P. N. Kudriavtseva.” Trudy Voronezhskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta, 1960, vol. 53, issue 2.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.