Svirskii, Aleksei

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Svirskii, Aleksei Ivanovich


Born Sept. 26 (Oct. 8), 1865, in St. Petersburg or Zhitomir (?); died Feb. 6, 1942, in Moscow. Soviet Russian writer. Member of the CPSU from 1919.

Svirskii was the son of a worker. Left homeless as a child, he worked as a day laborer and wandered about Russia. Svirskii published his first works in 1892. He wrote several collections of short stories and sketches, including Slums of Rostov (1893), Within Prison Walls (1894), Lost People (1898), In the Motherland (1902), Eternal Wanderers (1905), Jewish Stories (1909), and Children of the Street (1909). In his novellas The Criminal (1900) and Ryzhik: The Adventures of a Little Hobo (1901; translated into many languages; film version, 1960), Svirskii sympathetically depicted the life of outcasts—orphans, prisoners, and the Jewish poor. The novellas Notes of a Worker (1906) and Wretched People (1908) and the short story “A Heart of Steel” (1925) dealt with the working class. The autobiographical book The Story of My Life (parts 1–5, 1929–34; complete edition, 1940) embodied Svirskii’s abundant impressions of life.


Poln. sobr. soch, vols. 1–10. (Includes an introductory article by I. Kubikov and an autobiographical sketch.) Moscow, 1928–30.
Istoriia moei zhizni. Introductory article by O. Reznik. Moscow, 1947.


N. G. [Gusev], “Kniga o pogibshikh liudiakh.” Zhizn’, 1899. no. 4.
Libedinskii, Iu. “Nezabvennyi sozdatel’ ‘Ryzhika.’” In his Sovremenniki: Vospominaniia. Moscow, 1961.
Russkie sovetskie pisateli-prozaiki: Biobibliografich. ukazatel’, vol. 4. Moscow, 1966.


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