Vsevolod Fedorovich Miller

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Miller, Vsevolod Fedorovich


Born Apr. 7 (19), 1848, in Moscow; died Nov. 5 (18), 1913, in St. Petersburg; buried in Moscow. Russian philologist, folklorist, linguist, ethnologist, and archaeologist. Member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences (1911).

Miller graduated from Moscow University in 1870 and became a professor at the university in 1884. He was chairman of the ethnology division of the Society of Friends of Natural Science (from 1881), one of the founders of the journal Etnograficheskoe obozrenie (Ethnologic Review, 1889–1916), curator of the Dashkov Ethnological Museum in Moscow (1884—97), and director of the Lazarev Institute of Oriental Languages (1897–1911). Miller studied the Indo-Iranian languages (particularly Ossetic), Russian, and folklore, supporting the migration theory. In the 1890’s he elaborated the methodology of the historical school in folklore studies on the basis of his study of the national roots of the Russian byliny (epic folk songs) and was the school’s chief spokesman.

In his first works on folklore, Miller demonstrated the eastern origin of the byliny. Later he studied the epos as a reflection of Russian history, attributing decisive importance to personal and geographical names and similar data. Miller’s concepts and scholarly method were criticized by a number of scholars who pointed out Miller’s undervaluing of the literary nature of the epos, the arbitrariness of his historical comparisons, and the erroneousness of his hypotheses about the aristocratic origins of the byliny. Miller’s most valuable contribution was the wealth of factual material that he collected in his research.


Vzgliad na “Slovo o polku Igoreve.” Moscow, 1877.
Osetinskie etiudy, parts 1–3. Moscow, 1881–87.
Ekskursy v oblast’ russkogo narodnogo eposa. Moscow, 1892.
Ocherki russkoi narodnoi slovesnosti, 3 vols. Moscow, 1897–1924.
Osetinsko-russko-nemetskii slovar’ 3 vols. Moscow, 1927–34.


Ol’denburg, S. “V. F. Miller.” Russkaia mysl’ 1913, book 12.
Sokolov, B. M. Akademik Vs. F. Miller kak issledovatel’ russkogo bylevogo eposa. Petrograd, 1914.
Speranskii, M. V. F. Miller. Moscow, 1914. (Includes a list of Miller’s works.)
Azadovskii, M. K. Istoriia russkoi fol’kloristiki, vol. 2. Moscow, 1963. Pages 296–306.


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