[1]This despite whatever analytical utility may be afforded by examining texts as purely self-contained artifacts. Every work of literature has a concrete author, and no author is immune to the unique stimuli of his or her social and historical milieu.

2See Sidney Harcave, First Blood: The Russian Revolution of 1905 for an explanation of the fundamental divisions in Russian society at this time. For a broad overview of the revolution of 1905 in the context of Russian history, see Nicholas Riazanovsky, A History of Russia.

[3]I will use the term "government" to describe the Tsarist regime, including Ministers and other officials appointed by the Tsar, but specifically excluding the elected representatives of the Duma. While after 1905 there were legal political parties and a parliament with legislative powers, these were clearly distinct from and often in conflict with the Tsar and the Ministries.

[4]See Harcave

[5]Harcave, p. 35, Riazanovsky, p. 406.

[6]Riazanovsky, p. 396.

[7]Jacob Walkin, The Rise of Democracy in Pre-Revolutionary Russia, p. 198.

[8]Harcave, p. 110

[9]The so-called "Bulygin Duma" after the Minister of the Interior who was to be responsible for implementing it. This was announced in the Ukaz (proclamation) of August 19..

[10]Harcave, p. 12.

[11]Count Sergei Witte was, except for Stolypin, probably Nicholas' most competent advising. As Minister of Finance, he spearheaded the industrialization drive which began to transform Russia in the 1890s, and despite Nicholas' inconsistencies managed to generate confidence in the Russian government. By the time of the Revolution of 1905 Witte was losing favor with the Emperor, though he was widely respected for negotiating a successful end to the War with Japan in the Treaty of Portsmouth.

[12]Ann Erickson Healy, The Russian Autocracy in Crisis: 1905-1907, p. 44

[13]Walkin, p. 117.

[14]Te Social Democratic party included the Bolsheviks and mensheviks, and generally represented classical Marxist ideology. The Socialist Revolutionaries were more populist in their orientation, focusing on the revolutionary possibilities of the peasantry. The Socialist Revolutionaries also sponsored terrorist acts through their "Battle Organization." It is important to realize that both these (and all other) political parties were illegal prior to the Revolution of 1905.

[15]Informal bands of ultra-conservative Russians, who took it upon themselves to preserve order. The Black Hundreds are best known for their activities in harassing and assaulting Russian Jews, often with the tacit or indirect support of members of the government.

[16]Riazanovsky, pp. 410-411.

[17]Pyotr Stolypin was one of the more interesting figures in pre-revolutionary Russia. A provincial governor who had been successful in putting down revolutionary activity in the province of Saratov, he was eventual named to the important post of Minister of the Interior and shortly thereafter Prime Minister. Stolypin became know for advancing significant reforms, especially in the area of agriculture, while at the same time ruthlessly suppressing terrorist and revolutionary activity in the countryside. Some today (including the writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn) feel strongly that Stolypin could have prevented the revolution of 1917 had he lived to fully implement his programme.

[18]See Geoffrey Hosking, The Russian Constitutional Experiment, for a detailed description of these events.

[19]Riazanovsky, pp. 411-12.

[20]Hosking calls the period of the Third Duma a "constitutional experiment," when for a limited time government and Duma were, to some extent, willing to work together.

[21]Walkin, p. 65.

[22]Riazanovsky, p. 413, Healy, p. 258-59

[23]Walkin, p. 258.

[24]Riazanovsky, p. 413,Walkin, p. 212. See also Hosking's account for a broad description of the shift which took place during this period.

[25]Harcave, p. 254.

[26]Anton Chekhov is an example from this period.

[27]Hugh McLean, "The Development of Modern Russian Literature," Slavic Review, v. 21 no. 3 (September, 1962), p. 391.

[28]See D.S. Mirsky, A History of Russian Literature, p. 185. Mirsky reports that Sportsman's Sketches is said to have influenced Alexander II in his decision to abolish serfdom in 1861.

[29]McLean, p. 397-398.

[30]For a description of the religious and Old Russian influences on Socialist Realism (in particular Gorky's Mother), see Katerina Clark, The Soviet Novel: History as Ritual, p. 58-63.

[31]McLean, p. 399.

[32]Mirsky, p. 174.

[33]McLean, p. 391.

[34]McLean argues that a more accurate term would be "illusionism," as writers attempted to create the illusion that they were describing reality. As he points out, realism did not imply some lack of narrative technique, but rather required specific stylistic methods that imitated a lack of literary conventionality and strove to create the illusion of an unmediated representation of reality.

[35]Mirsky, p. 172.

[36]This may appear to conflict with the belief that art was inferior to reality. In fact, while the realists held that "life" was primary, they saw art as an invaluable tool in showing people just what life consisted of. Art by itself could not change reality, but it could provide people with the understanding and ability to do so.

[37]There were works which explicitly described a utopian vision for social development in this period, such as Bogdanov's Red Star (1908).

[38]McLean, p. 399.

[39] George Gibian, introduction to Russian Modernism: Culture and the Avant-Garde, 1900-1930, ed. George Gibian and H.W. Tjalsma, p. 11.

[40]Mirsky, pp. 408-9.

[41]The relationship between symbolism and modernism is complex. While symbolism can be conceived as one current within the larger framework of modernism, some symbolists attacked modernism for what they saw as its excessive stress on art for its own sake. See Wladimir Weidlé, "The Poison of Modernism" in Russian Modernism

[42]McLean, p. 402.

[43]James West, Russian Symbolism: A Study of Vyacheslav Ivanov and the Russian Symbolist Aesethic, p. 2

[44]See, for example, Pushkin's poems "The Prophet" ("Prorok"), and "The Poet and the Crowd" ("Poet i tolpa").

[45]McLean, p. 404

[46]Nadezhda Mandelstam, Hope Against Hope, p. 168.

[47]The Golden age of Russian poetry is the age of Pushkin and his contemporaries in the early part of the 19th century.

[48]Mirsky, p. 432.

[49]Ibid, p. 372.

[50]Jeffrey Brooks, When Russia Learned to Read, p. 4.

[51]Most common were booklets sold by peddlers known as "lyubok" literature. The Church produced religious texts in great quantities, and some intellectuals developed popular literature to improve the moral or educational standing of the peasantry. See Brooks.

[52]Brooks, p. xiv.

[53]This was less applicable for Tolstoy, who wrote many works directed at the peasantry, primarily educational and moral tracts. After his celebrated "conversion" in the 1880s, he publicly abandoned "high" literature in favor of works which advance his moral teachings. Nonetheless, "I Cannot Be Silent" was heavily debated in intellectual and government circles, and can be distinguished from stories he wrote solely to educate the peasantry.

[54]Walkin, p. 120.

[55]Brooks, p. 337-40. Tolstoy was one of the major contributors to Posrednik, which combined the format and distribution of popular commercial literature with moral teachings and attempts to inculcate cultural values supported by the editors.

[56]Brooks, "Readers and Readership in the Tsarist Era," in Literature and Soviet in Imperial Russia, 1800-1914. For a more detailed account, see his When Russia Learned to Read.

[57]ibid, p. 114.

[58] ibid.

[59]Mirsky, p. 375.

[60]ibid, p. 374.


[62]The two disagreed on many fundamental issues, related to the use of art for social purposes. Their correspondence grew increasingly strained and eventually broke off. See Peter Yershov and Lydia Weston, Letters of Gorky and Andreyev, 1899-1912.

[63]Carlisle, p. 26.

[64]ibid, pp. 16-24.

[65] Maxim Gorky, "Notes on the Bourgeois Mentality," quoted by Tait, p. 85.

[66] Tait, p. 92.

[67]For more on the distribution and effects of "I Cannot Be Silent," see Viktor Shklovsky, Lev Tolstoy, pp. 765-6.

[68]Tait, p. 92-95.

[69]The Russian title is "Ne mogu molchat." Though Tolstoy wrote it in 1908, it was published only in highly abridged form in several journals. However, the full article was widely circulated both in Russia and abroad. Tolstoy himself was never prosecuted for writing it, but many of his followers were imprisoned for possessing or reading it.

[70]Lev Tolstoy, The Portable Tolstoy, ed. John Bayley, p. 835. The version of the text used is from the translation by Aylmer Maude. I have also used the Russian original for reference, as transcribed in Polnoe Sobranie Sochinenie L.N. Tolstovo, v. 37, but all quotations will follow the Maude translation.

[71]Ernest J. Simmons, Tolstoy, p. 109.

[72]Tolstoy's emphasis on peaceful resistance sometimes cost him the respect of radicals, who looked up to him as a symbol of the opposition but rejected his tactics. See Simmons, Tolstoy, p. 217

[73]It turned out that only twelve peasants had been involved, not twenty, but for Tolstoy the horror of the incident remained the same.

[74]Simmons, p. 206.

[75]ibid, p. 218.

[76]Viktor Shklovsky, Lev Tolstoy, p. 765-6.

[77]Tolstoy, p. 733.

[78]Viktor Shklovsky, "Parallels in Tolstoy," from Twentieth Century Russian Literary Criticism, ed. Victor Ehrlich, p. 82.

[79]Tolstoy, p. 733.

[80]Victor Ehrlich, Russian Formalism: History--Doctrine, p. 177.

[81]In the traditional view, the Tsar was the "father" of the Russian people, and he believed that the major institutions in society existed to serve him. See Harcave, p. 17 and Healy, p. 41.

[82]Tolstoy, p. 733

[83]ibid., p. 743-4

[84]ibid, p. 744.

85ibid, p. 742.

[86]ibid, p. 742-3.

[87]ibid, p. 734.

[88]ibid, p. 738.

[89] ibid, p. 738.

90Simmons, p. 111-2. As a result of these views, Tolstoy was excommunicated in 1901.

[91]Tolstoy, p. 740.

[92]Simmons, p. 217.

[93]Tolstoy, p. 737

[94]Quoted in Healy, p. 41. My emphasis. See also Harcave and Hosking, for treatments of the Tsar's religious worldview.

[95]ibid, p. 39.

[96]He was close to Gorky and other radical literary figures for some time, and was arrested in 1905 for allowing a meeting of the Social Democratic Party to be held at his flat.

[97]"Darkness" tells the story, based on actual events, of a terrorist forced to hide in a brothel. He loses his nerve and his faith in the revolutionary cause after talking to a prostitute who asks, "what right have you to be good when I am bad?" See Mirsky, p.399

[98]Holthussen, p. 48.

[99]Mirsky, p. 395.


[101]Holthussen, p. 48.

[102]The Russian title is "Rasskaz o semi poveshenykh."

[103]Andreyev dedicated the work to Tolstoy, and Tolstoy wrote to express his approval of the work.

[104]Josephine Newcombe, Leonid Andreyev, p. 67. As an aside, Newcombe relates that Danilo Ilic, one of the organizers of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, had read and been stimulated by "The Seven Who Were Hanged." In fact, the story may have been one of the factors which convinced him to participate in the act which sparked World War I.

[105]Leonid Andreyev, Visions: Stories and Photographs by Leonid Andreyev, ed. Olga Carlisle, p. 281. The translation used is by Nicholas Luker.

[106]ibid. p. 252

[107]Mirsky, p. 400

[108]see Holsthussen, p. 48, and Mirsky, p. 398.

[109]Mirsky, p. 395.

[110]A fact which was to bring him criticism from radical critics, including Gorky, who wanted Andreyev to use his story to specifically vindicate the terrorists and their views.

[111]Mirsky, p. 395.

[112]Carlisle, introduction to Visions, pp. 28-9.

[113]Holthussen, p. 48.

[114]Andreyev, p. 289.

[115]ibid., p. 293-4

[116]ibid, p. 294

[117]For a description of Fedorov's philosophy, see Steven Lukashevich, N.F. Fedorov: A Study in Russian Eupsychian and Utopian Thought.

[118]Andreyev, p. 250

[119]ibid, p. 283

[120]ibid, p. 296.

[121]ibid. p. 300.

[122]ibid, p. 304.

[123]ibid, p. 304

[124]Carlisle, p. 19.

[125]The city has since been renamed Gorky by Soviet authorities.

[126]Mirsky, p. 377.

[127]"Those going barefoot," the vagabond heroes of many of Gorky's stories.

[128]Holthussen, p. 44.

[129]Mirsky, p.378.

[130]Tait, pp. 83-85.

[131]Brooks, "Readers and Readership," p. 114.

[132]A.L. Tait, "Contemporary Attitudes to Gorky's Mother and Confession," in Poetry, Prose and Public Opinion, ed. William Harrison and Puman, p. 91.

[133]Dan Levin, Stormy Petrel: The Life and Work of Maxim Gorky, p. 135.

[134]Tait, p. 88.

[135]Maxim Gorky, Mother, p. 37. The text used was translated by Margaret Wettlin.

[136]Letter to Gladkov, Literaturnaya Nasledstvo, vol. 70, p. 95., quoted by Tait.

[137]Letter from Lenin in Maxim Gorky, Sobranie Sochinenie, v. 17 (1952), p. 7.

[138]Tait, p. 95.

[139]Katerina Clark, The Soviet Novel: History as Ritual, p. 52.

[140]Clark, p. 58.

[141]Gorky, p. 39

[142]ibid, p. 31.

[143]Clark, p. 58-59.

[144]Gorky., p. 60.

[145]Mirsky, p. 383.

[146]Clark, p. 55.

[147]ibid, p. 63.

[148]Gorky, p. 18

[149]ibid, p. 31.

[150]Tait, p. 92.

[151]see Tait for contemporary reactions.

[152]letter to V.A. Desnitsky, quoted in Tait, p. 88.

[153]Ellis H. Minns, note to the conclusion of A. Brücker, A Literary History of Russia, p.545.

[154]Mirsky, p. 373.

[155]See Geoffrey Hosking, The Russian Constitutional Experiment.

[156]Healy, p. 211.