Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin in the New Soviet State: Pavel Sakulin and the Pushkin Edition of 1931-36

Brian Horowitz*


In 1927, when deciding to publish a new, full edition of Alexander Pushkin’s works, the first in Soviet times, Vladimir Narbut, the chief of the Soviet Publishing House, chose as the project editor Pavel Sakulin (1868–1930), a well-known professor of Russian literature. Sakulin was given the task of arranging a twelve-volume edition containing all of Pushkin’s published works, his unpublished manuscripts and variants, and producing new secondary scholarship about the poet. To attain these goals, Sakulin enlisted the finest Pushkin scholars in the country. An older intellectual and hardly a dogmatic Bolshevik, Sakulin emphasized ideological plurality, encouraging diversity in the scholars’ approach to Pushkin.[1]

During the years 1927–28, while the edition was initially being prepared, a major realignment took place in the internal politics of Soviet Russia, which directly affected the project. The first Five-Year Plan was under consideration, and Soviet bureaucrats were demanding and receiving full control over literary studies in the nation. These conditions caused fundamental changes in the preparation of the proposed Pushkin edition. Sakulin’s control over the Pushkin edition was reduced and, without his knowledge, the composition of the editorial board changed; Communists were promoted and non-Marxist Pushkin scholars were demoted.[2] In the end, instead of the ambitious twelve volumes planned, five different collections were published between 1930 and 1935.[3]

The issues connected with this edition of Pushkin, which was ultimately published as a supplement to the journal Red Field (Krasnaia niva) in 1930–31 are worthy of our interest today, since we see in bold relief the changing ideological landscape regarding Pushkin during the first Five-Year Plan, which incidentally coincided with the preparation of the centennial of Pushkin’s death.[4] This effort has a larger resonance because the original intention was to create a major scholarly edition, the first scholarly edition of Pushkin in Soviet times. Later, the scope was scaled back and the six volumes that appeared reflected the process of the Sovietization of Pushkin, as well as of literary life generally. It goes without saying that this process is well known, but one can still learn more when new details are added from personal documents.

The use of archival material from Pavel Sakulin’s papers is vital in this account.[5] By examining personal letters and official documents associated with the edition, we are permitted access to the literary theorist Pavel Sakulin’s intimate thoughts and attitudes at this chaotic juncture in Russian literary history. We also get to view Sakulin’s innovative approach to literary history in the 1920s, which he offered as an alternative to Marxism and formalism.

In these pages a drama about literary life unfolds; the careers of so-called formalist and independent scholars are summarily upended, ideological conformism becomes the main criterion for work in official circles regarding the study of Pushkin. At the same time the edition points toward several larger phenomena: how Soviet literary administrators differentiated between fellow travelers, how the Pushkin myth itself underwent a shift from the 1920s to the jubilee in 1937, and how the party incorporated aspects of the great-man theory into Marxist literary criticism, treating Pushkin as a genius (like Gorky, Lenin, and later Stalin).[6]

This article is based on archival material pertaining to Pavel Sakulin located at the New York Public Library on 42nd St and Fifth Avenue in the Rare Books and Manuscripts Room.[7]

While the Soviet state set ambitious goals politically in the second half of the 1920s, rapid progress in publishing the masterpieces of world literature was also planned. In a 1928 article entitled “The Production of the Classics” (“Proizvodstvo klassikov”), Georgii Borisovich Neradov (pseudonym of G. B. Shatunovskii [1882–1972]), the director of the section responsible for publishing classic works of Russian and world literature, set out the institution’s goals.[8] “As we see it,” Neradov states “the program for the classics in 1928, if it does not meet with any insurmountable obstacles, will proceed at the same intense speed with which it went in 1927” (Как видим, программа классиков в 1928 г., если не встретится неодолимых внешних препятствий, будет итти, тем же усиленным темпом, каким шла в 1927 г.).[9] He continues by predicting that in 1928 the literary classics should be disseminated in a form that satisfies the scholarly demands of the academy while appealing to the masses. Quoting from a recent meeting of administrators, he shows the variety of his plans to make literature available to a mass reader, proclaiming his intention to produce “‘exemplary editions of the classics in various forms,’ complete collections, single volumes and inexpensive subscriptions” (Особенно обращают внимание «превосходно выполненные издания классиков в различных сериях», полные собрания, однотомники и дешевые выписки).[10]

Since the State Publishing House had a monopoly over the preparation and distribution of literary classics in Soviet Russia, only its directors had the authority to decide whether to issue a new edition of the works of Alexander Pushkin.[11] In 1927, when the decision to do so was made, it was clear that one was desperately needed. A full edition of Pushkin’s works had not been issued in Russia since 1919, when Valerii Briusov’s three-volume edition had appeared and had sold-out immediately. In addition, during the 1920s many advances had taken place in Pushkin studies, and this scholarship was to be included in the new edition. It is important to add that in 1928–29, the ninth volume (parts 1 and 2) of the old academic Collected Works of Pushkin (Sobranie sochinenii Pushkina) (1899–1929) was published. After that publication, further work was discontinued on the unfinished edition.

One might consider Sakulin a perfect choice for chief editor, since, in addition to his editorial experience, he was respected both by Communists and professional Pushkin scholars.[12] Communists could rely on him since, although he was not a Bolshevik Party member, he was a sympathetic fellow traveler who had unflinching left-wing sympathies. Before the revolution he had resigned his professorship at Moscow University to protest the tsar’s oppressive policies during the post-1905 reaction. Under Bolshevik rule, he became well known for his anti-formalist, sociological literary method. Moreover, Sakulin was enthusiastic about socialism. In the 1924 second edition of his book, Russian Literature and Socialism (Russkaia literatura i sotsializm), Sakulin expressed a very positive view of Communist antireligious claims, arguing that Marxism fulfills all the metaphysical needs of the individual that were once satisfied by religion. Sakulin wrote that

A Marxist must build his religion on the basis of a scientific-socialist “realism,” on an “anthropocentric” principle… This aim has colossal significance, promising goodness and beauty. Held by a consciousness of this aim, the individual feels united with the objective flow of life, which is moving toward a great ideal.

Свою религию марксист должен строить на почве научно-социалистического «реализма», на принципе «антропоцентрическом»... Цель — колосального значения, обещающая благо и красоту. Охваченная сознанием этой цели, личность чувствует себя спаянной с объективным потоком жизни, движущимся к великому идеалу.[13]

In Sakulin’s presentation, Communism appears at once socially utopian and metaphysically satisfying, an omen of utopia that can be realized here on earth.

As a leader in the world of literary scholarship, Sakulin enjoyed cooperating with formalists and highly qualified Pushkinists. His own qualifications as a scholar were impeccable. He had authored a large number of works on early nineteenth-century Russian literature, including several path-breaking studies. His two-volume monograph, From the History of Russian Idealism, Prince V. F. Odoevskii (Iz istorii russkogo idealizma. Kniaz´ V. F. Odoevskii) (1913) was considered a classic of Russian literary scholarship, and he had authored a book on Pushkin and Radishchev: A New Solution to an Old Question (Pushkin i Radishchev: Novoe reshenie starogo voprosa) (1920). His long and distinguished career as a teacher, scholar and theorist of literature ensured the broad support of the scholarly community for his appointment as editor of the Pushkin collected works.

The non-Marxist scholars were not mistaken in backing Sakulin, since, once offered the directorship, he quickly organized a committee of expert scholars. At once he summoned to Moscow for meetings veteran Pushkinists, such as P. Shchegolev, V. Veresaev, and M. Tsiavlovsky, while also inviting younger scholars, such as L. Grossman, Iu. Oksman, V. Zhirmunsky, and B. Tomashevsky; the latter two were associated with the Formalist school. Incidentally, none of these individuals were members of the Communist Party.

From the protocols of the first three meetings, we understand the kind of edition that was originally planned. While the first meeting was devoted to assigning preliminary tasks and arranging a future meeting in Moscow for 20 December 1927, at the second meeting Pavel Sakulin officially announced his plan for a full collection of Pushkin’s works, “prepared in accord with scholarly standards.”[14] He also stated that “in compliance with the tasks assigned, one should give the scholarship a textological, bibliographical and historical-literary character” (v sootvetstvii s ukazannymi zadaniiami pridat´ kommentariiam kharakter tekstologicheskii, bio-bibliograficheskii i istoriko-literaturnyi).[15] Furthermore, Mstislav Tsiavlovskii was called upon to make a blueprint sketch of the size and contents of the edition’s volumes. Another meeting was set for 6 January 1928.

Although the records are sparse from the January meeting, we do know that B. Belkin and G. B. Neradov, officials from the state publishing house, attended, and that financial affairs were discussed. A contract was offered to Sakulin, and the cost of the edition and the salaries of the contributors were determined. The only phrase in the protocol connected with the content of the edition was an insertion that reflected concern over literary scholarship. The authorities insisted that the scholarship should include biographical and historical-literary material without “serving educational-pedagogical aims” (ne presleduiia prosvetitel´no-pedagogicheskikh tselei).[16]

Although it is unclear what exactly was meant by “educational-pedagogical aims,” the phrase seems to imply that scholars should assemble facts about Pushkin’s life and literary history, but they ought not to espouse an ideological perspective. In the literary-political context of the time one can interpret this phrase as a gentle warning to the Pushkinists that their scholarship would be judged according to a definite ideological standard. Any material considered “educational-pedagogical,” i.e., ideologically unacceptable, would not be tolerated.

The next meeting, held on 24 March 1928 in Moscow, was of major importance for delineating the quality and size of the edition. Sakulin gave his talk on the scope of the edition, and Tsiavlovsky gave a presentation about textology and the transcription of manuscripts. Tsiavlovsky argued that one ought to publish all of Pushkin’s unpublished papers and fragments.[17] Organizing the separate volumes by genre, Tsiavlovsky wanted to include everything Pushkin ever wrote. He wanted to include Pushkin’s articles from the Literary Gazette and the Contemporary, the poet’s diary, his unpublished autobiographical fragments and all his notes about future plans, which had never been published in a collection of works before. Also, Tsiavlovsky hoped to publish Pushkin’s notes concerning the history of the Pugachev uprising, which had recently been found, and to give full transcriptions of Pushkin’s manuscripts, which would permit the reader to follow the genesis of the poet’s creativity. The goal was to give the reader full variants of all of Pushkin’s published and unpublished works in a single edition. Excluding the poet’s letters, Tsiavlovsky conceived the need for a minimum of twelve volumes to complete the task.

In his presentation about the content of the edition, Sakulin explained that the volumes should be comprehensive, including transcriptions of manuscripts and Pushkin’s letters. Sakulin also imagined a broad array of various types of scholarship, summarized into two categories, “real” (real´noe issledovanie) and “social-historical” (sotsial´no-istoricheskoe issledovanie) scholarship. By “real” scholarship, Sakulin meant information about where, when, and how the texts were created, a description of the manuscripts, the publication history of a text, and the necessary bibliographical information. In the category of “social-historical” scholarship Sakulin intended to include studies of Pushkin’s biography, style, and use of various genres. He also hoped to include longer essays on topics such as “Pushkin as a Literary Critic,” “Pushkin as a Historian” and “Pushkin as a Journalist.” Ideologically, Sakulin spoke out for intellectual pluralism. He envisioned including in each volume an introductory essay in which writers would embed quotations from the history of the criticism about the poet, including “specifically identified editors and Marxist commentators” (konkretno namecheny redaktory i kommentatory-marksisty).[18]

Discussion focused mainly on Tsiavlovsky’s intention to publish Pushkin’s entire manuscript legacy. The group split, with some advocating publishing selectively from Pushkin’s oeuvre while others spoke out for the inclusion of everything Pushkin ever wrote. N. Piksanov, V. Zhirmunsky, and L. Grossman held that the quantity of manuscript transcriptions should be limited in view of the “theoretical difficulties of the task and the practical impossibility of realizing it in a short time” (teoreticheskikh trudnostei dela i prakticheskoi nevozmozhnosti osushchestvit´ ego v kratkii srok).[19] In a compromise gesture Piksanov considered that it would be “desirable to stop at those full variants which represented a finished product” (zhelatel´no ostanovit´sia lish´na tselostnykh variantakh, predstavliaiushchikh nekotoruiu zakonchennost´),[20] while Zhirmunsky felt that either the volume should be reconceived as a compilation aiming for an audience of specialists or should selectively include unpublished materials according to their cultural-literary significance.[21] Leonid Grossman went even further in his disdain for Tsiavlovsky’s plan, defining a collection as “a body of artistic and scholarly works, but not business papers” (ob˝edinenie khudozhestvennykh i nauchnykh proizvedenii, no ne delovykh bumag).[22]

N. Izmailov, Iu. Oksman, B. Tomashevsky, and P. Shchegolev supported Tsiavlovsky, who during discussions passionately defended his viewpoint, claiming that only by providing a full collection could present-day scholars add something new to previous editions. Furthermore, Tsiavlovsky maintained that only with such a grandiose project could one justify the enormous expenditure and large staff of Pushkin scholars. Moreover, he maintained that it was unfair to say that readers do not need transcriptions of variants and manuscripts, since it made no sense to tell readers about various archival materials while providing none.[23]

Although Sakulin was in agreement with Tsiavlovsky, he wanted to bring out an edition that could reach “the height of scholarly expectations” (na vysote tekh nauchnykh trebovanii) and yet attract a broad readership. Sakulin hoped to achieve this two-pronged goal, but he doubted whether the State Publishing House would increase the number of volumes and extend the three-year deadline.[24]

In light of these discussions, one may conclude that Sakulin’s group envisioned an enormous edition of Pushkin, analogous in literary studies with the Five-Year Plan projects in construction. The directors of the edition, Sakulin and Tsiavlovsky, hoped to publish a good deal of unpublished material written by Pushkin and to include a large body of scholarship, consisting of articles, essays, and information about Pushkin’s literary works, his biography, and his role in Russian culture.

However, while Sakulin and his colleagues were adjudicating scholarly disagreements, things were occurring behind the scenes regarding more fundamental decisions about the fate of the edition.[25] In early 1929, a huge shake-up took place in the Russian Academy of Sciences in general and Pushkin House in particular.[26] The head of Pushkin House, S. F. Platonov, was arrested and sent to a Siberian prison. Platonov’s son-in-law, N. V. Izmailov, the literary scholar, was also arrested in purges of professors (po akademicheskomu delu).Only B. L. Modzalevsky’s “premature” death saved him from the same fate. Sakulin, Anatoly Lunacharsky, and Maxim Gorky were appointed heads of the institution. Ludwig Domherr explains what happened next:

The old Pushkin House ended its life. “On the foundation” of P[ushkin] H[ouse] and several other institutions, including the Commission for the Publication of Pushkin’s Works which was still being organized, INRLI [later IMLI], the Institute of Contemporary Russian Literature was formed. It was divided into two “sectors”: the research sector created anew that would become its main part and an “accompanying” part which actually became Pushkin House—that wonderful library grew immensely after the Revolution as a result of confiscations and gifts—the museum with its valuable treasures beginning with Pushkin’s own library and its incomparable archive of manuscripts from Pushkin to Blok. The research sector in turn was divided into “sections” according to social-historical traits and not grouped around one or another major literary figure.[27]

Throughout Soviet Russia, literary life was coming under party control, and the needs of the party for ideological conformity became the sine qua non of any literary endeavor. Edward Brown describes the situation forming at this time:

When the first Five-Year Plan was adopted in 1928 all forces were mobilized behind it, and there is ample documentary evidence to show that no exception was made for the forces of literature. Ultimately there was to be no escape for the writer from social tasks. Party newspapers, beginning in 1929, carried editorial articles calling for a “consolidation of forces” in literature and for the application of literary talent to celebrating the achievements, real or projected by the plan.[28]

Not surprisingly, a complete rethinking of the edition’s goals and personnel took place in connection with the preparation of the Soviet Union’s first Five-Year Plan. In this new situation, in which the party fully controlled the publication of the classics, Narbut decided to limit Sakulin’s authority over the Pushkin edition.

Narbut, however, did not move rapidly to inform Sakulin of the changes. It appears that the administrative method of dealing with the situation was merely to stop all communication.[29] Receiving no replies to an earlier query, Sakulin suspected that his position was being undermined.[30] He sent Vladimir Narbut this threatening missive on 13 July 1928:

Have received no answer, in the course of two months, to my proposed list of members of the Editorial Committee and my more general proposals concerning the publication of The Complete Works of A. Pushkin, I am forced to conclude that they have met with serious obstacles to the continuation of the project, which is already underway.

This disrupts my work and requires me to assume a disingenuous position toward the people I recruited to participate in this edition. Having invited me to assume the role of chief editor, GIZ entrusted me with the task of proceeding immediately with the organization of the edition. All the fundamental questions, including the question of whom to appoint to the Editorial Committee, had already been decided. The only thing that remained was to convene with the Leningrad Pushkinists in order to clear up some additional points and proceed with a formal execution of the contract. This meeting took place two months ago; its results are well known to you. And after all of this there descended a two-month period of silence from GIZ.

If, within the next few days, i.e., at the beginning of June, this issue is not favorably resolved, then I categorically state that an entire year’s work will be lost, that the edition I have arranged will come under question, and that I personally absolve myself of any responsibility for the consequences.

Не получая в течение двух месяцев никакого ответа на представленный мною список членов Редакционного Комитета и вообще по поводу издания Полного собрания сочинении А. Пушкина я вынужден заключить, что встретились серьезные препятствия к продолжению начального дела.

Это дезорганизует мою работу и ставит меня вложное положение по отношению к тем лицам, которые я привлек к участию в издании. Пригласив меня в качестве ответственного редактора ГИЗ поручало мне немедленно приступить к организации издания. Все принципиальные вопросы, в том числе и вопрос о составе Редактион[ного] Комитета, были уже решены. Оставалось только на совещании с ленинградск[ими] пушкинистами выяснить дополнительные пункты и приступить к формальному заключению договора. Совещание состоялось два месяца тому назад; результаты его Вам известны. И после всего этого неожиданно наступило двухмесячное молчание ГИЗа.

Если в течение ближайших дней, т.е. в самом начале июня дело не будет приведено к благополучному концу, я категорически заявлю, что целый год будет потерян для работы, что налаженное мною издание ставится даже под вопрос, и что я лично слагаю с себя всякую ответственность за последствия.[31]

Narbut was not as much dissatisfied with Sakulin personally (he kept him on as chief editor) as with the non-Marxist affiliation of the scholars and the perceived absence of a Marxist approach in the edition’s scholarship. In an article about the goals of the State Publishing House Georgy Neradov emphasized the primary importance of ideological advocacy:

In 1928 the production of the classics will be motivated, on the one hand, by a stricter selection of works and, on the other, by more careful Marxist work. The task set by the editorial plan is to strengthen as much as possible Marxist scholarship of the classics. An appropriate plan for the realization of this task has already been fashioned and editors and Marxist scholars have been selected.

В 1928 г. производство классиков будет вестись по линии более строгого отбора произведений, с одной стороны, и более тщательной марксистской проработки — с другой. Редпланем дано задание усилить по возможности марксистское комментирование классиков. Во существление этого задания уже выработанна длежащий план и конкретно намечены редакторы и комментаторы-марксисты.[32]

Clearly Neradov considered ideological commitment vital and took issue with Sakulin’s list of contributors. Incidentally, in his article Neradov presented a list of acceptable Marxist scholars, and Sakulin had originally not enlisted a single one of them. Furthermore, Sakulin’s own adherence to a Marxist literary approach probably came under question at this time, since during the years leading up to his assignment as editor, he had been strongly criticized by Bolshevik scholars.

Although in the 1910s, Sakulin had been a literary scholar committed to the study of texts in historical context, in the 1920s he promoted a literary method made by joining elements from formalism and Marxism. Accepting the premise that a literary text is made up of literary devices that must be studied synchronically, he also retained the idea that literature reflects the social context in which it is created. Thus, Sakulin disagreed with radical formalism, emphasizing the importance of social environment, but he also rebuked Marxists for their indifference to “literariness” or the study of those formal devices that make texts literature. In his response to the formalists, Sakulin invoked the concept of “image” (obraz) to prove that literary texts have meaning that goes beyond that derived from their formal attributes.

According to Sakulin, the image sets off emotional overtones that impact our moral being. Art is deeply and organically connected with life and should not be divorced from it. In a 1923 article entitled “On the Question of Building a Poetics” (“K voprosu o postroenii poetiki”), which was written as a polemic against Viktor Zhirmunsky’s views, Sakulin states that:

A work’s style should not be treated as an almost mechanical combination of devices: in it one will see the expression of an internal unity; where form and content are present in an inextricable tie one will see the unity of the creative intent which is embodied in the word. A work’s organism will tremble with life, since the soul of the poet is alive.

И стиль произведений не будет трактоваться как почти механическое сочетание приемов: в нем будут видеть выражение внутреннего единства, где внеразрывной слиянности даны форма и содержание, видеть единство творческого замысла, вопрощенного в слове. Организм произведения будет трепетать жизнью, ибо жива душа поэта.[33]

Sakulin believed that literature reflected the “artist’s intention,” which emerges from life sources. In refusing to base his method on a linguistic model and placing his premises on an emotional appreciation of relations between life and literature, Sakulin aligned himself with those who valorized the mimetic aspect of literature. In other words, Sakulin thought literature mirrors reality and can tell us much about it. For this reason, his method should have been welcomed by all socially-oriented literary critics, including Marxists.

In 1925, Sakulin published an article in the journal Press and Revolution entitled “The Methodological Tasks of the Historian” (“Metodologicheskie zadachi istorika”), in which he presented his theoretical approach to the study of literature, which he felt was consistent with Marxism. Dividing the study of a literary text into three parts, Sakulin suggested that texts had to be studied historically as the author’s creation, as a social phenomenon, and as an artifact shedding light on a moment in the stream of historical evolution. All three categories also had to be subdivided and studied synchronically and diachronically.

According to Sakulin, the first task of the historian is the study of “poetic form,” which must be approached with an immanent method:

Elements of poetic form (sound, word, image, rhythm, composition, genre, poetic thematics, artistic style in general)—all this is studied beforehand through an immanent approach with the aid of those methods which theoretical poetics has worked out, and which are based on psychology, aesthetics, and linguistics, and which, in part, are practiced at present by the so-called formal method.

Элементы поэтической формы (звук, слово, образ, ритм, композиция, жанр, поэтическая тематика, художественный стиль в целом)—все это предварительно изучается имманентно, с помощью тех методов, какие выработала теоретическая поэзия, опираясь на психологию, эстетику и лингвистику, и какие, в частности, практикуются ныне т. н. формальнымметодом.[34]

The result of a study of the formal aspects is to give a description of a text as an “artistic organism; genre as a living complex of formal traits; the writer as a creative individual and literary school as an artistic-stylistic unity” (khudozhestvennyi organizm; zhanr, kak zhivoi kompleks formal´nykh priznakov; pisatel´, kak tvorcheskaia individual´nost´,ishkola, kak khudozhestvenno-stilevoi edinstvo).[35]

The second step is to apply a historical-sociological method in order to understand the genesis of a work, i.e., to define the organic link between an author and his creation. This task has two parts: the scholar should investigate the evolutionary development of a work and its causal development. The evolutionary aspect is that process which takes place within the work itself from the moment of its genesis until its full completion. Causal development refers to those features external to a work, yet strongly influencing it: for example, the political events of the time, the economic relations between classes, etc. Finally, historians should study a single work in the context of literary history. They should both construct a typology of devices and offer a larger synthesis about the laws governing literary history.

Although there were points of agreement, in truth Sakulin disagreed with Marxist literary scholars in his contention that literature was partially independent of the course of economic development and class consciousness. In his view of literary evolution one could reasonably distinguish poetic form from content. The creativity of the artist, literary form, and content only partly belong to the process of social life.[36] For Sakulin, then, literature has its own laws of evolution, and the study of literary history lies apart from that of general history.

Russian Marxists could not agree with Sakulin’s premise that literature belongs to a partially autonomous domain. The general view of Marxist scholars concerning Sakulin’s method was characterized by Pavel Medvedev’s biting phrase “sociologism without sociology” (sotsiologizm bez sotsiologii).[37] Medvedev claimed that Sakulin had created an eclectic method that was actually less concerned with the social determinants of literature than literature’s internal components. In addition, three young Marxist literary scholars—I. Grossman-Roshchin, G. Lelevich, and N. Fatov—also criticized Sakulin’s methodology in a special group of essays published in the fifth issue of Press and Revolution of 1925. Their viewpoint can be summarized by Grossman-Roshchin’s position that formal study creates an unacceptable dualism and that only a socially conscious method is acceptable: “A static investigation isolates and, creating the illusion of a pure visual clarity of outline, in reality conceals the nature of the object.”[38] Thus, instead of offering a proper monistic, dynamic system, Sakulin presents an illegitimate dualism. The result is a lack of a truly Marxist approach. Professor Fatov seconded:

[O]nly standing on the ground of a strictly scientific, i.e., Marxist worldview can the history of literature build a scientific methodology and scientifically understand and explain the process of historical-literary life. Without this there is nothing to understand and it is impossible to explain anything scientifically, it is impossible to build any scientific methodology.

[Т]олько стоя на почве строго-научного, т. е. марксистского, миросознания, история литературы может построить научную методологию и научно понять и объяснить процесс историко-литературной жизни. Без этого нечего понять и научно объяснить нельзя, никакой науки, никакой научной методологии построить невозможно.[39]

Perhaps recalling this criticism of Sakulin by rising literary scholars in the Soviet Union, the officials at the State Publishing House felt Sakulin would not vigorously pursue the ideological demands envisioned for the revised Pushkin edition. Consequently, in a letter of 27 July 1928, Narbut informed Sakulin of his desire to attract more Marxist scholars to the project. He also demanded the participation of Anatoly Lunacharsky, the Bolshevik Minister of Culture, as a member of the editorial committee. Presumably Lunacharsky was invited to enforce the ideological intentions of Narbut, who incidentally moved Communists to positions of authority. However, the new editorial board was not uniformly Communist. While Narbut had placed Demian Bednyi and Lunacharsky, who indeed were pro-Bolshevik, he also added Pavel Shchegolev.[40]

Shchegolev made sense because he was an old-time Pushkinist and known for his left-wing views, having been to prison before the Bolshevik Revolution. Nonetheless, Piksanov, having been fired from the editorial board, turned his anger on Shchegolev. Writing to Sakulin, Piksanov burst out:

But one thing is unclear: P. E. Shchegolev’s role. Why exactly is he being brought into the editorial group? If “social-historical” scholarship is needed, then of course Marxist. But what kind of Marxist is Shchegolev! His appointment in my opinion is somehow connected with his last trip to Moscow. He made great efforts at the State Publishing House to find a publisher for his enormous planned biography of Pushkin, in four volumes! And I also know, by chance also, that Ianson wants to link this biography with thesame “academic” edition of Pushkin, as supplementary volumes. In my view, this will be a monstrous disproportion. But Shchegolev has a long history, is a persistent person (he even set a well-rounded price: 300 rubles for a chapter). It is curious to establish what role Pavel Eliseevich [Shchegolev] played in the new version of the type and organization of the Pushkin edition.

А одно не ясно: роль П. Е. Щеголева. Почему именно он вводится в редакцию? Если нужны “социально-исторические” комментарии, то конечно марксистские. Но какой же Щеголев марксист! Его выдвижение в моем сознании связывается как-то сего последним приездом в Москву. Он много хлопотал в Госиздате об устройстве своей грандиозно задуманной биографии Пушкина: в четырех томах! И мне, тоже случайно, известно, что Янсон как-то хочет связать эту биографию с тем же “академическим” изданием Пушкина: как дополнительные тома. На мой взгляд, это будет чудовищной диспропорцией. Но Щеголев человек бывалый, напористый (он и гонорар себе намечает кругленький: рубликов по три ста за лист). Весьма любопытно установить, какую роль сыграл Павел Елисеевич в новой версии типа и организации Пушкинского издания.[41]

Shchegolev was certainly not a dogmatic Marxist, although he willingly cooperated with the authorities in the late-1920s until his death in 1931.[42] Such scholars as B. Tomashevsky, Iu. Oksman, and M. Tsiavlovsky were relegated to limited, formal tasks, such as preparing the texts for publication.

After September 1928 there is only one more document in Sakulin’s papers concerning the proposed academic edition of Pushkin, a note apparently written by Sakulin for his own records. This document represents a kind of confession-description of his experience to this point, his apprehensions concerning the State Publishing House, and his thoughts about the edition he was supposed to edit. He titled it “On the Question of the Scholarly Pushkin Edition” (“K voprosu o kommentirovannom izdanii Pushkina”). Although undated, we can surmise that Sakulin wrote it no later than the end of 1928. From this document, composed of sentence fragments, it is abundantly clear that Sakulin was completely aware of the implications of Narbut’s decisions:

The work has already begun in substance. The only thing that remains is officially to sign the contract. There is a change in the head of the Literary-Artistic Department. Negotiations with Comrade Narbut. The sabotage of the State Publishing House. My own false position and the false position of all the workers.… After a month the sharp change in the views of the State Publishing House. Without any participation by the collective of Pushkinists in deciding the question. The entire episode creates a bad impression on the contributors.

There is not complete trust in the Editorial Department of the State Publishing House. Even more so since I can recall an analogous event when an entire scholarly edition of the classics was cancelled; (when I was supposed to edit Dostoevsky).

Such is the psychological atmosphere in which we have resumed our work.

Работа в сущности уже началась. Оставалось лишь формальное заключение договора. Смена заведующего Л[итературным] Отделом. Переговоры с T. Нарбутом. Саботаж ГИЗа. Фальшивое положение всех работников особенномое.… Через месяц резкая перемена во взглядах ГИЗа. Без какого-либо участия коллектива пушкинистов в решении вопроса. Весь этот эпизод производит тяжелое впечатление на сотрудников.

Нет полного доверия к редакционному аппарату ГИЗа. Тем более что вспоминается аналогичный случай с прекращением целой серии комментированного издания классиков (где я должен был редактировать Достоевского).

Такова психологическая атмосфера в которой мы возобновляем работу.[43]

In view of the transformation of the volume from an academic edition to an ideological one, Sakulin expressed his fears that the volume would be compromised in quality and perhaps would never be finished. He continues:

Will we realize the planned edition? A “broad,” “sociological-historical” investigation of Pushkin’s art must be undertaken by indisputable Marxists. The Marxist-Pushkinists are worthless … one should not forget that Pushkin’s oeuvre has been studied least of all from a sociological-historical viewpoint. The essays of the scholars might not reach the qualitative level expected of a large, academic edition. This will diminish the value of the entire edition.

Will the edition be completed? The controlling organs have drawn their attention to this edition of the classics. It is easy to predict to what kind of scrutiny the first volumes of the future edition will be subject. A change in the editorial group and even a complete stop to the edition is conceivable.

Осуществим-ли проектируемый тип? “Всесторонее” “социально-историческое” освещение творчество Пушкина должно быть делано руками бесспорных марксистов. Кадры марксистов-пушкинистов—ничтожны … не следует забывать и того, что творчество Пушкина в соц[иальном]-историч[еском] отношении как раз разработано менее всего. Статьи комментаторов могут неоказаться на высоте тех научных требований, какие должны быть предъявлены к большому академическому изданию. Это понизит ценность всего издания.

Будет-ли издание доведено до конца? К изданию классиков привлечено особое внимание контролирующих органов. Легко предвидеть, какой критике подвергнутся первые же тома будущего издания. Возможно изменение состава редакции и даже полное приостановка издания.[44]

What occurred at the end was something very similar to what Sakulin had predicted. The six-volume collection of Pushkin’s writings was issued between 1931–35. Instead of the original group of Pushkinists, the volume was edited by a committee of five scholars, three of them Communists. Moreover, instead of including a wide array of scholarship, the editors offered only meager footnotes. Also left out were Pushkin’s letters, his unpublished materials and the poet’s rare critical essays. The edition did contain six scholarly articles, although five of them, excluding Sakulin’s, expressed a pronounced Marxist perspective. Lunacharskii and not Sakulin wrote the introduction, and he gave as the task of the scholarship to help “the reader build for himself a general view of Pushkin as a social phenomenon” (chitateliu postroit´ dlia sebia obshchii oblik Pushkina kak iavleniia).[45] The names and Marxist affiliation of the scholars, D. Blagoi, M. Pokrovsky, I. Sergievsky, and A. Lunacharsky convey the kind of edition that was ultimately realized.[46]

In light of the scholars who were approved and the ideological mission of the scholarship, we can now fully understand what the Communist Party ultimately wanted. The scholarship reflects a Marxist literary perspective in which Pushkin is seen as a product of the socioeconomic factors of his time; his work reflects class differences, and his role in literary life shows the gradual democratization of Russian society. The opening paragraph to Dmitry Blagoi’s introduction to Evgeny Ogenin exemplifies the desired perspective:

Pushkin’s literary activity unfolded in the period of an intensified growth of business-industrial relations, dissolving the old, peasant economy. On the strength of this, vital social changes occurred in the country. The “ancient,” medium-sized owners and in part the large landowning gentry collapsed and their land became dispossessed, the bourgeois, capitalist class grew, the governing apparatus became bureaucratized. Moreover, at the time of the gradual fall of the gentry, oppressed from outside by the bourgeoisie and “the merchants,” a parallel process of the “transformation into the bourgeoisie” began to take place within the gentry class itself.

Литературная деятельность Пушкина развертывалась в период усиленного роста торгово-промышленных отношений, разлагавших старое, крепостное хозяйство. В силу этого в стране происходили важнейшие социальные сдвиги: обезземеливалось и подало “старинное” среднепоместное, а отчастии крупно поместное дворянство, росбуржуазно-капиталистический класс, бюрократизировался правительственный аппарат. Больше того,—наряду с процессом упадка дворянства, от тесняемого из внебуржуазией, “купечеством”, внутри самого дворянского класса начинался параллельный процесс “перерождения в буржуазию”.[47]

In its language, conceptual structure and historical analysis Blagoi’s essay reflects a sociological approach to literature that is strongly tinted by Marxism.[48]

In contrast to the other articles, Sakulin’s essay, “Pushkin in the History of Russian Literary Life,” appears quite odd. In many ways it should not have been included in the volume, since in method it contradicts the Marxist viewpoint. Employing his idiosyncratic sociological approach, Sakulin built his essay by studying Pushkin’s literary forms immanently and then approaching them historically. He tried to convey the very complicated process involved in literary creation, giving equal weight to the various social and individual factors. In explaining the source for Pushkin’s poetry, for example, Sakulin tried to balance the objective and subjective dimensions:

The gamut of personal, social and philosophical experiences that compose the thematics of Pushkin’s poetry, of course, color the poet’s entire oeuvre. Concerning his own experiences, he remembers and makes sense of concrete reality, expressing it in creative images which also have an objective significance.

Гамма личных, общественных и философских переживаний, которые составляют тематику пушкинской лирики, окрашивает, разумеется, и все творчество поэта. В аспекте своих переживаний воспоминает он и осмысливает конкретную действительность, выражая ее в художественных образах, имеющих и объективную значимость.[49]

While in Sakulin’s analysis economic matters play an important role in explaining Pushkin creativity, they are only one factor among many. Others are Pushkin’s own talent and personality, his evolution as a writer, the evolution of Pushkin’s own literary images and the broader evolution of literary forms in Russia.

Since Sakulin expressed the idea that Pushkin was influenced by internal processes germane only to art and not by economic factors, his essay is out of sync with the others in the volume. Sakulin’s article shows what the edition might have looked like had all the scholarship been done by the non-Marxist Pushkinists. It also indicates that the Communists were justified (from their point of view at least) in demoting the professional Pushkinists, since their approach would have openly clashed with that of the new party cadres.

The fact that Shchegolev participated and that Sakulin’s essay was published does indicate, however, that the party tolerated fellow travelers to a degree in the realm of literary scholarship.[50] Of course scholars were arrested and sent to Siberian exile (for example, IulianOksman and Ivanov-Razumnik). Yet many of the professional Pushkinists continued their work with extensive contributions to the large jubilee edition (1937–59).[51] For example, Alexander Izmailov was already released in the mid-1930s and was invited to take part in the scholarly edition, although he and others were not permitted at that time to return to Leningrad. If one might speculate, it is possible to argue that the scholar fellow-travelers could to a degree remain ideologically neutral and could be compared with the professional intelligentsia whom the Soviet state embraced for essential and specialized knowledge.

By enlisting Shchegolev, primarily a biographer, and Sakulin, the party functionaries showed that their conception of Pushkin was not uniform. It was even possible to speak about a “reconciliation” with Pushkin. The image of the poet-aristocrat could still serve as an example of the social ills of the time of the Decembrists, but already the scholar was permitted to speak about his extraordinary talent and contributions to Russia. Although Russian nationalism was still restrained, it was acceptable now to emphasize the value of pre-revolutionary Russian culture. The gradual return of a Romantic attitude in literary studies (and in history and politics) can be perceived at this time. Soon the cult of the great man (Lenin, Stalin, Pushkin) would become a staple of Soviet ideology.[52]

The story of the 1931 edition of Pushkin would be pointedly sad if there were no positive results to Sakulin’s efforts. The Pushkin scholars, however, did get their chance to realize an expansive edition with the seventeen-volume collection of Pushkin’s works that appeared between 1937–59, in which all of Pushkin’s manuscripts and variants were published. Clearly, the initial discussions for the 1931 edition served as the guiding philosophy behind this later endeavor.

Sakulin, however, did not get the chance to participate in the Academy of Sciences edition. It is not because he was arrested; he died in 1930 on the train from Moscow to Leningrad.[53] At present and under calmer circumstances we can appraise what Sakulin was trying to achieve with his sociological method and adherence to intellectual pluralism. Sakulin attempted to navigate a middle way between the excesses of formalism and dogmatic Marxism. While maintaining the importance of a synchronic study of literary form, he considered it only the first stage in his overall synthesis that included the study of literature in evolution. By joining a synchronic examination of form with a diachronic view of content, Sakulin was heading in the direction of poststructuralism. In this way, he helped in the development of new methods that were sensitive to issues of history and evolution and that proposed a more sophisticated understanding of the relationship between literature and life.

It should be acknowledged that even in the 1930s there was room for bourgeois specialists on technical questions, such as textology, use of manuscripts, publication of documents, and even certification about Pushkin’s views on politics and his biography. A number of important non-Communist scholars, for example, participated in the Pushkin Conference of 1937.[54]

In his relationship with Soviet apparatchiks, it is clear that Sakulin was unfairly treated. The Communist officials at the State Publishing House revoked the full authority they had earlier given him to organize a complete edition of Pushkin’s works. The only curious thing is why they let him continue on as chief editor and why they let him write an article for the edition. I do not believe we will get an answer to this paradox, since there appears to be conflicting evidence. It seems likely that Sakulin was kept on to give legitimacy to the edition and also because ideological conformism had not yet become fully fixed. Although there was no longer room for non-Marxist criticism, there was still a place in the early 1930s for sociological criticism that was sympathetic to Marxism but not dogmatic. Sakulin was a serious Pushkin scholar with an international reputation and he was not the party’s enemy. Therefore, it makes sense that Anatoly Lunacharsky could praise Sakulin in a festschrift celebrating his thirty-year career in 1929:

You give an example of exactly the process forming outside party lines of the mutual penetration of science and of a strong worldview that, we are sure, in the near future will become the worldview of all humanity. We expect from you the continuation of your fruitful work by which hundreds and thousands of scholars and attentive readers are studying and will study.

Вы даете образ чик именно такого процесса взаимопроникновения внепартийных рядов сложившейся науки и крепящего миросозерцания, которое, как мы уверены, в близком будущем станет миросозерцанием всего человечества. Мы ждем от Вас продолжения Вашего плодотворного труда, на котором учатся и будут учиться сотни и тысячи научных работников и внимательных читателей.[55]

Evidently, the 1920s were a complicated time when the place of ideology in scholarship had not yet become absolutely legislated and fellow travelers could still be lauded for their contributions. Nevertheless, the example of the Pushkin edition of 1930–31 shows that the time of tolerance was ending, since the treatment of Sakulin demonstrates that for the Communists as a whole, Lunacharsky was wrong. Sakulin could not give a positive example of a proper, “strong” worldview, and the Bolsheviks did not want hundreds or thousands of people to learn from him. At the same time, they did not want to eliminate him and his kind completely. There would continue to be a need for talented scientific specialists in literary studies too.


Tulane University


The author thanks Igor´ Pil´shchikov for his helpful and creative aid in improving this article. All mistakes are mine alone.

[1] Protokol: Soveshchaniia chlenov komiteta dlia izdaniia sochinenii Pushkina, 24 November 1927, Pavel Sakulin Papers, Manuscript and Rare Books Division, New York Public Library, Sakulin Papers, Slav. Reserve 88-4486.

[2] While it is difficult to tell who exactly made these decisions, Vladimir Narbut was apparently responsible. Although formerly an Acmeist poet, by 1922 he had devoted himself to party work in the sphere of publishing. During the key period in 1928 when the major changes were occurring, however, Narbut was himself fired from the State Publishing House and stripped of his party rank. Thus, Narbut’s responsibility is unclear. He may have supported the ideological transformation of the Pushkin edition, but it is equally possible that he tried to soften decisions that were coming from higher powers. For more on Narbut, see Nina Bialosinskaia and Nikolai Panchenko’s “Kosoi dozhd´,” in Vladimir Narbut, Stikhotvoreniia, ed. Bialosinskaia and Panchenko (Moscow: Sovremennik, 1990), 5–44; L. Chertkov’s “Sud´ba Vladimira Narbut,” in Vladimir Narbut, Izbrannye stikhi, ed. Chertkov (Paris: La Presse Libre, 1983), 7–28, esp. 25–26; and Aleksandr Kriukov’s “Redaktor Vladimir Narbut,” in Pod´´em 11 (1987): 111–20. See also “Narbut, Vladimir Ivanovich,” in Russkie pisateli, 1880–1917: Biograficheskii slovar´ (Moscow: Bol´shaia Rossiiskaia entsiklopediia and Nauchno-vnedrencheskoe predpriiatie Fianit, 1999), 4: 227–30.

[3]A. S. Pushkin, Polnoe sobranie sochinenii, ed. Demian Bednyi, 6 vols. (Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel´stvo khudozhestvennoi literatury, 1930–31). According to WorldCat, volumes 1–3 were published in 1931, and volumes 4–6 were published as supplements to Krasnaia niva in 1930–31. In fact, from 1931–37, there were five editions. They came one on the heels of the other and were slightly different from one another (in the fourth of them, for example, one can find Pavel Vinogradov’s “Glossary,” which was removed in the fifth and never reprinted; the glossary is a prototype of the Dictionary of Pushkin’s Language (Slovar´ iazyka Pushkina). In addition, there was the “pilot” version of a six-volume edition that was published in 1930–31 as a supplement to the journal Krasnaia niva (six volumes in twelve issues; number 12 was the famous Putevoditel´ po Pushkinu in which, incidentally, Sakulin participated.

[4] Krasnaia niva was a Soviet illustrated weekly journal published from 1923–31 and edited by A. V. Lunacharskii, Iu. M. Steklov, and others.

[5] Pavel Sakulin Papers, Slav. Reserve 88–4486.

[6] Sheila Fitzpatrick, The Cultural Front: Power and Culture in Revolutionary Russia (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1992), 115–48.

[7] I would like to thank Edward Kasinec, Curator Emeritus, Slavic and Baltic Division, for bringing these materials to my attention. In his article, “How the Russian Emperors’ Books Came to America,” Mr. Kasinec, the former head of the Slavic Division at the New York Public Library, explains that the Soviet government sold rare materials to a New York book agent and volunteer at the NYPL, Ekaterina N. Rosen, who then sold them to the Yarosh family. Their donation came posthumously to the New York Public Library. During the 1930s, the Soviet government wanted to acquire hard currency by selling art and rare books. For information on the Yarosh Collection, see Edward Kasinec, “Kak knigi russkikh imperatorov popali v Ameriku,” Novyi zhurnal 269 (1999): 262–69; see also Robert Davis and Edward Kasinec, “Romanov and Elite Provenance Material in the New York Public Library,” in Treasure into Tractors: The Selling of Russia’s Cultural Heritage, 1918–1938, ed. Anne Odom and Wendy R. Salmond (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2009), 388–401.

[8] Nowhere could I find information about G. Neradov and his position and responsibilities at the State Publishing House or his exact role in the Pushkin edition. He did attend two meetings at the preparation stage of the Pushkin edition and during this period authored three articles on the publication of the classics, which were published in Biulleten´ gosudarstvennogo izdatel´stva. See “Klassiki i izdaniia posizdata,” Biulleten´ 21 (1 June 1927): 3–4; “Tolstoi i sovremennost´,” Biulleten´, no. 30 (1928): 3–4; “Proizvodstvo klassikov,” Biulleten´ 31–32 (23 August 1928): 3–5.

[9] “Proizvodstvo klassikov,” 3. All translations in this article are mine.

[10] Ibid.

[11] The State Publishing House had a monopoly over republishing the classics since its inception in 1919.

[12] Sakulin’s editorial experience included his publishing Lev Tolstoy’s essays on aesthetics in 1929 and parts of Dostoevsky’s archive in 1931. See Iz arkhiva F. M. Dostoevskogo: Idiot. Neizdannye materialy (Moscow: Gos. izd-vo khudozhestvennoi literatury, 1931) and Estetika L´va Tolstogo: Sbornik statei (Moscow: Gos. Akademiia khudozhestvennykh nauk, 1929).See also Iu. I. Mineralov’s article “Sakulin, Pavel Nikitich,” in Russkie pisateli, 1800–1917: Biograficheskii slovar´ (Moscow: Bol´shaia Rossiiskaia entsiklopediia, 2007), 5: 453–55.

[13] P. Sakulin, Russkaia literatura i sotsializm, part 1, 2nd ed. (Moscow, 1924), 50 and 51.

[14] The second meeting actually took place on 18 December 1927.

[15] Protokol: Soveshchaniia chlenov komiteta dlia izdaniia sochinenii Pushkina, 24 November 1927, Pavel Sakulin Papers.

[16] Protokol: Soveshchaniia chlenov komiteta dlia izdaniia sochinenii Pushkina, 6 January 1928, Pavel Sakulin Papers.

[17] M. Tsiavlovskii, “Primernoe raspredelenie po tomam proizvedenii Pushkina v polnom 12-i tomnom akademicheskogo kharaktera sobranii sochinenii,” 20 May 1927. Although we do not have the actual transcript of Tsiavlovsky’s talk, it probably resembled his “Nabrosok soderzhaniia izdaniia,” which he sent to Sakulin in 1927.

[18] Protokol: Soveshchaniia chlenov komiteta dlia izdaniia sochinenii Pushkina, 24 March 1928, Pavel Sakulin Papers.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Sheila Fitzpatrick, Cultural Revolution in Russia, 1928–1931 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984).

[26] Ludwig Domherr writes, “The examination quickly ‘turned into a genuine purge,’ as the Bolshevik press noted with enthusiasm: ‘on the roster of scholars of the Academy were individuals who have no scientific qualifications but were in possession of big court or tsarist bureaucratic titles in the past. One can meet former court officials and aristocratic ladies, Kamerjunkers and Frauleins, police and military men, governors and spies, priests and heretics, etc.… The Academy played a role as an idiosyncratic refuge for the anti-Soviet element.” Ludwig Domherr, The Pushkin Edition of the U.S.S.R. Academy of Sciences (New York: Research Program on the U.S.S.R., 1953), 11.

[27] Ibid., 11–12.

[28] E. Brown, Russian Literature since the Revolution (London: Collier Books, 1963), 29.

[29] Again I feel it necessary to add that, although Sakulin considered Narbut guilty of sabotaging the edition, Narbut himself lost his position in the summer of 1928. L. Chertkov describes this point in time in his article entitled “Vladimir Narbut’s Fate”: “At the beginning of 1928 Narbut participated in the organization of the Soviet stand at the international book exhibit in Cologne. He planned the publication of the large illustrated Universal Journal [Vseobshchii zhurnal] with an appendix with the participation of 150 writers (which was, judging by the cover of the single first number, to make up for the failure of New Journal for Everyone [Novyi zhurnal dlia vsekh] in 1913). However, during the summer of that year [1928] he was excluded from the party ‘for hiding a series of circumstances connected with his imprisonment by the Whites in 1919.’ … A feuilleton about him in the emigration press, written by Georgy Ivanov, which appeared in his book, Petersburg Winters [Peterburgskie zimy] (1928), played an indisputable role in the exclusion; it was written with G. Ivanov’s usual wit and with many inexactitudes and juggling of facts (for example, the description of Narbut in the 1910s as a rich landowner, impoverishing his peasants and squandering money, was clearly liked by the Bolsheviks).” L. Chertkov, “Sud´ba Vladimira Narbuta,” in Vladimir Narbut, Izbrannye stikhi (Paris: La Presse Libre, 1983), 25–26.

[30] Sakulin had sent V. Narbut a letter on 29 May 1928, threatening to quit if he was not informed about decisions concerning the edition.

[31] P. Sakulin to V. I. Narbut, 13 July 1928, Pavel Sakulin Papers.

[32] Neradov, Biulleten´ Gosudarstvennogo izdatel´stva, 4.

[33] See P. Sakulin, “K voprosy o postroenii poetiki,” Iskusstvo 1 (1923): 93. Incidentally, Boris Eikhenbaum criticized Sakulin in his 1924 article, entitled “Vokrug voprosa o formalistakh,” published in Pechat´ i revoliutsiia, no. 5 (1924): 7–15.

[34] P. Sakulin, “Metodologicheskie zadachi istorika,” Pechat´ i revoliutsiia, no. 1 (1925): 99.

[35] Ibid., 100.

[36] Ibid., 98.

[37] P. Medvedev, “Sotsializm bez sotsiologii,” Zvezda, no. 2 (1926): 268–70.

[38] “Мыпологаем, чтотолькодинамическаяточказрениявыявляетприродуиочертанияобъекта. Статикажеизолируети, создаваявидимостьчистозрительнойясностиочертаний, насамомделезатушевываетприродуобъекта.” I. Grossman-Roshchin, “Kauzal´nyi i evoliutsionnyi riady v postroenii metodologii istorii literatury,” Pechat´ i revoliutsiia, no. 5–6 (1925): 82.

[39] N. Fatov, “Po povodu stat´i P. N. Sakulina ob istoriko-literaturnoi metodologii,” Pechat´ i revoliutsiia, no. 5–6 (1925): 92. Incidentally, the author of the entry on Sakulin in an encyclopedia of Russian writers says that Fatov was Sakulin’s student, that the article contained elements of a “political denunciation,” and that Sakulin was “physically shaken by it” (Mineralov, “Sakulin, Pavel Nikitich,” 5: 455).

[40] Sheila Fitzpatrick, The Commisariat of Enlightenment: Soviet Organization and the Arts under Lunacharsky (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970), 99–100.

[41]N. Piksanov to P. Sakulin, 17 September 1928, Pavel Sakulin Papers. Ianson was V. Neradov’s personal secretary.

[42] Criticism of Shchegolev from Anna Akhmatova in 1924, as noted by R. D. Timenchik and V. A. Chernykh in Anna Akhmatova, “Avtobiograficheskaia proza,” ed. R. Timenchik and V. Chernykh, Literaturnoe obozrenie, no. 5 (1989): 13.

[43] Sakulin’s emphasis. P. Sakulin, “K voprosy o kommentirovannom izdanii Pushkina,” Pavel Sakulin Papers.

[44] Ibid. Sakulin’s emphasis.

[45] A. Lunacharskii, “Introduction,” in A. S. Pushkin, Polnoe sobranie sochinenii, 6 vols. (Moscow, 1930–36), 1: 5.

[46] In his analysis Boris Meilakh claims that Lunacharsky fell victim to the influence of the times, “The vulgar sociological waves were so strong that they were pronounced in A. V. Lunacharsky’s introductory article to the first Soviet edition of Pushkin’s collected works (1930).” B. Meilakh, “Osnovnye etapy izucheniia Pushkina v sovetskoe vremia,” Pushkin: Itogi i problemy izucheniia (Moscow–Leningrad: Nauka, 1966), 136.

[47] D. Blagoi, “Evgenii Onegin,” in Pushkin, Polnoe sobranie sochinenii,4: 1.

[48] Blagoi’s star was rising at this time as perhaps the leader of the sociological school of Pushkin studies. Blagoi was the author of Sotsiologiia tvorchestva Pushkina: Etiudy, 2nd ed. (Moscow: Mir, 1931).

[49] P. Sakulin, “Pushkin v istorii russkoi literaturnoi zhizni,” in Pushkin, Polnoe sobranie sochinenii, 2: 25.

[50] See Meilakh “Osnovnye etapy izucheniia Pushkina v sovetskoe vremia,” 165–68.

[51] A. S. Pushkin, Polnoe sobranie sochinenii, 17 vols. (Leningrad: Akademiia nauk, 1937–59).

[52] Nina Tumarkin, Lenin Lives: the Lenin Cult in Soviet Russia (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997), 165–207; see also Jonathan Platt, “Pushkin Now and Then: Images of Temporal Paradox in the 1937 Jubilee,” Russian Review 67: 4 (October 2008): 651.

[53] Mineralov, “Sakulin,” 5: 455.

[54] Meilakh, “Osnovnye etapy izucheniia Pushkina v sovetskoe vremia,” 140.

[55] Pamiati P. N. Sakulina: Sbornik statei (Moscow: Kooperativnoe izd-vo pisatelei “Nikitinskie subbotniki,” 1931), 129.