Reference Guide to Russian Literature

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Avdot'ia Iakovlevna Panaeva 1819-1893
Prose writer


Born Avdot'ia Iakovlevna Brianskaia in St Petersburg, 31 July 1819 (or 1820). Attended a theatrical school in St Petersburg: family wanted her to have career on stage. Married: I) Ivan Panaev in 1837 (died 1862), several children (died in infancy); 2) common-law wife of Nikolai Nekrasov, two children (died in infancy); 3) Apollon Golovachev in 1864, one daughter, the writer Evdokia Apollonovna Nagrodskaia ( 1866-1930). Ran a literary salon, St Petersburg, 1840s-60s. Wrote under the pseudonym N. Stanitskii.Closely associated with the journal Sovremennik. Involved in women's emancipation movement; wrote Zhenskaia dolia [ "A Woman's Lot"], 1862. Memoirs published, 1889-90; provided important information on the literary scene of the 1840s and 1850s. Died in St Petersburg, 30 March 1893.



Tri strany sveta [ The Three Countries of the World], with Nikolai Nekrasov. 1848; reprinted in Polnoe sobranie sochinenii, by Nikolai Nekrasov, Moscow, 1948, vol. 7.

Mertvoe ozero [ The Dead Lake], with Nikolai Nekrasov. 1848; in Polnoe sobranie sochinenii, by N. A. Nekrasov, Moscow, 1948, vol. 8.

"Neostorozhnoe slovo" [ "A Careless Word"], Sovremennik, 3 ( 1848), 65-67.

"Zhena chasovogo mastera" [ "The Wife of the Watch Expert"], Sovremennik, z ( 1849), 168-81.

"Paseka" [ "The Beehive"], Sovremennik, 18/ II ( 1849).

"Neobdumannyi shag" [ "A Hasty Step"], Sovremennik, 19/ I ( 1850).

"Kapriznaia zhenshchina" [ "The Capricious Woman"], Sovremennik, 24/ 12 ( 1850).

"Melochi zhizni" [ "The Trivialities of Life"], Sovremennik,I-4 ( 1854); separate edition St Petersburg, 1854.

"Stepnaia baryshnia" [ Lady of the Steppe]. 1855; in Dacha na Petergofskoi doroge: Proza russkikh pisatel'nits pervoi poloviny XIXv., Moscow, 1986; translated as "The Young Lady of the Steppes", by Joe Andrew, in Russian Women's Shorter Fiction: An Anthology, 1855-1860, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1996, 319-97.

"Roman v peterburgskom polusvete" [ "Romance in St Petersburg's Half-Light"], Sovremennik, 3-4 ( 1860); separate edition St Petersburg, 1863.

"Zhenskaia dolia" [A Woman's Lot], Sovremennik, 3-5 ( 1862).

"Fantazerka" [ "The Fantasist"], Sovremennik, 104 ( 1864).

Semeistvo Tal'nikovykh [ The Tal'nikov Family], published under the pseudonym N. Stanitskii, written in 1848 (banned until 1866); reprinted in Russkie povesti XIX veka: 40-50 godov, Moscow, 1952, vol. 2.

Istoriia odnogo talanta [Story of One Talented Person]. Niva, 1888.


"Vospominaniia", as A.Ia. Golovacheva, Istoricheskii vestnik, 1889; separate edition, 1890; reprinted Moscow, 1948, 1956, 1972.

Critical Studies

Zhena poeta, by K. Chukovskii, Petrograd, 1922.

"Avdot'ya Panaeva: Her Salon and Her Life", by Marina Ledkovsky , Russian Literature Triquarterly, 9 ( 1974), 423-32.

"A Brackish Hippocrene: Nekrasov, Panaeva and the 'Prose in Love"', by Richard Gregg, Slavic Review, 34 ( 1975), 731-51.

Dichterinen und Schriftstellerinen in Russland von Mitte des 18. bis zum Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts, eine Problemskizze, by Frank Gopfert, Munich, 1992 (chapter on Panaeva).

Avdot'ia Iakovlevna Panaeva was born in 1819 (or 1820) in St Petersburg into a family of well-known actors. Her childhood was unhappy, she was probably a neglected or unloved child. The education she received at the Theatrical School was fairly superficial. Her parents wanted her to train for the ballet, but at the age of 18 she married Ivan Panaev, a budding author, in order to escape going on the stage. Panaev came from a wealthy land owning family and their marriage was, at first, frowned upon by his relatives. Panaeva's married life was not happy. The Panaevs had several children, all of whom died young. After several years the marriage became a sham, though they never separated.

Panaeva was a beautiful woman, intelligent and kind; among the many men who frequented her literary salon some fell in love with her, notably Dostoevskii and Nikolai Nekrasov.Most probably in 1847 Panaeva became Nekrasov's mistress. They stayed together for about 16 years. The Panaevs and Nekrasov lived in a curious ménage à trois in the same flat. Panaeva collaborated with Nekrasov on two novels, while with her husband she contributed a regular column on fashion to


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Reference Guide to Russian Literature


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