Fedor Kuzmich Sologub (1863 - 1927)

Fedor Kuzmich Sologub (real last name Teternikov) was a poet, a prose-writer, a translator and a publicist. His name was completely associated with the culture of the “Silver Age". Sologub left a wide literary legacy. The novel, “Melky Bes" was declared classical within the author's life and the name of the character Peredonov became a common noun, a symbol of “Russian swinishness", which - everyone thought - had to be overcome as an obstacle for Russia's spiritual resurrection.

Fedor Sologub was born in Petersburg in a family of a tailor originating from the serfs. His father died of tuberculosis when the child was four years old, his mother signed up as a servant to a manor house where Fedya Teternikov, “a cook's son", spent his childhood and youth. The love to reading, theatre and writing developed early within the boy. He got education at St. Petersburg Teachers' Institute, which he graduated from in 1882 as a state school teacher and did not leave his job for 25 years
afterwards.
     The first ten years of his independent life Sologub spent in the remotest depth of the provinces. Everyday life and morals of the Russian backwoods, where, according to the writer's sharp word, everything “common becomes awful and awful becomes common", provided him with rich material for
novels and short-stories.
     In 1892 Sologub moved to Petersburg. With N.M.Minsky's support he made his debut as a poet successfully in a magazine “Severny Vestnik". However, he achieved recognition as a prose-writer - after publishing a novel “Teni" (1894), which, according to A.L.Volynsky's witness, made an overwhelming impression on everybody". Intimacy with symbolist-poets of Petersburg -
D.S.Merezhkovsky, Z.N.Gippius, A.M.Dobrolyubov, I.I.Konevsky and others determined his future way in literature.
     Subsequent to the first collections and a novel, “Tyazhelye Sny" (1896), books of short stories, “Zhalo Smerti" (1904),  “Istlevauschie Lichiny" (1907), a novel, “Melky Bes" (1907), a trilogy, “Tvorimaya Legenda"  (1907-1913) saw the light of the day. In 1908 he published the eighth book
of poems “Plamenny Krug" that was considered one of the summits of Russian symbolist poetry.
     In the early 1910s Sologub was claimed by the critics to be one of the four most popular men of letters - along with M.Gorky, L.N.Andreev and A.I.Kuprin. In 1909-1914 three collections of his works were published; his plays were performed with triumph and sometimes even with scandal on
the stages of capital theatres in productions of the most remarkable directors: V.E.Meerkhold, N.N. Evreinov, and N.A.Popov. Due to the effort of his wife A.N.Chebotarevskaya his house was turned into a popular literary and artistic salon visited by representatives of the creational elite.
     Post-revolutionary years were tragic for Sologub. His attempts to leave Russia in 1919-1921 did not achieve success. His severe antipathy for the Soviet power complicated with the suffering of loss (A.N.Chebotarevskaya committed suicide in 1921) intensified the feeling of solitude. Poetical
collections, “Nebo Goluboye" (1920), “Odna Lyubov", “Fimiamy" (1921), ”Charodeynaya Chasha", “Koster Dorozhny" (1922) were the last books of the symbolist poet published within his lifetime. Sologub wrote up to his death, however his works were not printed and he felt “not wanted" in his
native country. Only the work in the Union of Writers, the Leningrad's Branch of which he headed in 1924-1927, brought him satisfaction.
     Sologub fund - one of the largest personal funds of the beginning of the XX century in Pushkinsky Dom collections - was received from O.N.Chernosvitova (born Chebotarevskaya). In a letter to her sister T.N.Chebotarevskaya she said: “Precise lists of everything were made along with all small items from Fedor Kuzmich's study <…> and all that was donated to Pushkinsky Dom with arranging formalities. We had to communicate with it [the Institute] through Modzalevsky, and in this period I made sure this nice, kind and polite man was fanatically devoted to literature and establishing literary archives and monuments. Any financial compensation was out of the question and it was the best place
for storage from the viewpoint of security. All archives are held in proper order as well".
     The fund contains creational manuscripts of the novels, including the rough autograph of  “Melky Bes", and also short stories, drama pieces, articles, rhymes and poems, translations; business and personal correspondence including the letters by L.N.Andreev, A.A.Akhmatova, K.D.Balmont, A.Bely, N.A.Berdyaev, A.Blok, V.Y.Bryusov, Z.N.Gippius, N.S.Gumilev, E.I.Zamyatin, A.A.Izmailov, V.F.Komissarzhevskaya, A.M.Remizov, V.V.Rozanov, I.Severyanin, K.A.Somov, A.N.Tolstoy and many others.
     Among biographical materials there are Sologub's personal documents and those connected with his pedagogical activity, programmes of literary soirees, discussions and disputes that he participated in, albums with reviews on his works and so on. The special part of the fund is constituted with the personal archive of A.N.Chebotarevskaya-Sologub (manuscripts, a diary, correspondence) as well as her collection of autobiographies by modern writers.
     The Literature Museum of Pushkinsky Dom holds the things from Sologub's study - a writing desk, a chair, a reading-lamp, an ink-pot and also a collection of photos taken in different years.
     In the library of Pushkinsky Dom a large number of books from the unique Sologub's library are stored. The writer's book collection hasn't remained as a single whole, many volumes were lost. Among the preserved copies there are many rarities and books with donating signs of famous culture and art figures on them.

M.M. Pavlova