A Decayed Family

A Decayed Family (Russian: Захуда′лый род, romanizedZakhudaly rod) is an unfinished novel by Nikolai Leskov, subtitled "The Family Chronicles of Princes Protazanov" (Семейная хроника князей Протозановых).[1] Parts one and two of it were first published in the 1874 Nos. 7,8 and 10 of The Russian Messenger[2] as part of a trilogy which also included Old Years in Plodomasovo (1869) and The Cathedral Clergy (1872).[3]

A Decayed Family
AuthorNikolai Leskov
Original titleЗахудалый род
GenreRomantic chronicles
PublisherThe Russian Messenger
Publication date
Media typePrint (Paperback & Hardback)


The publication of the novel has led to Leskov's severing all ties with The Russian Messenger. The main issue was the magazine's editor-in-chief Mikhail Katkov's disagreement with the author's position as regards Russian dvoryanstvo. At the time of the publication Katkov (while praising the novel's artistic qualities)[4] told the members of the magazine's stuff: "We've made a mistake, this is not our man, has nothing to do with us, [his departure is] not something to be pitied."[5] Outraged by editorial cuts, Leskov decided against starting upon the third part of the novel, leaving it unfinished.[1]

Leskov himself rated A Decayed Family higher than The Cathedral Clergy and The Sealed Angel, referring to it as his "most mature work".[6] The publication in the magazine of parts 1 and 2 received high praise from Ivan Aksakov and Nikolay Pirogov.[1]

In 1875 A Decayed Family came out as a separate edition. "Here its second part is presented in my own version, not that of Katkov," Leskov wrote in a letter to Ivan Aksakov on March 23, 1875.[1] As The Complete Leskov started to be published by Alexey Suvorin's publishing house, A Decayed Family was included into the Volume 6, which also featured Leskov's most radical anti-clerical essays and stories. On July 16, 1889, Leskov received the news that the whole issue of Volume 6 had been arrested by the police, which led to his first major heart attack. In July 1890 Volume 6 came out in the alternative version, A Decayed Family included.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Leskov, N. S. (1989). "A Decayed Family". The Works of... in 12 volumes. Pravda Publishers. Vol. VI, pp. 3-190. Archived from the original on 2011-11-08. Retrieved 2011-10-10.
  2. ^ Bogayevskaya, K. P. "The Life and Works of N. S. Leskov. Timeline". az.lib.ru / The Works by N.S. Leskov in 11 voumes. Moscow. Khudozhestvennaya Literatura Publishers. 1958. Vol 11, pp. 799-834. Retrieved 2011-10-10.
  3. ^ D.S.Mirsky, Francis James Whitfield (1999). Leskov. A history of Russian literature from its beginnings to 1900. ISBN 9780810116795. Retrieved 2011-10-10.
  4. ^ N. Leskov's letter to A. Suvorin, 11 February 1888.
  5. ^ N. Leskov's letter to M. Protopopov, 23 December 1891.
  6. ^ N. Leskov's letter to A. Suvorin, 2 March 1889.

External linksEdit