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Anti-nihilistic novel

Anti-nihilistic novel (Russian: антинигилистический роман) was a genre in Russian literature in the second half of the 19th century, as a reaction to the disillusionment in the Russian revolutionary movement of the time.[1] The term derives from the usage of the word "nihilist" in the general sense of "(political) radical" in the Russian Empire of the time, derived from the radical Russian Nihilist movement.

An example of the genre is No Way Out by Nikolai Leskov.

A typical protagonist is a nihilist student. However unlike, e.g., a nihilist Rakhmetov from What Is to Be Done? by Nikolai Chernyshevsky, the (anti-)hero is a weak person, easily seduced into subversive activities by a villain, often a Pole[2] (in reference to Polish insurgence within the Russian Empire).

Many anti-nihilistic novels were published in the conservative literary magazine The Russian Messenger edited by Mikhail Katkov.[1]

Novels in this genreEdit


  1. ^ a b "АНТИНИГИЛИСТИ́ЧЕСКИЙ РОМА́Н"[permanent dead link], in Concise Literary Encyclopedia
  2. ^ Adam Bruno Ulam, "Prophets and Conspirators in Pre-Revolutionary Russia", ISBN 1412832195, 1977,p. 146
  3. ^ a b "Демифологизация русской интеллигенции", «Нева» 2007, №8

Further readingEdit