Avdotya Panaeva

Avdotya Yakovlevna Panaeva (Russian: Авдо́тья Я́ковлевна Пана́ева), née Bryanskaya, (August 12 [O.S. July 31] 1820 – April 11 [O.S. March 30] 1893), was a Russian novelist, short story writer, memoirist and literary salon holder. She published much of her work under the pseudonym V. Stanitsky.[2]

Avdotya Panaeva
1841 portrait by Konstantin Gorbunov[1]
1841 portrait by Konstantin Gorbunov[1]
Born(1820-08-12)August 12, 1820
Saint Petersburg, Russia
DiedApril 11, 1893(1893-04-11) (aged 72)
Saint Petersburg, Russia


Avdotya Bryanskaya was born in Saint Petersburg into an artistic family. Her father, Yakov Bryansky, was a tragic actor of the classical school, while her mother, A. M. Stepanova, sang opera and appeared in dramas. Avdotya studied in the Saint Petersburg State Theatre Arts Academy but never established a career in the theater.[3]

In 1837, she married the writer Ivan Panaev and entered the close circle of his literary friends. In 1846, she became the common-law wife of Nikolay Nekrasov and spent the next 15 years with him.[4] She collaborated with both writers and published many novels and stories of her own. She and Nekrasov published two novels together: Three Parts of the World (1848–49) and The Dead Lake (1851).[2] Her fiction deals with the social problems of the times, and particularly with the emancipation of women, as in her novel A Woman's Lot (1862).[5]

After Panaev and Nekrasov took over the journal Sovremennik, Panaeva frequently contributed fiction and articles. During the last illness of the Sovremennik critic Nikolay Dobrolyubov, Panaeva acted as his nurse and as a mother figure to his younger brothers.[2]

In 1845, Fyodor Dostoyevsky read his first novel Poor Folk to a literary gathering organized by Panaeva and Ivan Panaev. Dostoyevsky became a frequent visitor to the important literary salon run by Panaeva. Dostoyevsky stopped attending the salon after quarreling with Ivan Turgenev, a fellow visitor.[6] Other salon visitors included Leo Tolstoy, Ivan Goncharov, Alexander Herzen, Vissarion Belinsky and Nikolai Chernyshevsky.[2]

Her memoirs, Memories (1889), while not always factually accurate, contain interesting portraits of her contemporaries, and are an important source of information on the Russian literary scene of the 1840s and 1850s.[5]

Panaeva had one daughter, Yevdokia Nagrodskaya (1866–1930), by her second husband Apollon Golovachev. Yevdokia was also a writer.[2]


  1. ^ "Музей-квартира А.Н.Некрасова". museums.artyx.ru. Retrieved 2012-03-01.
  2. ^ a b c d e An Encyclopedia of Continental Women Writers, Volume 1, Taylor & Francis, 1991.
  3. ^ Баландин, А.И. (1990). "Панаева А. Я.: Биобиблиографическая справка". Русские писатели. Биобиблиографический словарь. Том 2. М--Я. Под редакцией П. А. Николаева. М., "Просвещение". Retrieved 2012-03-01.
  4. ^ "А.Я.Панаева". www.biografija.ru. Retrieved 2012-03-01.
  5. ^ a b Handbook of Russian Literature, Victor Terras, Yale University Press 1990.
  6. ^ The Dostoevsky Encyclopedia, K. A. Lantz, Greenwood Press, 2004.

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