Alexandr Aksakov

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Alexandr Nikolayevich Aksakov (Алекса́ндр Никола́евич Акса́ков; Repievka, Penza region, 27 May 1832 – 4 January 1903, Saint Petersburg) was a Russian author, translator, journalist, editor, and psychic researcher.

He was the son of religious philosopher Nikolai T. Aksakov and the nephew of writer Sergey Aksakov. His wife's name was Sophie.[1]

While living in Germany with his wife and publishing his writings there, he began to spell his name as Alexander Aksakof to accommodate the German spelling style, and this is the name by which he is most known outside of Russia.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7]

Biography[edit]

In 1851, having graduated from the Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum, Aksakov joined the Russian Imperial Ministry of Internal Affairs. In 1852 as a member of the notorious Melnikov-Pecherskiy’s expedition he traveled to the Nizhny Novgorod region to investigate the case of the local raskol movement. In the year of 1858 Nizhny Novgorod’s governor A. N. Muravioff (one of the original Decembrists)[clarification needed], Aksakov joined the government’s Office for the State Properties and began working as an official adviser for its Economic division. Later he became the member of His Imperial Majesty's Own Chancellery (from 1868 to 1878) and retired as the state councillor (which gave him the right to be addressed as ‘your Excellency’).

A signed portrait of Alexandr Aksakov from 1906.
Aksakov (right) monitors for fraud while medium Eusapia Palladino "levitates" a table, Milan, 1892.

As a student Aksakov was greatly impressed by the works of Emmanuel Swedenborg, and this led to an all-consuming interest in mediumship, specifically in its physical manifestations. In 1863 he translated Swedenborg’s «Heaven and Hell» (De Caelo et Ejus Mirabilibus et de inferno. Ex Auditis et Visis) from Latin into Russian, under the title “About Heaven, Universe and Hell as it’s been seen and heard by E. Swedenborg”. In Leipzig he published his own books "Gospel According to Swedenborg" (1864), "Swedenborg’s Rationalism: The Critical Analysis of his Study of the Holy Bible" (1870) and "The Book of Genesis according to Swedenborg" (1870), which were praised by F. M. Dostoyevsky and N. S. Leskov.

In the late 1860s Aksakov became famous as one of the organizers (along with professor A. M. Butleroff and zoologist and writer N. P. Wagner) of the first séances in Russia. He continued to translate major spiritualist works, including those of Andrew Jackson Davis (both into Russian and German). In 1874 he started editing the spiritualist monthly «Psychische Studien» based in Leipzig. One of his own best known works on the subject, "Animism and Spiritism", «Анимизм и спиритизм», was published in 1893.

In Europe, Aksakov became known for his study of the mediumship of the British medium Mme. d'Esperance, whom he later praised as an honest, sincere and mysteriously gifted person.[8] This side of his work has been well documented in A. Conan Doyle’s The History of Spiritualism.[9] Aksakov also investigated psychic medium Eusapia Palladino.

Alexandr Aksakov wrote on the great variety of subjects, the most controversial of which was the nature and history of Russian drinking habits. His articles and essays appearing regularly in “The Day” (Dehn, «День») magazine edited by Ivan Aksakov.

Books[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Spirits before our eyes.  by William Henry Harrison, 1879.
  2. ^ History of Spiritualism, Volume 2, by Arthur Conan Doyle. Retrieved September 30, 2011. 1927, republished 2007.
  3. ^ Myers, Frederic William Henry (December 1890). Proceedings. London, England: Journal of the Society for Psychical Research. "For the alleged movements without contact... M. Aksakof's new word 'telekinetic' seems to me the best attainable."  Note: this quote as a cited reference can also be seen on page 722 in the multivolume "The Oxford English Dictionary, Second Edition", 1989, Clarendon Press, Oxford, England, ISBN 978-0-19-861229-2." The "M. Aksakof" is actually "A. Aksakof," as indicated further in the 1896 quarterly journal Borderland showing his signature (see next ref).
  4. ^ Borderland: a quarterly review and index, Volume 3. Retrieved September 30, 2011.  edited by William Thomas Stead, 1896, with image of Aksakof's signature, published during his lifetime.
  5. ^ Psychography: marvelous manifestations of psychic power.  by James J. Owen, 1893
  6. ^ "Online Etymology Dictionary". Archived from the original on 2011-08-27. Retrieved September 30, 2011. "Telekinesis. 1890, said to have been coined by Alexander N. Aksakof (1832-1903) Imperial Councilor to the Czar... Translates Ger. 'Fernwirkung.'" 
  7. ^ "Parapsychology Foundation "Basic terms in Parapsychology"". Archived from the original on 2011-08-27. Retrieved September 30, 2011. 
  8. ^ Alexander Aksakof. "A Case of Partial Dematerialization." Boston: 1898.
  9. ^ A. Conan Doyle’s The History of Spiritualism (Vol 2, chapter 2) (text file version)