Janko Lavrin

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Janko Lavrin (1887 – 13 August 1986) was a Slovenian novelist, poet, critic, translator and historian. He was Professor of Slavonic Studies at the University of Nottingham. An enthusiast for psycho-analysis, he wrote what he called 'psycho-critical studies' of Ibsen, Nietzsche and Tolstoy.[1]


Lavrin was born in Krupa, White Carniola, Slovenia.[2] He was educated in Austria, Russia and Scandinavia,[1] moving to St Petersburg in 1908 to study Russian language and literature.[2] He was a journalist in St Petersburg before World War I.[3] In 1915-16 he served as war correspondent for Novoye Vremya covering the Serbian army's retreat through Albania.[2]

Returning to Russia in 1917, Lavrin decided to stay to England. He found work as a journalist, becoming part of the circle around A. R. Orage. In 1919 Bernard Pares helped Lavrin to get a teaching job at the University of Nottingham,[3] and he became Professor of Slavonic Studies there in 1923.[1]

Lavrin was a friend of the Russian critic D. S. Mirsky in London in the 1920s.[3] In 1928 he married the artist and book illustrator Nora Fry.[2] In 1934-5 he edited The European Quarterly with Edwin Muir.[1] During World War II he joined the BBC, broadcasting to occupied Europe. He rejoined Nottingham University part-time in 1944.[2]

After retirement from the University in 1952, Lavrin continued to write and translate.[2]


  • "Dostoevsky and His Creation: a psycho-critical study", London, 1920
  • Tolstoy: a psycho-critical study, London, 1922
  • Studies in European literature, London, 1929
  • Aspects of modernism: from Wilde to Pirandello, London, 1935
  • An introduction to the Russian novel, New York and London, 1943
  • Dostoevsky: a study, New York, 1943
  • Pushkin and Russian literature, London, 1947
  • Tolstoy: an approach, London, 1948
  • From Pushkin to Mayakovsky: a study in the evolution of literature, London, 1948
  • Ibsen: an approach, London, 1950
  • Nikolai Gogol, 1809-1852: a centenary survey, London, 1951
  • Goncharov, New Haven, 1953
  • Russian writers: their lives and literature, 1954
  • Lermentov, London, 1959
  • Nietzsche: a biographical introduction, 1971
  • A panorama of Russian literature, London, 1973


  1. ^ a b c d Luisa Passerini (1999). Europe in love, love in Europe: imagination and politics in Britain between the Wars. I.B.Tauris. pp. 231–2. ISBN 978-1-86064-281-4. Retrieved 27 May 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Catalogue record for MS 806 at the University of Nottingham.
  3. ^ a b c Gerald S. Smith (2000). D.S. Mirsky: A Russian-English Life, 1890-1939. Oxford University Press. p. 90. ISBN 978-0-19-816006-9. Retrieved 27 May 2013. 

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