Nadezhda Khvoshchinskaya

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Nadezhda Khvoshchinskaya
Born (1824-05-20)May 20, 1824
Ryazan Governorate, Russian Empire
Died June 8, 1889(1889-06-08) (aged 65)
Petergof, Russia
Genre Fiction, poetry, criticism, translations
Subject Social issues, the woman question, literature
Notable works The Boarding School Girl

Nadezhda Dmitryevna Khvoshchinskaya (Russian: Надежда Дмитриевна Хвощинская), May 20, 1824 – June 8, 1889, was a Russian novelist, poet, literary critic and translator. Her married name was Zayonchkovskaya.[1] She published much of her work under the pseudonym V. Krestovsky. She later added "alias" to her pseudonym to avoid being confused with the writer Vsevolod Krestovsky.[2]

Early life[edit]

Nadezhda was born into a gentry family in the province of Ryazan, where her father held a civil service post until being dismissed due to accusations of embezzlement of government funds. The legal proceedings that followed deprived him of a large sum of money, and forced him to sell off his property. It took him ten years to prove his innocence, while the family sank into poverty. Because of poor health and lack of money, Nadezhda received most of her education at home from private tutors, attending a boarding school only for a short time between the ages of eleven and twelve.[3]

Nadezhda was the oldest of four children.[4] Two of her younger sisters, Sofia and Praskovia, also became writers. Praskovia (1832–1916), the youngest sister, was the least significant. Sofia (1828–1865) published novels and stories in several popular journals, including The Reader's Library and Notes of the Fatherland. Nadezhda and Sofia established a close relationship as children; as adults they formed a productive literary partnership, sharing ideas for present and future work.[2]


Nadezhda began writing for intellectual and artistic satisfaction and as a way to relieve the family's impoverished condition. She published her first poems in 1842, when she was eighteen years old. She wrote over one hundred poems in her lifetime, most of which were never published. Her first novel, Anna Mikhailovna (1850) was published in Notes of the Fatherland, under the pen name V. Krestovsky. She was a prolific writer, publishing many novels and stories in Notes of the Fatherland, The Contemporary and other journals.[2][3]

After the death of her father in 1856, Nadezhda provided a majority of the financial support for her mother, her sisters and eventually her late brother's children. She was often stressed and overworked, and suffered from various health problems which were made worse by progressive scoliosis, and by the early death of her sister Sofia, with whom she was especially close. Soon after Sofia's death Nadezhda married a young doctor and former political exile named Zayonchkovsky, who was fourteen years younger than her. The marriage wasn't a happy one due to significant differences in their social views. Her husband died in 1872 from tuberculosis that had been worsened by his time in exile.[2][5]

She went on to write many successful and well regarded novels, including The Boarding School Girl (1861), which has been translated into English, and Ursa Major (1871). The Boarding School Girl was immediately popular, especially with girls and women. She was also known for her critical work, publishing articles on popular writers such as Ivan Goncharov, Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin and Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy, and for her translations of the works of French writers, including several of George Sand's novels.[2][3] Her fictional works often show the influence of democratic writers like Nikolay Chernyshevsky and his circle.[1]

Later life[edit]

She spent most of her life in Ryazan, only visiting her friends in St. Petersburg once or twice a year. Among these friends were writers and poets like Ivan Turgenev and Nikolay Sherbina. After her mother's death in 1884, she moved to St. Petersburg. She died at a summer cottage in Petergof, outside St. Petersburg, in 1889.[2]

English translations[edit]

  • The Boarding School Girl, (novel), Northwestern University Press, 2000.


  1. ^ a b , The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition, The Gale Group, Inc, 1970-1979.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Rosneck, Karen (2000). "Introduction to The Boarding School Girl". Northwestern University Press. pp. ix–xxx. 
  3. ^ a b c , A History of Russian Literature, Victor Terras, Yale University Press, 1991.
  4. ^ Forrester, Sibelan. "Nadezhda Khvoshchinskaia". Retrieved 4 April 2013. 
  5. ^ Women's Glasnost vs. Naglost: Stopping Russian Backlash, Tatyana Mamonova, Chandra Niles Folsom, Greenwood Publishing, 1994.