Sergey Andreyevsky in 1900s
December 29, 1847|
Alexandrovka village, Yekaterinoslav Governorate, Russian Empire
|Died||November 9, 1918
Petrograd, Soviet Russia
|Genre||poetry, literary criticism, prose|
Sergey Arkadievich Andreyevsky (Сергей Аркадьевич Андреевский, December 29, 1847 in Alexandrovka village, Yekaterinoslav Governorate, Russian Empire), – November 9, 1918 in Petrograd, Soviet Russia) was a Russian writer, poet, literary critic and lawyer, best known for his The Book About Death (Kniga o smerti), published posthumously in 1922. As a literary critic Andreevsky is credited with being the first to positively review Fyodor Dostoyevsky. His essay Karamazov Brothers (1888) is regarded as one of the best of its kind. Andreyevsky did a lot to revive interest in early 19th-century Russian poetry, notably Yevgeny Baratynsky whom he for the first time introduced to the general readership.
Sergey Andreyevsky was born in the Alexandrovka village, Yekaterinoslav Governorate, Russian Empire (now Alexandrovsk, Luhansk Oblast, Ukraine), in the noble Russian family. After graduating a gymnasium with gold medal, he enrolled into the Kharkov University's law faculty. While still a student he became friends with future famous lawyer Anatoly Koni, the man who became his mentor and guide for years to come. After the graduation Andreyevsky worked as Koni's personal assistant (in 1869–1870), then with his help moved to Saint Petersburg to start there a career in a court office.
In 1878 Andreyevsky achieved notoriety as one of the two prosecutors who refused to take part in the trial of Vera Zasulich, seeing it as politically motivated and unjust. Zasulich was acquitted and the Russian right-wing press started the smear campaign against Andreyevsky and his colleague Zhukovsky; as a result both have lost their jobs as prosecutors. Andreyevsky started the new career of a defendant barrister and became widely known for his rhetoric skills. His The Defendant Speeches (1891) became the text-book for Russian lawyers of generations to come.
Andreyevsky got interested in poetry in his 30s, starting with translations from French which he published, along with his own verse, in Severny Vestnik. His first book (where among minor verses there were three large poems – "The Dawn of Days", "Darkness" and "The Engaged Ones") came out in 1885, to be re-issued in 1888 and 1891.
In the late 1880s Andreyevsky abandoned poetry and became a literary critic; his fine essays and literary portraits were few and far between but gained much acclaim. His treatise Karamazov Brothers (1888), later was came to be regarded as the first serious study of Dostoyevsky in Russia. Andreyevsky's keen interest in the early 19th-century Russian poetry led to re-emergence from oblivion of several forgotten names, notably Yevgeny Baratynsky.
Andreyevsky's best-known original piece of prose is The Book About Death, published posthumously in Revel (1922). In it, according to D.S.Mirsky, "he revealed himself to be a subtle and elegant stylist, diligent and clever follower of Lermontov, Turgenev and Flaubert". One particular chapter, about his elder sister Masha whom he was passionately in love with and who died of mysterious 'psychic ailment' while still young, Mirsky described as "one of the finest achievement of the Russian prose".
Sergey Andreyevsky died in 1918 in Petrograd, of pneumonia.
- D.A.Svyatopolk-Mirsky (1926). "S.A.Andreevsky (from the book The Russian Lawyer Writers)". Overseas Publications Interchange Ltd. Retrieved March 1, 2012.
- Semyon Vengerov. "Sergey Arkadievich Andreevsky". The Russian Biographical Dictionary. Retrieved March 1, 2012.