n Slavic Almanac : The South African Journal for Slavic, Central and Eastern European Studies - The unknown Boris Stepanovitch Zhitkov

Volume 20, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1025-3386


The article comments on an interesting archival find consisting of two fragments of a manuscript by the well-known Russian writer, Boris Zhitkov (1882-1938). The manuscript consists of versions of two short stories, one being a rough outline of the story 'Hurricane' ('ҮрагаН' 1924), the other an unknown story by Zhitkov. The find is valuable and interesting not only because very few manuscripts can be attributed to Zhitkov, but also because the two fragments were located among archival materials assigned to the graphologist K. K. Vladimirov (1883-1928), whose collection is housed in the Manuscript Division of the Russian National Library in St. Petersburg. Relying on comparative analysis, the researchers explain how they determined the authorship of the two fragments, before summarising their method and process of dating them. Furthermore, they put forward the thesis that the fragments are rough copies of stories offered to Vladimirov by Zhitkov himself, for the purpose of graphological analysis - for, as reported by his contemporaries, Vladimirov was known to study handwriting to predict the future of many famous literary figures, including Sergei Esenin.

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