Vasily Sleptsov

Vasily Sleptsov
Vasily Sleptsov.jpg
Born (1836-07-31)July 31, 1836
Voronezh, Russia
Died April 4, 1878(1878-04-04) (aged 41)
Serdobsk, Russia

Vasily Alekseyevich Sleptsov (Russian: Васи́лий Алексе́евич Слепцо́в), (July 31, 1836 – April 4, 1878), was a Russian writer, playwright and social reformer.


Sleptsov was born in Voronezh into a noble family. His father Alexey Vasilyevich was a military man, mother Josefina Adamovna, née Welbutovich-Paplonska, belonged to the Polish szlachta. He studied at the First Moscow Gymnasium and later, when the family moved to their county estate in Saratov Governorate, at the Penza Institute for Nobility.[1] Sleptsov attended the medical school at Moscow University in 1855-56. He then went to Yaroslavl to try being an actor. He soon returned to Moscow, where he was in government service from 1857 to 1861-62.[1]

In the early 1860s Sleptsov organized a women's commune in Saint Petersburg, and set up a society for female translators. He wrote fiction for several magazines including Annals of the Fatherland, Russian Speech, and The Contemporary, where he published his novella Hard Times in 1865. Sleptsov's works were praised by Leo Tolstoy; especially his story The Ward (1863).[2][3]

In 1866 he was arrested for political activities, and for his association with Dmitry Karakozov, a man who had attempted to assassinate Tsar Alexander II. Upon his release, he helped to found the magazine The Women's Herald. His works were widely read in the 1860s, but his popularity began to decline in the 1870s. The novel A Good Man was left unfinished at his death in 1878.[2][3]

English translations

  • Choir Practice, (story), from The Humor of Russia, Ethel Voynich/Sergey Stepnyak-Kravchinsky, Walter Scott Publishing, 1909. from
  • The Ward, (story), from In the Depths, Raduga Publishers, Moscow, 1987.
  • Hard times: A novel of liberals and radicals in 1860s Russia / transl. by M. R. Katz ; with an introduction by W. C. Brumfield. Pittsburgh : University of Pittsburgh Press. xxii, 193 p.


  1. ^ a b Nosock, A. СЛЕПЦОВ, Василий Алексеевич at the Russian Writers Dictionary // А. А. Носок. "Русские писатели". иобиблиографический словарь. Том 2. М-Я. Под редакцией П. А. Николаева. М., Просвещение, 1990
  2. ^ a b Handbook of Russian Literature, Victor Terras, Yale University Press 1990.
  3. ^ a b Introduction to The Ward from In the Depths, Raduga Publishers, 1987.


  • Brumfield, William С. (2014), "Sleptsov Redivivus", Znanie. Ponimanie. Umenie, 11 (2), archived (PDF) from the original on 24 September 2014, retrieved 24 September 2014.
  • Brumfield, William С. (2015), "Bazarov and Riazanov: The Romantic Archetype in Russian Literature", Informatsionnyi gumanitarnyi portal “Znanie. Ponimanie. Umenie” (3), archived from the original on 8 October 2015, retrieved 8 October 2015 .
  • Brumfield, William С. (2015), "Two Hamlets: Questioning Romanticism in Turgenev's Bazarov and Sleptsov's Riazanov", Journal of Siberian Federal University. Humanities & Social Sciences, 8 (9): 1792–1802, doi:10.17516/1997-1370-2015-8-9-1792-1802, archived (PDF) from the original on 21 June 2017, retrieved 21 June 2016 .