Aspiration for Independence

Anna Dostoevskaia’s Publishing Commerce

In: Canadian-American Slavic Studies
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  • 1 Petrozavodsk State University

This article analyzes Anna Dostoevskaia’s (1846–1918) publication work on the basis of new evidence drawn from hitherto unpublished archival materials. Dostoevskaia’s contribution to the world of publishing has never before been the subject of a special investigation; the documents testifying to her massive work, such as her memoir, correspondence and notebooks, all kept in archives, have never been published. Anna Dostoevskaia was not only the wife of the great Russian author Feodor Dostoevsky, but also one of the first female publishers and book-sellers in Russia. In the second half of the nineteenth century, when women were struggling for economic independence and equal rights to take up “men’s jobs,” Dostoevskaia managed to start out and successfully handle a publishing business. The article expands on Dostoevskaia’s educational and professional development, the history of her publishing and book-selling business, and the difficulties she encountered in the process. Her most outstanding achievement was Dostoevsky’s Complete Works which underwent seven editions (1882–1906). Anna Dostoevskaia had an immense contribution to the publishing business of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and played an important role in the enhancement of the cultural life and feminist movement in Russia.

  • 1

    G.M. Ul’ianova, “Zhenshchiny – vladelitsy promyshlennykh predpriiatii Moskvy v 19 veke,” Ekonomicheskaia istoriia (Moscow: ROSSPEN, 2008), pp. 32–58.

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  • 6

    A.G. Dostoevskaia, Dnevnik 1867 goda (Moscow: Nauka, 1993), p. 301.

  • 8

    A.G. Dostoevskaia, Vospominaniia (St. Petersburg: Azbuka, 2011), p. 109.

  • 9

    Ibid., p. 316.

  • 10

    Ibid., pp. 258, 265.

  • 11

    Ibid., p. 263.

  • 12

    F.G. Shilov, Zapiski starogo knizhnika (Moscow: Iskusstvo, 1959), p. 110.

  • 20

    A.S. Suvorin, Dnevnik (Moscow and Petrograd: L.D. Frenkel, 1923), p. 212.

  • 25

    In 1909, Dostoevskaia gave this notebook to her grandchildren Feodor and Andrei as a present. Today it is held in the Russian State Archive of Literature and Art (212.1.17).

  • 26

    V.N. Zakharov, “ ‘Besy’ – dva romana, kak izdavat’,” in Imia avtora Dostoevskii (Moscow: Indrik, 2013), pp. 317–352.

  • 28

    L.N. Tolstoi, Sochineniia grafa L.N. Tolstogo v 12 chastiakh (Moscow: Tipografiia A I. Mamontova i Ko., 1886).

  • 35

    K.S. Stanislavskii, Moia zhizn’ v iskusstve (Moscow: Iskusstvo, 1972), p. 50.

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