Vissarion Belinsky (1811–1848)

Vissarion Belinsky (1811–1848)

The collection, dedicated to the remarkable Russian literary critic, publicist, philosopher and public figure, who greatly influenced the formation of the worldview of several generations of the Russian intelligentsia, Vissarion Belinsky (1811-1848), features digital copies of books, periodicals, archival documents and visual materials, revealing the history of his life and career.

The collection consists of three thematic sections. The first section “Oeuvre” features the works of the great critic: the collected works, including the systematic index of the first edition (1859-1861), selected works and correspondence.

The second section “About Vissarion Belinsky” features materials about the critic’s life and career: books, brochures, archival documents, magazine publications. In particular, the displayed archival document “Case of the dismissal of the rector of the University and censor of the Moscow Censorship Committee Professor A. V. Boldyrev for skipping P. Y. Chaadayev’s article “Philosophical Letters” in the “Telescope” magazine…” (RGIA. F. 733. Inv. 30. C. 248) illustrates the reasons why the magazine, where V. G. Belinsky began his literary career, was closed down. After losing the job, he became an editor of the “Moskovsky Nablyudatel” journal, and then in 1839, moved to St. Petersburg and led a several directions in A. A. Krayevsky’s journal “Otechestvennye Zapiski”. V. G. Belinsky’s editorial work provided for the establishment of the critical genre as an integral part of journalism.

The second section showcases in detail the iconography of V. G. Belinsky, predominately from the Soviet times, including famous images by B. I. Lebedev: “Belinsky in the Circle of Stankevich”, “V. G. Belinsky and F. M. Dostoevsky”, “V. G. Belinsky in the circle of writers”, and others. Other images include the portrait of the young critic, created during a solemn evening of remembrance in 1898 by painter-wanderer K. A. Savitsky, currently being a part of the Penza Literary Museum’s collections.

The section “Memory of Vissarion Belinsky” features materials associated with the perpetuation of his memory. It features critic’s personal belongings from the collections of the Belinsky State Museum-Estate, images of memorable places associated with him, photographs of V. G. Belinsky’s grandchildren in Penza in anniversary 1991, and other materials.

The collection is based on the materials provided by the cultural institutions of Penza Region (the critic spent his childhood and youth in Chembara (since 1948, Belinsky) and Penza): winner of the Presidential Library’s contest “Faces of Russian Regions” of 2020-2021 –Lermontov Penza Regional Library, Association of State Literary and Memorial Museums of Penza Region, Savitsky Penza Art Gallery,  Penza State Local History Museum, State Archive of Penza Region, as well as Gorky Research Library of the St. Petersburg State University, Ural Federal University Library, Children’s Postcard Museum, and other institutions.