SALTYKOV-SHCHEDRIN.

This feels like a dumb question, but I can’t come up with an answer, so: does anybody know why Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin is known as Saltykov-Shchedrin? His real name was Saltykov and he wrote under the pseudonym Shchedrin, but we don’t talk about “Gorenko-Akhmatova” or “Bugaev-Bely.”

Comments

  1. I think this is that rare case, when people adopt the pseudonym to be recognized. Another such adoption is Mamin-Sibiryak, for example.

  2. Are you saying he actually changed his name? He wasn’t referred to that way in his day; for instance, the biography in Брокгауз-Ефрон is headed “Салтыков Михаил Евграфович (Щедрин),” and he is referred to as “С[алтыков]” throughout, Щедрин being mentioned only as his pseudonym.

  3. A similar convention of writing names is sometimes used in Polish. See for example Tadeusz Boy-Żeleński (note that the Wikipedia article is confusing, Żeleński’s pseudonym was just “Boy”).

  4. Languagehat, I can’t answer your question but I can say that Victor Terras and D.S. Mirsky (in their respective books called A History of Russian Literature) both mention the hyphenated name but refer to him as Saltykov.
    I highly recommend his book about the unhappy Golovyov family, if you haven’t already read it.

  5. i hated to read Gospoda golovlevu when was a schoolkid and never attempted to read it again, it was compulsory reading

  6. I also can’t answer your question, but I can give you Lithuanian examples:
    Juozas Tumas-Vaižgantas (as a kid, I thought he just had a hyphenated last name)
    Vincas Krėvė wrote as Vincas Krėvė-Mickevičius (though not as just “Mickevičius”)
    On the other hand, Maironis is always Maironis, never Jonas Mačiulis-Maironis; Žemaitė is never Julija Beniuševičiūtė-Žymantienė-Žemaitė. But these two wrote in the 19th c., but the top two were more 20th c.

  7. Read, I think I probably would have hated reading it in school, too! Mirsky called it “the gloomiest [book] in all Russian literature,” and I certainly wouldn’t argue. It’s a painful book to read — sometimes I felt like I was trapped in the house with all those horrible Golovlevy — but I thought it was a brilliant picture of nasty people.

  8. i hated to read Prestuplenie and nakazanie too, but liked Notes from underground or Mertvue dushi to recall the same feeling they revoke
    Dikkens’s Nickolas Nickelby, but i forgot what was it about already or whether i read it until the end even
    recently i watched Synecdoche NewYork and got a bit like the same feeling, depressing, so i didn’t watch it until the end, a bit curious whether there was some kind of catharsis at the end of the movie
    reading SB never depresses me though

  9. Dickens, i mean, maybe it was Little Dorrit, i forgot

  10. Bill Walderman says:

    “Notes from underground or Mertvue dushi to recall the same feeling they revoke
    Dikkens’s Nickolas Nickelby,”
    Dickens had a strong but, as far as I can tell, little noticed influence on Dostoyevsky.

  11. Bill Walderman says:

    Maybe I’m wrong. Here’s an article on the Dickens-Dostoevsky relationship:
    http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/dickens/gredina.html

  12. You often run across “Набоков-Сирин” (or even “Набоков-Сиринъ”) in Russian articles dating from the 1920s-1940s. Or even later, and in English, there’s an academic work called “Vladimir Nabokov-Sirin as teacher: the Russian novels” by Stephen Parker from 1969. Could the answer simply be that both Saltykov and Nabokov were widely known to the public under their real names, but Gorenko and Bugaev always wrote under their pen names?

  13. thanks for the link, BW
    Netochka Nezvanova, for example too, i couldn’t finish to read, well these readings were when i was 12-13-14 yo perhaps, never tried to read them again, maybe there are more depressing books out there
    i can’t recall another soviet writer’s name, very depressing, not Babel, but he was repressed too

  14. John Emerson says:

    One critic claimed that the Golovlevy book was the only novel in history without a single admirable or likable character. Satires usually have an innocent or some other foil wandering through the book to set off the others.

  15. Baθrobe says:

    I move that the sequel to the Monkey’s Armpit should be authored by Stephen Dodson-Languagehat.

  16. A similar convention of writing names is sometimes used in Polish.
    Especially usual with former partisans of WWII: Tadeusz Bór-Komorowski, Stefan Grot-Rowecki, where Bór and Grot are their partisan noms de guerre.
    It also happens that a Pole of noble birth uses the name of his coat of arms as a prefix to his surname. The Russian surname Bonch-Bruyevich was actually the Polish Bończa-Brujewicz, where the first part was the coat of arms name.

  17. mollymooly says:

    Reminds me of “Stephen King writing as Richard Bachman” or “Agatha Christie writing as Mary Westmacot”

  18. callasfan says:

    I am going to speculate here, but it seems to me that in using double name 2 reasons were important:
    1. Before becoming a freelancer Saltykov made it in administrative system (something like vice-governor), so his name was known in high society and intelligentsia circles.
    2. Saltykov was pretty popular Russian surname like Tolstoy. Gossiping people would ask each other: “Which Saltykov are you talking about? Son of such-and such? Oooo, Shchedrin…”
    One of Tolstoys was known as Amerikanets, based on facts of his biography. His name was hyphenated: Tolstoj-Amerikanets.
    Gorenko’s father asked her not to use a family name publishing poems. I cannot say if it is a legend or a fact, but in both cases it counts. Besides Gorenko in Russian sounds very dull compared to romantically sounding Ahmatova.
    Anatolij Nayman tells in his book that Ahmatova once criticyzed poet Robert Rozhdestvenskiy’s name, saying that as a poet he had to hear that his first name and surname were on different planes and take a pseudonym.
    Nabokov was never referred to as Nabokov-Sirin in real life. I read somewhere that he considered everything wrote under that penname as immature and tried to distance himself from Sirin.

  19. Ahmatova once criticized Robert Rozhdestvenskiy’s name, saying that as a poet he had to hear that his first name and surname were on different planes and take a pseudonym.
    What a monstre sacré Akhmatova was!
    I read somewhere that he considered everything wrote under that penname as immature and tried to distance himself from Sirin.
    Highly improbable, since he used it for all his Russian novels, and he certainly never distanced himself from them.

  20. callasfan says:

    +++Highly improbable+++
    Well, I stand corrected, then. There are a lot of legends around Nabokov.

  21. Panu: a Pole of noble birth uses the name of his coat of arms as a prefix to his surname.
    What sorts of name does a coat of arms have? Descriptions of the graphic elements?

  22. Nabokov was never referred to as Nabokov-Sirin in real life
    What do you mean “real life”? Certainly in emigre literary circles he was called that, in written articles at least, for some period of time. I highly doubt Saltykov was ever announced at parties or directly adressed as “Saltykov-Shchedrin” either.

  23. Platonov i recalled i was confusing his name with his Chelengur and trying to recall a name on Ch

  24. I highly doubt Saltykov was ever announced at parties or directly adressed as “Saltykov-Shchedrin” either.
    Exactly, which is why it seems so odd to me that he’s universally known that way today. When did it start?

  25. J.W. Brewer says:

    So the Russian convention is REALNAME-PENNAME while the Polish convention is PENNAME-REALNAME? A loosely analogous American example might be the middlebrow American musician who has over the years released recordings under the names Johnny Cougar, John Cougar, John Cougar Mellencamp, and John Mellencamp. This obviously creates some difficulties for scholarly reference works and those who like to organize their record collections alphabetically.

  26. He’ll always be John Cougar Mellencamp to me, especially if he should become the president of the University of Chicago.

  27. John Emerson says:

    JCM would be President of the University of Indiana, if anything.

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