I didn’t post yesterday because I was too wrapped up in creating a much expanded Wikipedia entry for Fyodor Sologub, a fine writer who is often ignored in literary histories, since he fell between stools: his major work was published after 1900, so he’s not in histories of classic Russian literature; he was opposed to the Bolsheviks, so he was ignored by Soviet literary history (and by Western scholars who, shamefully, largely accepted Soviet valuations, though adding “dissident” writers); and he stayed in Russia, thus not benefiting from the recent upsurge in attention paid to the exiles. And for some reason he’s ignored even in cultural histories like Natasha’s Dance: A Cultural History of Russia by Orlando Figes and St. Petersburg: A Cultural History by Solomon Volkov (which mentions him only twice, in lists of Symbolist writers, despite the fact that he spent his entire adult life in St. Petersburg and knew almost everybody). I discovered months ago, when I read The Petty Demon, that the Wikipedia entry was insultingly short and badly written, but I knew it would take a long time to do a proper job, so I put it off until I had no books to edit and could devote myself to it without guilt. So yesterday I plunged in; fortunately, there was a long and well done Russian entry (though it was full of bad or pointless links, which took me some time to fix or remove), and I found a very useful timeline, but it still took me hours and hours. And then the side issue of his pseudonym (he was born Teternikov, which his pal Minsky thought sounded unpoetic) involved me in more labor; as I write in the Sologub entry, “the aristocratic name Sollogub was decided on, but one of the ls was removed in an attempt (unavailing, as it turned out) to avoid confusion with Count Vladimir Sollogub,” and there was no entry at all for the dilettantish but reasonably important count, so I had to create one from scratch. It’s nice to feel I’m contributing to the sum of human (or English-speaking, at any rate) knowledge in this way.

To provide a linguistic hook for this post: the name Sollogub is not in Unbegaun’s magisterial Russian Surnames (of which I own a Russian translation); Sologub is there, but only in a list of pseudonyms, where it is called “Ukrainian” without further explanation (with the casual remark that it is “also the name of the writer V. A. Sologub” [sic]!). V. A. apparently got it from his Polish grandfather, but unfortunately, although Google Books lets me know it’s in Onomastica: pismo poświęcone nazewnictwu geograficznemu i osobowemu (Zakład Narodowy im. Ossolińskich, 1988), it won’t show me any pages or even snippets. So: anybody know anything about this Polish and/or Ukrainian family name?


  1. Dunno, but I want to spell it backward and see what that turns up.

  2. Are you by any chance from Llareggub?

  3. I recommend the Словарь русских фамилий [Dictionary of Russian Surnames] on (The whole site, incidentally is absolutely прелестно).
    The entry on Sologub has:
    Так писали свою фамилию дворяне, подлинным предком которых был некий Салогуб, по-украински ‘торгаш’. (Ф)
    Cross-references to entries for “sologub” in ten other dictionaries– biographical, encyclopedic, or otherwise– are also included.

  4. Oh, and now you get to explain salo. =)

  5. Wow, what a great site—thanks!

  6. A.J.P. Crown says

    Language, that’s a hideous photo from 1913. It’s been tinted. He’s got moss growing on his right sleeve and a sickly pistachio-colored necktie that isn’t very believable unless he also sold ice-cream for a living. I could easily fix it up and back into b&w using Photoshop if you want me to, but that may be against the law of Wiki, I don’t know what’s allowed.

  7. I don’t know, I like the picture.

  8. The photo was there, I didn’t add it. As far as I know, you can touch up a photo that’s already approved for Wikipedia use, but I’m no expert; you’ll have to read the page on Wikipedia images. I myself have never uploaded one.

  9. A.J.P. Crown says

    Never mind. It’ll take all day to figure out if it’s acceptable to the wiki crowd and then how to do it. It’s a lovely day, I’d rather be outside with my dog. What a bunch of bureaucrats.

  10. One of the teachers at my school (in England) was a Count Sollohub, if that’s any connection. Co-incidentally he was an acquaintance of my uncle’s. Apparently his mother fled Russia with him during the Revolution, then went back to look for his father, but never found him.

  11. That is certainly the same name, since g is pronounced /h/ in Ukrainian. Very interesting!

  12. The compiler of this site ( has found a Sologub and a Salogub in the 16th century. He gives the patronymic Sologubovich, indicating that Sologub was a forename.

  13. Another interesting find!

  14. FWIW, a TA of mine here in Paris is called Sollogoub… It never occurred to me that this name might come from exiled Ukrainian/Russian aristocracy though.

  15. There are quite a few ghits for “Sollohub”, including a mention of a book “Soviet Russian Dialectical Materialism” which was translated by Nicholas Sollohub, who might well be my old teacher as his christian name was Nicholas. There is also mention of Katie Sollohub, an artist, who is very likely his daughter.

  16. Count Vladimir Alexandrovich Sollogub is my first cousin four times removed. (FC=4xR). I have his book which he has written.

    I can be seen on Google UK Just type Princess Maria Sviatopolk-Mirski into the Google UK Box and press ENTER. You will see many entries and if you click on IMAGES you’ll see lots of photos about me in the media.

    Princess Maria Sviatopolk-Mirski
    Stratford-East London

  17. Welcome, Your Highness!

  18. Of Hattish interest, our Stratford princess has the same Mirsky as the author of the History of Russian Literature.

  19. I find it odd that the WiPe list of his short stories doesn’t include “In Bondage,” one of his best-known stories and one that explains a lot about his mental makeup.

  20. Well, add it yourself; that’s how Wikipedia works.

  21. Trond Engen says

    Princess Maria Sviatopolk-Mirski
    Stratford-East London

    Des, it’s for you!

  22. Des von Bladet, Burlap of Marginalia, Bearer of Imperial Grudges says

    Princess Maria spoke exclusively — and who wouldn’t — to Wales on Sunday.

    We are indeed honoured that she also speaks to us humble hatters!

  23. The only way to speak exclusively to Wales is surely to speak in Welsh, and even then there is the occasional linguist or other outlander.

  24. I had same conversation with my father twenty years ago.

    Sparked my interest in genealogy for sure.

  25. John Cowan is being ridiculous!

  26. Well, being ridiculous is one of our little pleasures here at the Hattery.

  27. As for Sol(l)ogub, if indeed the original version was indeen Salogub ~ -hub, my guess is that the first element is salo < *sadlo ‘belly fat, lard’, and that the etymological meaning of the surname is something like ‘fat-mouth’.

  28. Here is one Polish Sołogub (born in what is now Belarus).

  29. Surely “fat-lips.” Family motto: У нас губа не дура.

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