Keywords: literacy, education, enlightenment, upbringing, A. A. Fet, I. S. Turgenev, V. I. Dal, “Khor and Kalinych”, village essays, letters.
For citation:

Generalova, N. P. “Did Khor Need Literacy? (I. S. Turgenev and A. A. Fet: Two Views on Primary Education).” Dva veka russkoi klassiki, vol. 3, no. 3, 2021, pp. 6–21. (In Russ.) 

Author: Natalya P. Generalova
Information about the author:

Natalya P. Generalova, DSc in Philology, Leading Research Fellow, Head of the Group for the publication of works by I. S. Turgenev and A. A. Fet, Institute of Russian Literature (Pushkin House) of the Russian Academy of Sciences, nab. Makarova St. 4, 199034 St. Petersburg, Russia.

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Received: April 08, 2021
Approved after reviewing: June 16, 2021
Published: September 30, 2021
Issue: 2021 Volume 3 No. 3
Department: Russian Literature of the 18th–19th Centuries
Pages: 6-21
UDK: 821.161.1.0

Abstract: The article discusses two points of view on the primary education, literacy — I. S. Turgenev’s and A. A. Fet’s. The author describes the landmark clash between Turgenev and Fet, and also shows the mood and plans of both writers in the early 1860s. In August 1860, in anticipation of the abolition of serfdom, while in England, on the Isle of Wight, Turgenev conceived and drew up a “Draft Program for the Society for the Promotion of Literacy and Primary Education”. And Fet, forced to leave literature as a result of “persecution” of “pure art”, acquired 200 acres of black soil in the Mtsensk district. On the eve of the abolition of serfdom, the poet, who did not have his own estate and serfs, found himself in the position of a farmer, who had to endure fully on his own experience the endless troubles associated with the introduction of reforms in all spheres of economic and political life. His journalism touched upon a variety of issues, one of which was literacy. Fet’s opinion on this issue looks paradoxical. However, he was not alone, urging not to equate literacy, education and upbringing, giving preference to the moral upbringing of the people in solving the problem. A similar position was taken by V. I. Dal, whose letter to the publisher of the journal “Russkaya Beseda” A. I. Koshelev is analyzed in the article.


Generalova, N. P. “A. A. Fet o knige i kruge chteniia (Pis’mo k M. M. Lederle ot 25 iiunia 1891 goda)” [“A. A. Fet on Book and Readership (Letter to M. M. Lederle, June 25, 1891)”]. Russkaia literature, no 4, 2020, pp. 55–64. DOI: 10.31860/0131-6095-2020- 4-55-64 (In Russ.)

Generalova, N. P., editor. Letopis’ zhizni i tvorchestva I. S. Turgeneva (1859–1862) [Chronicle of I. S. Turgenev’s Life and Works (1859–1862)]. St. Petersburg, Rostok Publ., 2018. 680 p. (In Russ.)

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