"The women question" in the life and works of Aleksei Sergeevich Suvorin
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This thesis traces the influence of ‘the woman question’ on the life and writings of Aleksei Sergeevich Suvorin (1834–1912), an eminent journalist, publisher and editor of the newspaper Novoe vremia. My research is based on Suvorin’s previously unexamined contribution to public debate on this question and also includes an overview of his fictional work. The thesis represents a case study and brings to light material critical to Suvorin’s biography. This is important because Suvorin’s personal case exemplifies the difficulties which up-and-coming men of the intelligentsia encountered in responding to the rapid and drastic social changes to which they were exposed, and in particular to the redistribution of influence and authority between men and women. Based on documentary sources and in particular on new archival material the thesis analyses the extent to which Suvorin’s life was affected by his relationship with strong and domineering women and examines the impact of these biographical factors on his writings. This case study provides an important insight into the development of the Russian liberal idea commonly referred to as the ‘emancipation of women’. The thesis is organized into an Introduction followed by three chapters, a Conclusion, a Bibliography, and an Appendix. Developing my argument, I apply a chronological principle, dividing Suvorin’s life and works into three periods presented in chapters 1–3; these periods can be matched up in approximate terms with the three stages of the women’s movement in Russia. The first period starts in 1858 and ends in 1873, the turning point in Suvorin’s life and career; within this period the women’s movement in Russia had worked out its ideology and some tactical moves. The second period (1874–1890) covers Suvorin’s career successes and his concomitant midlife crisis; during this time, the women’s movement was also experiencing a crisis of its own. The third period (1891–1912) marks Suvorin’s personal decline against the rapid politicization of the Russian women’s movement. In the Conclusion section I develop an overview of the contribution which Suvorin made to the emergence of ‘public opinion’ in late Imperial Russia and I end by attempting a definition of his ideological position within the context of Russian liberal thought. The material analysed in the thesis makes it possible to place Suvorin amongst the so-called conservative liberals, at least as regards his views on the emancipation of women. The Appendix includes translations of the Russian quotes used in the main text of the thesis.
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