The Life and Death of the Red Prince




biography, biographical reconstruction, D. P. Svyatopolk-Mirsky, Russian émigré literature, Soviet literature


This article reviews Svyatopolk-Mirsky, a book by M. V. Efimov and G. Smith published by Molodaya gvardiya in the Lives of Remarkable People series (2021). It was written by the oldest English specialist in Russian literature Professor G. S. Smith and a well-known Russian researcher of the literature and culture of Russia abroad M. V. Efimov. Both have studied the life and literary legacy of the character of their book for many years. For the first time in Russia, using the Russian and European tradition of biographical studies and historical-literary, cultural, and textual practices, the authors have carried out a full-scale reconstruction of the biography of one of the most striking and enigmatic figures of the first wave of the Russian emigration. The authors of the book introduce a significant scope of archival materials and memories of contemporaries, hard-to-access English and émigré periodicals, and other sources into scholarly circulation. It makes it possible to create a detailed account of the main events of prince D. P. Svyatopolk-Mirsky’s life – from his childhood to his tragic death in the Magadan camp, dramatic twists of fate and the reasons behind them, his close circle and distant environment, the political, historical, cultural, and literary context of the events described. The biographers’ interest in the inner world and the psychology of Svyatopolk-Mirsky’s actions is combined with a subtle philological analysis of his literary criticism and studies. According to the reviewers, the book is a major event in the Russian literary, political, and cultural history of the 1920s–1930s.

Author Biographies

Oleg Osovsky

Dr. Hab. (Philology), Professor, Mordovia State Pedagogical University.

11a, Studencheskaya Str., 430007, Saransk, Republic of Mordovia, Russia.

ORCID 0000-0002-9869-3233

Vera Kirzhaeva

Dr. Hab. (Pedagogical Sciences), Professor, National Research Ogarev Mordovia State University.

68, Bolshevistskaya Str., 430005, Saransk, Republic of Mordovia, Russia.

ORCID 0000-0003-3337-7579


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How to Cite

Osovsky, O., & Kirzhaeva, V. (2023). The Life and Death of the Red Prince. Quaestio Rossica, 11(1), 357–367.



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