Georgiĭ Adamovich, 1894-1972.

Birth 1894
Death 1972

Biographical notes:

Georgiĭ Adamovich (1894-1972), Russian writer, poet, and lecturer.

From the description of Georgiĭ Adamovich papers 1926-1960. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702134076

Georgii Viktorovich Adamovich was born on April 19, 1894, in Moscow, the fourth child of Viktor Viktorovich, a physician and general, and of Elisabeth Semenovna. When his father died in 1903, the family moved to St. Petersburg, where he attended "gimnaziia" (the secondary school) and became interested in literature. In 1912 he enrolled in the Faculty of History and Philosophy at St. Petersburg University. Not drafted, he was able to graduate in five years. In 1915 he wrote his first short story, Vesëlye koni (The Merry Horses), which appeared in Golos zhizni (The Voice of Life). The next year he published his first book of poetry, Oblaka (The Clouds). The same year he joined the TSekh poetov (The First Guild of Poets), which was established in 1911 but lasted only for five years. There he met Georgii Ivanov. After the Revolution, they founded the Second Guild of Poets, which survived for two years. In 1919 Adamovich left Petrograd for Novorzhev, to assume a teaching position. After two years he was back in Petrograd, where he published another book of poetry, Chistilishche (Purgatory), and took part in literary gatherings attended by such writers as I. Odoevtseva and A. Remizov.

His mother and sister had already left Russia for Riga. With Latvian passports, they arrived in Nice. Georgii visited them in 1923 and remained in France for the rest of his life. He soon settled in Paris, where he continued his literary career by writing poetry, critical essays, newspaper columns, journal articles, and book reviews, and contributing to various publications, such as Zveno (The Link), Novyi korabl' (The New Ship), Novyi dom (The New House), Illiustrirovannaia Rossiia (Russia Illustrated), Chisla (The Numbers), and Poslednie novosti (The Last News). In addition to his own name, Adamovich sometimes used the pseudonyms of "Pengs" and "Kamen Sizifa" (The Stone of Sisyphus). He also signed work with his initials. Among the many reviews he wrote in Paris was one about Z. N. Gippius's book Zhivye litsa (The Living Portraits). They met in Cannes in 1926, where Adamovich also met her husband Dmitry Merezhkovsky, a well-known writer. After that, they saw each other at least once a week in Paris or in Cannes. In 1939 Adamovich published another book of poetry, Na zapade: stikhi (In the West: Poems).

When France declared war on Germany in September 1939, Adamovich was vacationing in Nice. He enlisted in the French army and was discharged late in 1940 after the armistice. Adamovich remained in Nice until 1946, when he returned to Paris. During the months of service, he kept a journal, which he published in 1947 under the title L'autre patrie (The Other Homeland). It is his only book in French.

In Paris, Adamovich resumed his literary activities, making contributions to American and French publications such as Russkie Novosti, (Russian News), Opyty (Experiments), Mosty (Bridges), Novoe russkoe slovo (New Russian Word), and Novyi zhurnal (New Review). He was also engaged in editing and translating projects.

In 1951 Adamovich was appointed lecturer in Russian literature at the University of Manchester, a position he held for almost ten years before retiring at the age of 67. His book of prose, Odinochestvo i svoboda:literaturnye ocherki (Solitude and Freedom: Literary Sketches), was published in 1955. After retirement he taught for one semester at Oxford University before returning to Paris, where he wrote scripts for Radio Liberty and continued to publish books. About three years after his return, Adamovich suffered a heart attack. Upon recovery, he went on a lecture tour in the United States, but was unable to fulfill his obligations because of frail health. Several years later he travelled to Nice, where he suffered a fatal stroke and died on February 11, 1972, at the age of 78.

Adamovich dedicated his life to literature. He was a critic, poet, writer, essayist, columnist, book and movie reviewer, teacher, editor and translator. His publications included 5 books of criticism (1955-67), 4 collections of poetry (1916-67), about 450 critical articles (1923-72), over 600 reviews (1921-72), 4 stories (1925-70), and 3 books of memoirs (1928,1947,1959), one written together with Aldanov and Ivanov. Together with M. L. Kantor, he founded and edited a short-lived monthly, Vstrechi (Meetings, 1934), and compiled IAkor' (Anchor, 1936), an émigré anthology. Adamovich translated three books from French into Russian, including Camus's L'Étranger .

Always involved in the literary life of the Russian émigré community, Adamovich became a permanent influence among the great Russian literary figures, especially through his criticism.

(Sources used: Z. N. (Zinaida Nikolaevna) Gippius, Intellect and Ideas in Action ... comp. [by] Temira Pachmus (München: W. Fink, 1972); Roger Hagglund, Georgy Adamovich (Ann Arbor: Ardis, c1985); Roger Hagglund, A Vision of Unity (Ann Arbor: Ardis, c1985); George Ivask, "Sobesednik; pamiati Georgiia Viktorovicha Adamovicha," Novyi zhurnal 106 (March 1972): 284-88.)

From the guide to the Georgiĭ Adamovich papers, 1926-1960, (Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library)


Loading Relationships


Ark ID:


  • Russian
  • Poets, Russian--20th century
  • Russians--Foreign countries
  • Authors, Russian--20th century


  • Authors


  • Foreign countries (as recorded)