ZHUKOVSKIĬ, Valentin Alekseevich

(1858-1918), one of the most prominent representatives of Russian, namely St. Petersburg, Oriental studies. The scholarly interests of Zhukovskiĭ were extremely wide, covering the whole range of subjects from dialectology and folklore to archeology. His archives contain papers on many different subjects; some of them still await publication.


ZHUKOVSKIĬ, Valentin Alekseevich (b. Voronezh, 17 May [5 May Old Style] 1858; d. Petrograd, 17 January [4 January Old style] 1918), one of the most prominent representatives of Russian, namely St. Petersburg, Oriental studies (FIGURE 1). He was the pupil of such outstanding scholars as Carl Salemann (1849-1916), Baron Victor Rosen (1849-1908), and I. N. Berezin (1818-1896). Among his pupils were Yu. N. Marr (1893-1935), I. A. Orbeli (1887-1961), I. Yu. Krachkovskiĭ (1883-1951), E. É. Bertel’s (1890-1957), I. I. Zarubin (1887-1964), and I. I. Umnyakov (1890-1976).

His secondary education Zhukovskiĭ started in Moscow at the Kreimann pansion and continued in the Voronezh gymnasium. In 1880 Zhukovskiĭ finished the Imperial St. Petersburg University, where he had studied at the Faculty of Oriental Languages, in the Arabic-Persian-Turkish-Tatar Department, after which he was offered to stay at the Faculty and prepare himself for taking the position of the lecturer in Persian. In 1886 after he returned to St Petersburg from his long trips to Persia he started lecturing at the rank of Privat Dozent. In 1889 he was appointed as extraordinary Professor, and in 1890 was promoted to the full professor (ordinarnyi professor). In 1899 Zhukovskiy was elected a correspondent member of the Russian Academy.

While a student, Zhukovskiĭ became interested in Turkish literature. His first important work was dedicated to the treatise Konh al-aḵbārby the Ottoman author of the 16th century ʿAli Čelebi; it contained a translation of the treatise accompanied by detailed commentaries and mainly focused on the information related to the Slavic peoples. That was one of the earliest studies in comparative historiography, in which Zhukovskiĭ tried to give the entire picture of the geographical, political, agricultural, and cultural aspects reflected in the Konh al-aḵbār, as well as in other contemporary sources. For this research Zhukovskiĭ was awarded the Gold Medal of the University.

Zhukovskiĭ wrote his M.A. thesis about the poems of Anwari. It was published several years later (1883), and still remains one of the major works on Anwari’s poetry. Thanks to Wilhelm Pertsch (p. 368) and E.G. Browne (1902-24, II, pp. 368-91) his study became known to the Western scholars in the field.

Zhukovskiĭ regarded Baron Victor Rosen (1849-1908), who was of Arabic and the Dean of the Oriental Faculty, his main teacher, and Rosen showed much respect to his former student either. According to Zhukovskiĭ’s son Sergeĭ, Zhukovskiĭ’s friendship with Rosen lasted for more than twenty years (letters of Zhukovskiĭ to Rosen, RAS archive,file 2, 777, 162); every Monday, Rosen would visit Zhukovskiĭ for tea in his University flat, discussing with his favorite pupil their plans and ideas (S. V. Zhukovskiĭ, p. 62).

The scholarly interests of Zhukovskiĭ were extremely wide, covering the whole range of subjects from dialectology and folklore to archaeology and religious studies, and he did his studies with rare thoroughness. His archives (in RAS and IOS) contain papers on many different subjects; some of them still await publication (for the survey of Zhukovskiĭ’s IOS archive see Borschevskiĭ, pp. 42-44). One can presume that it was due to his superfluous self-criticism that many of Zhukovskiĭ’s works remained unpublished during his lifetime (Barthold, p. 400).

According to Zhukovskiĭ’s students, his lectures were as interesting as they were useful (Shapshal, Ocherki, p. 131). Thanks to two trips to Iran in 1883-86 and in summer of 1899, Zhukovskiĭ’s knowledge of the language was excellent, of which he was very proud. Sometimes, even with his European colleagues he preferred to correspond in Persian rather than in any other foreign language (Zhukovskiĭ’s personal archive, RAS (files 2, 4, 68, 87, 100, 101, 148, 208, 777, 820, 909) and IOS (letter to E. G. Browne from 3 November 1899, file 17, transferred from RAS). His report to the Faculty about his stay in Persia from March 1884 and his letters to his colleagues and friends, mainly to Baron Rosen, as well as publications by Yu. E. Borschevskiĭ and P. P. Bushev, are the sources which shed light on his work and travels in Persia (IOS Archive, vol. 17, 1, no. 10-a/427; Borschevskiĭ, p. 7; Bushev, pp. 115-24).

According to Zhukovskiĭ’s proposal submitted to the Faculty board, his first trip to Persia had three main aims: to improve his Persian; to collect necessary materials for his ‘Habilitation’ dissertation on different dialects of Persia; and to buy books and manuscripts for the library of the Faculty of Oriental Studies. However, neither his colleagues, nor even he himself believed that it would be possible to add something new to what had been published on the subject already by I.N. Berezin (1818-1896), B.A. Dorn (1805-1881), A. Zhaba, P.A. Lerch, S. Mel’gunov, A.E. Chodzko (1804-1891), and others. In his letter to Rosen dated 15 April 1886, Zhukovskiĭ mentioned that it would be very unlikely for him to get any new material on his way, which coincided with the old and popular caravan route Tehran-Isfahan-Shiraz (RAS archive, file 2, 777, 162-168; Bogolyubov, p. 46). Perhaps, that is why Zhukovskiĭ also became interested in Persian folk literature and folk culture even before going to Persia, and, while staying there, he started to collect materials on these two subjects as well, with equal enthusiasm.

His first trip to Persia played an enormous role in shaping Zhukovskiĭ ’s research interests (Bushev, pp. 115-24) and can be divided into three periods, which he spent in Tehran (15 months), Isfahan (18 months) and Shiraz (one and a half months). He and his wife Varvara Aleksandrovna, to whom he married two years earlier, left Russia from Voronezh on 16 May (4 May Old Style) 1883 and arrived in Tehran on 9 June 1883 after a rather adventurous trip (letter from 7 June 1883 to Baron Rosen, Archive of the RAS, file 2, 777, 162). From October on, he started taking regular lessons of Persian with several private teachers, the best of whom he considered Mollā Ebrāhim Māzandarāni. They would spend together 3-5 hours a day talking, reading the poetry of Rumi, ʿAṭṭār, Nāṣer-e Ḵosrow, Ḵayyām, and discussing works on different subjects, from theology to Arabic grammar. Zhukovskiĭ was satisfied with his progress, and during the Nowruz reception of 1884 at the Shah’s palace he could speak with Nāṣer-al-Din Shah (r. 1848-96) without any assistance of A.Grigorovich, the interpreter at the Russian Embassy (letter to Baron Rosen from 4 December 1883, Archive of the RAS, file 2, 777, 162).

Despite the support of the Russian diplomatic mission in Persia and his own constant attempts to make contacts among local booksellers and owners of private libraries in Tehran, Zhukovskiĭ had difficulties in getting necessary literature for his research and for the University library. However, he managed to bring to St. Petersburg lists of the manuscripts, lithographs, and printed books in several libraries in Tehran, as well as several very important manuscripts and many printed texts, which are now in the collection of the St. Petersburg University library (Salemann and Rosen, Index) and the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts (Mikluho-Maclay, Description).

Zhukovskiĭ’s three main interests in Persian dialectology, folk tradition, and Sufi poetry supplemented each other. For example, while working on the translation of 1,000 Bakhtiari verses, he mentioned in the letter to Rosen dated 5 January 1885 that this “would be enough to get the full impression of the Bakhtiyari language and folklore” (IOS Archive, vol. 777, 2, no. 164, fol. 1). In his review of Huart’s Les Quatrains de Bābā Tāher ʿUryān of 1888 (Materialy, pp. V-VI, reference 4), he was writing that Mazandaranis, Kurds, Bakhtiyaris, or Sedeyi consider him (Bābā Ṭāher) their national poet, reading his poetry in their own way each (Borschevskiĭ, p. 31). Zhukovskiĭ’s archive contains his manuscript with 57 robāʿis of Bābā Ṭāher written in Luri dialect (IOS Archive, vol. 17, 1, no. 2/436-18).

Zhukovskiĭ as linguist and folklorist. During his three-year stay in Persia (1883-1886), Zhukovskiĭ collected rich linguistic materials, whose value can hardly be overestimated by dialectologists and folklorists (Marzolph, pp. 71, 75). The amount of the information was really enormous, and the plan was to have it published in five volumes. However, even the first volume on Persian dialects (Zhukovskiĭ, 1888) brought the author much respect of his colleagues and the Doctorate degree. The second book, on Persian folklore (Zhukovskiĭ, 1902), was published after Zhukovskiĭ’s second trip to Persia in the summer of 1899 and was awarded the Big Gold Medal of the Russian Geographical Society. Some of the materials he collected during his trips to Persia were published by his pupil A. Romaskewicz after Zhukovskiĭ’s death (Zhukovskiĭ, 1922). Zhukovskiĭ realized that compared to the best works on Persian folklore of those days, like Alexander Chodzko’s study of samples of folk poetry from northern Persia (1842) which contained English translations only, his contribution was more important due to inclusion of the original texts representing various dialects.

The publication of both books, and especially the Materialy (Zhukovskiĭ, 1888 and 1922), was very important. Zhukovskiĭ was one of the first European scholars who attracted the interest of his colleagues towards the existing vernacular Iranian languages and dialects and who emphasized the necessity to describe them all properly. What made Zhukovskiĭ an outstanding linguist even by modern standards is that not only did he fix the linguistic phenomena he was coming across, but he also provided theoretical analysis of the language in general. His Materialy (1888) has a supplement entitled “The survey of grammar forms,” and his Obraztsy (1902) contains a glossary.

As a linguist, Zhukovskiĭ understood the development of the Persian language in its chronological and geographical aspects. Working on both the dialectology of modern Persian and classical Persian literature, he realized the vital necessity of compiling a comprehensive grammar of the New Persian language, which he published together with Carl Salemann (1849-1916), first in German in 1889 and then in Russian in 1890. This grammar makes emphasize on the language of the earliest representatives of Persian literature, like Rudaki and Ferdowsi. Besides, it contains a very useful list of various poetical meters. These methods were applied by the later generations of scholars, like O. Mann, A. Christensen, A. Romaskewicz, W. Ivanov, V. Minorskiy, Yu. Marr, H. Bailey, A. Lambton, and others (Bogolyubov, Ocherki, p. 46).

Being an active and enthusiastic member of the Imperial Geographical and Archaeological Societies of Russia, Zhukovskiĭ often gave lectures on different subjects, connected with various aspects of every-day life of Persia. The most attractive feature of his talks was that they were based on the results of his own fieldwork and on the most recent materials sent to him by his former students who served in Persia as diplomats. His lectures touched upon various subjects from ethnology (On the Persian lullaby songs, Persian wedding songs, 1888), to politically focused works (On the contemporary bazaar poetic tradition, 1893; On the last days of Shah Nāṣer al-Din, 1901).

Many of the materials Zhukovskiĭ collected during his stay in Persia are still unpublished; some of them are dedicated to specific historical events, like, for example, his notes on mosaddases and maṯnawis about the famine in Kashan, Isfahan, Yazd, Kerman, Tehran, and Qom in 1871-73, and in Shiraz in 1867-68, describing incredible sufferings of people (IOS Archive, file 17, 1, no. 7/427, fols. 67-97).

Zhukovskiĭ benefited greatly from the fact that in Persia he stayed together with his wife, Varvara Alexandrovna, who not only accompanied him in all his trips but also helped in collecting folk material, especially in situations when only a woman could do so, like in the cases of collecting data from female informants. This was an invaluable contribution to scholarship, since such specifically female genres like songs and fairy tales for children, lullabies and wedding songs had otherwise been inaccessible.

Besides the invaluable Materialy and Obrazsty, which have been published, a significant body of material on Persian folklore is still awaiting its publication. This includes the collection of 104 Persian romances (taṣnif), which was brought from Persia by the Russian diplomat and Iranist Nikolaĭ Khanykov (1819-1878), and which is now preserved in the National Library of Russia in St. Petersburg. Zhukovskiĭ was preparing the collection for publication; his archive contains two copies of his draft transcribed by hand. The songs are of different provenance: Ardalan (1), Azerbaijan (1), Baghdad (1), Behbahān (1), Borujerd (3), Jahrom (1), Dizful (2), Herat (1), Gilān (1), Zanjān (1), Yazd (1), Isfahan (3), Kabul (1), Qazvin (1), Kāšān (2), Kerman (3), Kermanshah (1), Kurdistan (1), Luristan (1), Māzandarān (1), Mashad (1), Tabriz (2), Tehran (19), Urmia (1), Hamadan (2), Hešt (1), Ḵorramābād (1), Shiraz (26), Šuštar (4), unknown provenance (4); besides Persian, some of them are written in Laki (1), Arabic (1), and Hindi (1). He was also one of the first scholars who studied the Jewish Tati language (Jewish encyclopaedia, v. 7, p. 613).

Zhukovskiĭ as a specialist in literature. Zhukovskiĭ is famous most of all for his particular interest in mystical poetry. His favorite authors were Abu Saʿid Meyheni (Zhukovskiĭ, 1899), ʿAbd-Allāh Anṣāri (Zhukovskiĭ, 1895b; translated into English by L. Bogdanov), Abu’l-Ḥasan Ḵaraqāni, Bābā Ṭāher Hamadāni, Nāṣer-e Ḵosrow, and Bābā Kuhi Širāzi. Reynold Nicholson (1868-1945) was aware of Zhukovskiĭ’s work on a critical edition of Jollābi Hojwiri’s Kašf al-maḥjub, which was published post-mortem in 1926 and whose introduction was translated into English as “Persian Sufism” (BSOAS 5, 1930, pp. 475-88). After Zhukovskiĭ’s text was published, Nicholson prepared another edition of his English translation, as both scholars were using manuscripts from different collections (Nicholson, 1911). Zhukovskiĭ’s publication of the text (reprint, Teheran, 1993) was superseded only recently by M. ʿĀbedi’s edition (M.‘Abidi, Teheran, 1992).

Zhukovskiĭ became well known internationally due to his work on the wandering quatrains of ʿOmar Ḵayyām (Zhukovskiĭ, 1897). Discovered in 1856 by the Europeans thanks to the scholarly and poetic efforts of Edward FitzGerald, by the end of the 19th century Ḵayyām became extremely popular in Europe as a poet. In his speech to the assembly of St. Petersburg University in 1895, Zhukovskiĭ was the first to discuss the origin of the robāʿis, ascribed to several authors including Ḵayyām. Later this speech was published in Russian (Zhukovskiĭ, 1897), translated into English (Zhukovskiĭ, 1895a; partial translation in Ross, 1898, pp. 350-66), and warmly welcomed by his colleagues (Browne, 1895, pp. 773-825; Idem, 1969, pp. 248-68).

In his obituary of Zhukovskiĭ, Vasiliĭ Barthold (1869-1930) mentions that only a small part of what the scholar had been writing about was published. Many of the drafts of articles or papers Zhukovskiĭ presented on different occasions but never published can be found in his archive, like, for example, fragments of the monograph on ʿAbd-Allāh Anṣāri (1006-88) with notes about his poetry, including 124 quatrains and monājāt, which had already been mentioned in the Pesni Geratskogo startsa (Zhukovskiĭ, 1895, pp. 79-113). There is also a biography of Abu’l-Ḥasan Ḵaraqāni, Anṣāri’s shaykh, who had the title Nur-al-ʿOlum (IOS Archive, vol. 17, 1, no. 17/754-208), which Zhukovskiĭ was preparing for publication and which was published by Evgeniĭ Bertel’s (1890-1957; see BERTHELS) post-mortem (Bertel’s, 1929, pp. 155-224; Idem, 1965, pp. 225-78).

For many years Zhukovskiĭ was collecting various types of materials (handwritten, published, and, during his field work, oral) in several dialects on Bābā Ṭāher. As a result, Zhukovskiĭ collected 279 robāʾis ascribed to Bābā Ṭāher, 262 of which he translated, each on a separate card, with notes and commentaries (IOS Archive, vol. 17, 1, no. 2/426-41).

Until the last minute of his life Zhukovskiĭ was working on the translation of the divan of Bābā Kuhi Širāzi (11th century; see BĀBĀ KUHI), where he included 284 robā‘is (Tagirdzhanov, pp. 59-62; Bertel’s, 1965, pp. 279-81). It appears that this work, which was almost ready for publication, perished during the siege of Leningrad during World War II together with the whole archive of his pupil, Aleksandr Romaskewicz (1885-1942), who was preparing Zhukovskiĭ’s work for publication but did not survive the siege himself.

Zhukovskiĭ was not trained as a professional archaeologist and never considered himself an archeologist (Smirnova, p. 51); however his book about the history and culture of ancient Merv (Zhukovskiĭ, 1894) was called by V.V. Barthold such an “excellent” archaeological survey, which did not exist for any other Central Asian and Persian town (Barthold, 1911, p. 151). His opinion was repeated in 1951 by a professional archeologist M.E. Masson, who spent most of his life, excavating in Central Asia (Masson, p.93). As a result of the military success of Russia in Central Asia in the 1880s, a part of historical Iran (Central Asia and Turkmenistan) became accessible to Russian scholars to pursue their fieldwork, started by P.I.Lerch in 1867. Financed by the Archaeological Commission, Zhukovskiĭ was one of those who went there first, in 1890, and then again in 1896. His aim was to produce a detailed description of the remains of one of the most important centers of the pre-Mongol Iranian Muslim culture—the city of Merv. Based on the results of his fieldwork with deep knowledge of surviving written sources, supplied with two detailed maps of the archeological sites his book about Merv was acknowledged the best book of the year and was awarded the Gold Medal of the National annual prize for the best research. Until now this book is one of the main reference studies of the historical topography. Zhukovskiĭ and his Merv survey challenged the interest of several generations of archeologists, like M. Masson, B. Marshak (Tales and Fables, 2002), F. Grenet who made extraordinary discoveries in the area.

During the summer of 1890 Zhukovskiĭ continued his journey to Khurasan, visiting Mašhad and Tus. In this regard, special mention should be made of his article dedicated to the tomb of Ferdowsi (Zhukovskiĭ, 1892), in which Zhukovskiĭ described the impressions of his journey, illustrating his article with now very rare photographs. In this article he expressed his disappointment at the state of the tomb, which by that time was completely neglected, compared with the burial places of other Persian poets, saints, rulers, famous intellectuals, and religious leaders. His later archaeological expeditions (1896) were to the ancient Nisa and its outskirts Abivard and Meyhena. Zhukovskiĭ gave a detailed report on it at the Royal Archeological commission meeting, however this material has never been published.

Zhukovskiĭ as a specialist on contemporary religious and political studies. Zhukovskiĭ lived and worked in two countries (Russia and Persia), which both went through one of the most difficult and decisive periods in their modern history; both were at the peak of their revolutionary situation when Zhukovskiĭ had been already not only a prominent specialist but also a high-rank administrator (Director of the Teaching Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, see below). This made him being interested not only in medieval poetry, but also in the contemporary political events in both Persia and Russia, and in their relations. A significant part of Zhukovskiĭ’s archive is his correspondence with his former students, who were appointed to various diplomatic posts in different parts of Persia. This regular and frequent correspondence shows that he was constantly aware about the events of the Great Game, and in many cases he guided the Russian diplomats in some particular fields and situations. Zhukovskiĭ was sending out concrete recommendations and requests on what he wished to receive (manuscripts and publications on Babi movement [see BABISM], pamphlets on famines and uprisings, satires on different political and religious leaders); his correspondents, most of whom were working in the Russian mission and consulates in Iran—among them A. R. Baranovskiĭ, G. D. Batyushkov, D. D. Belyaev, N. Z. Bravin, M. M. Girs, N. Dubrovin, A. Ya. Miller, and V. P. Nikitin—were providing him with the latest information and recently published materials, describing the political, economical, and religious situation in their regions and explaining the meaning of colloquial words used in the pamphlets. For example, on 26 October 1902 A. Baranovskiĭ sent a satire from Isfahan, where all the political and religious leaders were mentioned in the most severe manner, with his own comments on each of them. M. Girs from Mašhad sent an article from the newspaper Ḥabl al-matin and two brochures describing the uprising at the end of April 1903 against the ruler of Khorasan Nayer-al-Dowla, who owned the whole of Nishapur and its vicinities. In a letter dated 17 May 1905, the Russian consul in Kerman, A. Miller, described the religious situation in the city, the influence of the Neʿmatallāhi order, the Babis, and other sects, as well as the appearance of a new S haykh Aḥmad. Such fresh and valuable materials allowed Zhukovskiĭ to prepare important and up-to-date presentations, like the one he made on 20 November 1903 in the Oriental Department of the Russian Archaeological Society, which was dedicated to the modern situation of Persia and contemporary literary works (O chertah, 1904).

The impact of the scholar on religious studies is reflected in his interest on the ‘living’ Islam, which was practiced by the Iranians during his stay in the country. His interests, which embraced the history and the peculiar features of different Muslim movements, such as Babism and Ahl-e Ḥaqq, are still of special interest for historians and the historians of religions and religious art (Shapshal, pp. 131-34).

In 1960 Yu. Borshchevskiĭ published Zhukovskiĭ’s translation of what purported to be a fragment from the Tāriḵ-e moḵtaṣar-e ṣaḥiḥ-e bidoruḡ of ʿAli Khan Qājār Ṣafāʾ-ʿAli Shah (1864-1926), who was ešiq-āqāsi-bāši (master of ceremony) at the court of Nāṣer-al-Din Shah (r. 1848-96) and Moẓaffar-al-Din Shah (r. 1896-1907) and the head of the Neʿmat-Allāhi Sufi order (Borschevskiĭ, 1960, pp. 63-114). Borshchevskiĭ provided the translation of Zhukovskiĭ with a preface and commentaries. For the latter, Borshchevskiĭ used the diaries of General V. A. Kosogovskiĭ (Commander of the Cossack Brigade in Persia, see COSSACK BRIGADE), which are preserved in Zhukovskiĭ’s archive and which describe the last days of Nāṣer-al-Din Shah’s life and depict his assassin, Mirzā Rezµā, and the motives of the assassination.

Zhukovskiĭ as administrator. Being an outstanding scholar and a talented teacher, Zhukovskiĭ also became a perfect administrator, which happens very rarely. From 1892 he started to fulfill his duties as the Secretary of the Faculty of Oriental Languages, and in 1902 he was elected the Dean of the Faculty. Some of his colleagues, for example V. Barthold, expressed their bitter regret that, as he put it, Zhukovskiĭ sacrificed the scholar within him to administrative career (Barthold, 1918, p. 12 and 1921, p. 410). It is true that administration, and especially re-organization of the Faculty and the Teaching Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, took a lot of his time and passion, and one can be sure that Zhukovskiĭ would have published much more during his rather short scholarly life if he concentrated on his research only. On the other hand, it was rather unfair that it was Barthold who was asked to write an obituary for Zhukovskiĭ, as they were not even on speaking terms (correspondence with V. V. Barthold, RAS Archive, file 68, 1, N 243, 244, 311). That is why after some time it was Sergeĭ Ol’denburg (1863-1934) who wrote a much more favorable and detailed account of Zhukovskiĭ’s life and works (Oldenburg, pp. 2039-68).

Zhukovskiĭ was an extraordinarily gifted and curious person, who used to do everything with true passion. Being the Dean of the Oriental Faculty for nine years (1902-11), he was asked several times to represent the Rector of the St. Petersburg University. From 1906 he became the head of the Teaching Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Soon after that he initiated the project for an educational reform in the Ministry, through which the future diplomats to the countries of the Near, Middle, and the Far East would paid much more attention to studying relevant Oriental languages.

To create such educational programs, Zhukovskiĭ collected information about many similar programs that existed at that time in different related Institutions, like the Lazarev Institute of Oriental Languages in Moscow, the Oriental Institute in Vladivistok, the Practical Military Institute in St. Petersburg, and the École des Langues Orientales in Paris. This program, first of all, presumed that twice as many students were admitted than it had been before. Secondly, the number of professors and their fields of interests had to be extended. Among the new subjects to be offered were the languages of the Far East, political economy, historical geography, Consular and trade law. One of the most important innovations was organization of summer trips for students and professors for practical work in the East. The general term for the whole course remained the same as before, two years, but it had to be more intensified. At the end of the course, the students were to get their certificates after passing several obligatory final examinations. Unfortunately, this project, prepared by Zhukovskiĭ and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was not approved by the State Duma (Russian Parliament) due to the opposition of the head of the Practical Oriental Academy, General Shvedov.

Zhukovskiĭ as artist. Besides his University activities, Zhukovskiĭ was also famous in the artistic circles of St. Petersburg. Friends knew him as a talented painter and a musician, but his favorite hobby was theatre. In 1910 he participated in putting the play Bab on the stage in the Suvorin Theatre in St Petersburg. This play was written on the basis of the news coming to Russia about the appearance of the new religious movement of Babism, which was proclaimed by Sayyed ʿAli-Moḥammad Širāzi (1819-50, see BĀB, SAYYED ʿALI MOḤAMMAD ŠIRĀZI) in Persia in 1844. The play was written by Izabella Grinevskaya (1854-1944), a poetess and playwright from St. Petersburg, who constantly consulted Zhukovskiĭ during her work on the play. Among Zhukovskui’s closest friends were such famous Russian men of letters as Nikolaĭ Leskov (1831-95) and Vsevolod Solovyov (1849-1903). Under Zhukovskiĭ’s influence, poet and writer Vasiliĭ Velichko (1860-1903) created a whole cycle of poems entitled Vostochnye motivy (Oriental Motifs, published in 1890).

Zhukovskiĭ died 4 January 1918, almost exactly four months before his 60th anniversary. It seems that it was the events and the results of the October Revolution in Russia in 1917 which caused his early passing away. An experienced and gifted administrator, he had to leave his post of the head of the Faculty and to stop many of his teaching courses. His post-revolutionary activities were restricted to pure research work. Finally, he could not easily survive the demand to leave his professorial University apartment where he had lived with his family for many years. Death came to him when he was working on his translation of the divan of Bābā Kuhi, which he had been studying for years, preparing for publication in Russian translation. The last beyt (distich) on which his hand stopped was: “Until what time will you, like a donkey, stay in this repulsive puddle of the world? Strive upwards like ʿIsā!”

On 5-6 May 1958 the Research Committees of the Leningrad (St. Petersburg) University and the Leningrad (St. Petersburg) Branch of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences held a conference dedicated to the centenary of Zhukovskiĭ’s birth. The proceedings of this conference were published in 1960, and they include the contributors of Yu. E. Borshchevskiĭ (unpublished archives of Zhukovskiĭ), M. N. Bogolyubov (Zhukovskiĭ as a linguist), O. I. Smirnova (Zhukovskiĭ’s archeological survey of ancient Marv), A. T. Tagirdzhanov (Zhukovskiĭ’s contribution to the study of Persian Sufi literature, and specifically his work on the divan of Bābā Kuhi), P. P. Bushev (Zhukovskiĭ’s first trip to Persia), S. V. Zhukovskiĭ (the son of Zhukovskiĭ, memoirs about his father), S. M. Shapshal (his correspondence with Zhukovskiĭ from the time when Shapshal worked in Persia on Zhukovskiĭ’s recommendation and his interest in ‘Muslim icons,’ šamāʾel), I. I. Umnyakov (Zhukovskiĭ’s interest in Persian manuscripts and the Babi movement in Bukhara, where Umnyakov was appointed in 1916 as the representative of the Russian government), and A. M. Muginov (he expanded on Zhukovskiĭ’s article about the use of the verb dāštan in Persian folk tradition).



IAN — Izvestiya Akademii Nauk (Newsletter of the [Russian] Academy of Sciences).

IOS — Institute of Oriental Studies, St. Petersburg Branch Russian Academy of Sciences.

Jewish Encyclopaedia – Evreyskaya entsiklopediya, svod znaniy o evreystve i ego culture v proshlom i nastoyaschem, eds. L.Catznelson and Baron D.G. Gin()sburg, St Petersburg.

Materialy — Materialy dlya izucheniya persidskikh narechiĭ, chast’ I. Dialekty polosy goroda Kashana: Vonishun, Kokhrud, Keshe, Zefre (Materials for Studying Persian Dialects, pt. I: Dialects of the Outskirts of Kashan: Vonishun, Kohrud, Keshe, and Zefre), St. Petersburg, 1888.

Obraztsy — Obraztsy narodnogo tvorchestva. Pesni pevtsov-muzykantov, pesni svadebnye, pesni kolybel’nye, zagadki, obraztsy raznogo soderzhaniya (Samples of [Persian] Folklore: Songs of Singers-Musicians, Wedding Songs, Lullabies, Riddles, Samples of Various Content), St. Petersburg, 1902.

Ocherki — Ocherki po istorii russkogo vostokovedniya (Surveys on the History of Russian Oriental Studies) 5, Moscow, 1960.

RAS – Russian Academy of Sciences.

ZVO(I)RAO — Zapiski Vostochnogo otdeleniya (Imperatorskogo) Rossiĭskogo arkheologicheskogo obshchestva (Proceedings of the Oriental Department of the [Imperial] Russian Archeological Society).

Major works by Zhukovskiĭ.

A list of Zhukovskiĭ’s publications was compiled by his pupil, A. A. Romaskewicz, who was working on Zhukovskiĭ’s archives after the latter’s death in 1918. A part of the archives did not survive the siege of Leningrad (1941-44) during World War II, when Romaskewicz himself died from starvation. A revised list of Zhukovskiĭ’s works was published by P. P. Bushev in Ocherki (pp. 140-45). Besides the studies mentioned in the bibliography below, the revised list contains 31 articles, 8 book reviews, and 20 papers presented at the meetings of the Russian Imperial Archaeological Society. The abstracts were published in ZVORAO.

‘Ali Auhadeddin Enveri, Materialy dlya ego biografii i kharakteristiki (ʿAli Owḥad-al-Din Anwari, Materials for His Biography and Characterization), St. Petersburg, 1883.

“Obrazchik persidskogo yumora (A specimen of Persian humour)”, ZVORAO, v. 1, 4, 1887, pp. 316-8.

“Sekta “Lyudey istiny” v Persii (People of Truth sect in Persia)– Ahl al-Haqq”, ZVORAO,, v. 2, 1-2, 1887, pp. 1-24. Materialy dlya izucheniya persidskikh narechiĭ, chast’ I: Dialekty polosy goroda Kashana: Vonishun, Kokhrud, Keshe, Zefre (Materials for Studying Persian Dialects, pt. I: Dialects of the Outskirts of Kashan: Vonishun, Kohrud, Zefre), St. Petersburg, 1888.

“Tolkovanie pritchi o satire Firdousi (Interpretation of the legend of the satire of Firdousi)”, ZVORAO, v. 2, 3-4, 1888, pp. 263-6.

“Osobennoe znachenie glagola dashtan v persidskom razgovornom yazyke (special meaning of the verb Dashtan in the conversational Persian language), ZVORAO, v. 3, 4, 1889, pp. 376-126.

“Kolybelnye pesni i prichitaniya osedlogo i kochevogo naseleniya Persii (Lullabies and short folk songs of settled and nomadic population of Persia)”, Journal of the Ministry of the Public education, part 261, January 1889, pp. 93-126.

“Persidskiy shah Nasr-eddin - pisatel (Persian Shah Nasir ad-Din the writer)”, Novoe vremya, SPb., 1889, No 4741.

“Yumor persidko-indiyskiy (Persian Indian humour)”, ZVORAO, v. 5, 1, 1890, pp. 111-2.

“Pesn’ Nasira Khosrova (The Song of Nasir Khusraw)”, ZVORAO, v. 4, 3-4, 1890, pp. 386-93.

Persidkie letopistsy o smerti Griboedova (Persian chroniclers on Griboedov’s death) ”, Novoe vremya, SPb., 1890, No 5068.

Musulmanstvo Rustama Dastanovicha (Rustam son of Dastan as a Muslim), Zhivaya starina 4, SPb., 1891, No 99.

“Persidskie versii “Shemyakina suda” (Persian versions of Shemyakin’s court)”, ZVORAO, v. 5, 2-4, 1891, pp. 157-78.

“Mogila Firdousi. Iz poezdki v Khorasan letom 1890 goda” (The Tomb of Ferdowsi. Travel Notes of the Journey to Khorasan in the Summer of 1890), ZVOIRAO, v. 6, 1892, pp. 308-14.

Nedavnie kazni babidov v Yezde (“Recent executions of Babids in Yazd)”, ZVOIRAO 6, 1892, pp. 321-27.

“Razyasnenie k zametke “Nedavnie kazni v gorode Yezde” (Notes on the article “Recent executions in the town of Yezd”)”, ZVORAO, 7, 1-4, 1893, pp. 327.

“Legenda ob Isuuse i cherepe v persidskom stihotvornom skaze Attara (Legend of Jesus and skull in the Persian poem by ‘Attar)”, ZVORAO, v. 7, 1-4, 1893, pp. 63-72.

Drevnosti Zakaspiĭskogo kraya. Razvaliny Starogo Merva (Antiquities of the Region Beyond the Caspian Sea. Ruins of the Old Merv), St. Petersburg, 1894. “Chelovek i poznanie u persidskikh mistikov. Rech’, chitannaya na godichnom akte Imperatorskogo S-Peterburgskogo universiteta 8-go fevralya 1895 goda (Human Being and Cognition as Seen by Persian Mystics. Speech Given at the Annual Meeting of the Board of the Imperial St. Petersburg University on 8 February), 1895a, 32 pp.; tr. L. Bogdanov as “The Idea of Man and Knowledge in the Conception of Persian Mystics,” BSOAS 6/1, 1930, pp. 151-77. “Pesni Geratskogo startsa,” Vostochnye zametki, St. Petersburg, 1895b, pp. 79-113; tr. by L. Bogdanov as “The Songs of the Elder of Herat,” Journal and Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1939, pp. 205-55.

“Omar Khayyam i stranstvuyushchie chetverostishiya” (Omar Khayyam and Wandering Quatrains), Al-Muzaffariya (Festschrift for Baron V. Rosen), St. Petersburg, 1897.

“Muhammed Hasan-Khan (I‘timad al-Saltane)”, ZVORAO, v. 10, 1-4, 1897, pp. 187-191.

“Kultura opiya v Persii (Culture of opium in Persia)”, St Peterburgskie vedomosti, 1898, No 56.

“Zhivoy tsar, Legenda (Live King, A Legend)”, Literary supplement to the Niva magazine, SPb., May, June, July, August of 1898.

“Perehod 120 armyan v musulmanstvo (Convertion of 120 Armenians to Islam)”, St Peterburgskie vedomosti, 1898, No 89.

Taĭny edineniya s Bogom v podvigakh startsa Abu Saida. Zhizn’ i rechi startsa Abu Sa‘ida Meĭkheneĭskogo (Secrets of the Unity with God in the Deeds of the Elder Abu Said. Life and Sayings of Abu Saʿid from Meyhene), Persian text, St. Petersburg, 1899.

“Solovey i muravey (Nightingale and Ant)”, ZVORAO, v. 11, 1-4, 1899, pp. 304-7.

“K istorii persidskoy literatury pri Samanidah, (on the history of the Persian literature during the Samanids)”, ZVORAO, v. 12, 1, 1899, pp. 4-7.

“Koe-chto o Baba-Tahire Golyshe (Some notes on Baba Tahir the naked)”, ZVORAO, v. 13, 4, 1901, pp. 104-8.

Obraztsy narodnogo tvorchestva. Pesni pevtsov-muzykantov, pesni svadebnye, pesni kolybel’nye, zagadki, obraztsy raznogo soderzhaniya (Samples of [Persian] Folklore: Songs of Singers-Musicians, Wedding Songs, Lullabies, Riddles, Samples of Various Content), St. Petersburg, 1902.

“Russkiy konsul F.A. Bakulin v istorii izucheniya babizma (Russian consul F.A. Bakulin in the history of the studying of Babism)”, ZVORAO, v. 24, 1917, pp. 33-90.

Materialy dlya izucheniya persidskikh narechiĭ (Materials for Studying Persian Dialects), pts. 2-3, ed. A. A. Romaskewicz, Petrograd, 1922.

Raskrytie skrytogo za zavesoĭ. Kashf al-Makhjub (Revelation of the Hidden behind the Curtain: Kašf al-Maḥjub) , Leningrad, 1926; introduction tr. into English as “Persian Sufism,” BSOAS 5, 1930, pp. 475-88.

“‘Ali Khan Qajar Zahir ad-Dawla Safi ‘Ali Shah. History of the assassination of Nasir Ad-Din Shah”. Translation by V.A. Zhukovskiĭ, commentaries by Yu. E. Borschevskiĭ on the material of the diaries of V.A. Kosogovskiy (Archives of the Institute of Oriental Manuscripts), Ocherki, Moscow, 1960, pp. 75-114.

Grammar and textbooks.

Skazki popugaya. Spor chashki s kal’yanom (Tales of the Parrot. Dispute of the Cup and the Water-Pipe), selections and vocabulary by V. Zhukovskiĭ, St. Petersburg, 1887, repr. 1901.

O chertah sovremennogo polozheniya v Persii i ee literaturnyh proizvedeniyah (on the peculiarities of the modern situation in Persia and its literary works), ZVOIRAO 16, 1, 1904, p. XI-XVIII.

C. Salemann and V. Zhukovski, Persische Grammatik mit literature Chrestomathie und Glossar, Berlin, 1889.

K. G. Salemann and V. A. Zhukovskiĭ, Kratkaya grammatika novopersidskogo yazyka s prilozheniem metriki i bibliografii (A Short Grammar of the New Persian Language, with a Supplement on Prosody and Bibliography), St. Petersburg, 1890.


V. V. Barthold, History of studying of the East in Europe and Russia. Lecture course given at the University of St Petersburg, SPb., 1911.

E. É. Bertel’s, “Nur al-‘Olum. Zhizneopisanie shaĭkha Abu-l-Hasana Kharaqani” (Nur al-ʿolum, the Life Story of the Shaykh Abu’l-Ḥasan Ḵaraqāni), Iran 3, Leningrad, 1929, pp. 155-224.

Idem, Sufizm i sufiĭskaya literature (Sufusm and Sufi Literature), Moscow, 1965; tr. into Persian by Sirus Izadi as Tasawwof wa adabiāt-e tasawwof, Tehran, 1977.

M. N. Bogolyubov, “V. A. Zhukovskiĭ kak yazykoved” (V. A. Zhukovskiĭ as Linguist), Ocherki, pp. 45-9.

Yu. E. Borschevskiĭ, “K kharakteristike rukopisnogo naslediya V. A. Zhukovskogo” (Characteristics of the Handwritten Heritage of V. A. Zhukovsky), Ocherki, pp. 5-44. Yu. E. Borschevskiĭ, “Tarikh-i mukhtasar-i sahih-i bi-durug by ‘Ali Khan Qajar Zahir ad-Dawla Safi ‘Ali Shah,” Ocherki, Moscow, 1960, pp. 63-74.

E. G. Browne, “Some Notes on the Poetry of the Persian Dialects,” JRAS, 1895, pp. 773-825 (784).

Idem, A Literary History of Persia, 4 vols., London, 1902-24; repr. Cambridge, 1951-53 and 1964-69; Bethesda, Md. (with new introduction by J. T. P. de Brujn), 1997; New Delhi, 1997; Lahore, 2003.

P. P. Bushev, “K voprosu o pervoĭ poezdke V. A. Zhukovskogo v Iran (1883-86) (To the Question of the First Trip of V. A. Zhukovskiĭ to Iran), Ocherki, pp. 115-24.

A. Chodzko, Specimens of the Popular Poetry of Persia: As Found in the Adventures and Improvisations of Kuroglou, the Bandit-Minstrel of Northern Persia, and in the Songs of the People Inhabiting the Shores of the Caspian Sea, London, 1842.

A. Christensen, “Recherches sur les Ruba‘iyat de Omar Khayyam,” MGSLVO (Heft 3), Heidelberg, 1905.

C. Huart, “Les quatrains de Baba Tahir ‘Uryan en pehlevi musulman,” JA, 8e ser, 6, 1885, pp. 502-45.

B. Marshak, Legends, Tales and Fables in the Art of Sogdiana, New York, 2002.

U. Marzolph, “Folklore Studies i. Of Persia,” EIr X/1, 1999, pp. 71-75.

M. E. Masson, “Novye dannye po drevneĭ istorii Merva (New Data on Ancient History of Merv),” Vestnik Drevney Istorii 4, 1951, pp. 89-100.

N. D. Mikluho-Maclay, Description of the Tajik and Persian manuscripts of the Institute of the Peoples of Asia (Opisanie tajikskih i persidskih rukopisey Instituta narodov Azii), eds. I. A. Orbeli and V. I. Belyaev, 2 vols., Moscow, 1955 and 1961.

R. A. Nicholson, The Kashf al-Mahjúb: the Oldest Persian treatise on Súfism by ‘Alí b. ‘Uthmán al-Jullábí al-Hudjwírí, translated from the text of the Lahore edition, compared with mss. in the India Office and British Museum, Leiden and London, 1911; repr. London, 1936; new ed. London, 1959; repr. London, 1970.

Ocherki po istorii russkogo vostokovedeniya. Sbornik, posvyashchennyĭ pamyati Valentina Alekseevicha Zhukovskogo (Surveys on the History of Russian Oriental Studies. Volume Dedicated to the Memory of Valentin Alekseevich Zhukovskiĭ), ed. I. Orbeli, Moscow, 1960.

W. Pertsch, Literatur-Blatt für Orientalische Philologie, 4 vols., II, Leipzig, 1884-85.

A. Romaskewicz, “V. A. Zhukovskiĭ i persidskaya narodnaya poèziya” (V. A. Zhukovskiĭ and Persian Folk Poetry), ZVORAO 25, 1921, pp. 415-22.

D. Ross, “Fresh Light on Omar Khayyam,” JRAS, 1898, pp. 350-66.

C. Salemann and V. Rosen, Index alphabetici codicum manuscriptorum persicorum, turcicorum, arabicorum qui in bibliotheca Imperialis literarum universitatis Petropolitanae adservantur confecerunt, St. Petersburg, 1888.

S. M. Shapshal, “Valentin Alekseevich Zhukovskiĭ,” Ocherki, pp. 131-34.

Skazki popugaya, facsimil’noe izdanie persidskogo teksta V. A. Zhukovskogo s predisloviem F. I. Abdullaevoĭ (Tales of Parrot: Facsimile Edition of Zhukovskiĭ’s Text with Introduction by F. I. Abdullaeva), St. Petersburg, 2006.

O. I. Smirnova, “Mesto truda Zhukovskogo ‘Drevnosti’” (The Place of Zhukovskiĭ’s Work “Drevnosti),” Ocherki, pp. 50-9.

A. T. Tagirdzhanov, “Divan Baba Kuhi v issledovaniyakh V. A. Zhukovskogo” (Divan of Bābā Kuhi in the Studies of V. A. Zhukovskiĭ), Ocherki, pp. 59-62.

S. V. Zhukovskiĭ, “Moĭ otets” (My Father), Ocherki, pp. 125-31.

Obituaries. V. V. Barthold, “Pamyati Zhukovskogo” (In Memory of Zhukovskiĭ), ZVORAO 25, 1918-21, pp. 399-414.

S. F. Oldenburg, “Valentin Alekseevich Zhukovskiĭ (1858-1918). Popytka kharakterististiki deyatel’nosti uchenogo” (Valentin Alekseevich Zhukovskiĭ [1858-1918]. An Attempt to Characterize the Activities of the Scholar), Izvestiya Akademii Nauk, 1918 (1919), pp. 2039-68.

(Firuza Abdullaeva)

Originally Published: August 15, 2009

Last Updated: August 15, 2009