Vasily Avenarius

Vasily Avenarius (1839-1923)

Dramatist, writer of children's literature, and translator (b. 1839 in Tsarskoye Selo; d. 1923), born Vasily Petrovich Avenarius (Василий Петрович Авенариус).

After serving in the economic department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Avenarius became a senior figure in the Department of Public Education, He is remembered almost exclusively for his books for children, but also wrote popular biographies of literary figures (including Pushkin and Gogol), historical novels, and even ventured into the genre of science fiction.

Tchaikovsky became acquainted with Avenarius in the Moscow artistic circle of the 1870s, and the two men had a brief exchange of letters when Avenarius proposed that Tchaikovsky should write an opera on the Russian epic folk tale Dobrynya Nikitich, although ultimately this idea came to nothing.

Correspondence with Tchaikovsky

One letter from Tchaikovsky to Vasily Avenarius has survived, dating from 1876, and has been translated into English on this website: