Dmitry Narkisovich Mamin-Sibiryak (Russian: Дми́трий
Нарки́сович Ма́мин-Сибиря́к) (October 25,
1852 – November 2, 1912) was a Russian author most famous for his
novels and short stories about life in the Ural Mountains.
1.1 Early life
2.1 English translations
Mamin-Sibiryak was born in Visim,
Perm Governorate in the Urals (in
present-day Sverdlovsk Oblast), into the family of a factory
priest. He was first educated at home, and then studied in the
Visim school for worker's children. He later attended the
Yekaterinburg Theological Seminary (1866–1868) and the Perm
Theological Seminary (until 1872). In 1872 he entered the veterinary
section of the
Saint Petersburg Medical Academy. In 1876, not having
finished the academy, he transferred to the Law Faculty of St
Petersburg University. He studied there for one year and then left,
due to health (the beginning of tuberculosis) and financial
In the summer of 1877, he returned to his family in the Urals. His
father died the following year and all the difficulties of the family
fell on Mamin-Sibiryak. In order to find work and educate his
brothers and sister the family moved to the large cultural center of
Yekaterinburg. There, he married Maria Alekseeva who became his
literary adviser as well as his spouse and friend. During these years,
he made numerous trips around the Ural region and studied its history,
economics, ethnography, and daily life.
From the beginning of the 1880s, he was occupied with literary work.
In 1890, he divorced his first wife and married the actress M.
Abramova from the Yekaterinburg Dramatic Theatre and moved to St
Petersburg. Abramova died a year later, leaving a sick daughter,
Alyonushka, in the arms of a distraught father.
A series of travel sketches From the Urals to Moscow (1881–1882)
were published in the Moscow newspaper Russkie Vedemosti (Russian
News). Then his sketches In the Mountains and stories At the Border of
Asia and In Bad Souls were published in the journal Delo. Many were
signed with the pseudonym D. Sibiryak.
Sibiryak means "Siberian" in Russian. Dmitry later explained how his
friends gave him the name:
"I first tried out the names 'Rasskazov' (from the word rasskazy,
meaning story) and 'Tomsky' (from the word tom, meaning volume), but
they weren't right! My name was an object of fun to my fellow
ordinands. Why were we 'Mamin' (momma's boys) and not 'Tyatin'
(daddy's boys)? They decided the best pseudonym was Sibiryak. After
all, Yekaterinburg is the other side of the Urals, and Russians regard
everything beyond the Urals, including Siberia, as all one!"
His first major work was The Privalov Fortune (1883) which was
serialized to great success in the journal Delo. The publication of
the novel Mountain Nest in 1884 in the journal Otechestvennye
Zapiski (Notes of the Fatherland) cemented the reputation of
Mamin-Sibiryak as an accomplished realist.
Repeated trips to the capital (1881–2, 1885–6) extended
Mamin-Sibiryak’s literary contacts. He became acquainted with Anton
Chekhov, Gleb Uspensky,
Vladimir Korolenko and others. During these
years, he wrote and published many short stories and sketches. From
1899 until his death, he was associated with the Sreda literary group,
and the Znanie publishing company, ran by fellow Sreda member Maxim
His last major works were the novels Traits from the Life of Pepko
(1894), Falling Stars (1899) and the story "Mumma" (1907).
In his novels and stories he portrayed the life of the Urals and
Siberia in the reform years of the development of capitalism in Russia
and the consequent rifts in public consciousness, legal norms and
morals. His most well known works are The Privalov Fortune (1883),
Mountain Nest (1884), Gold (1892), Bread (1895), the novella Okhonna's
Brows (1892) and the collections Ural Stories (1895) and Siberian
His widely known children's books included Tales for Alyonushka
(1894–1896), Grey Neck (1893), and Summer Lightning (1897).
Mamin-Sibiryak (center), with
Anton Chekhov (left) and Ignaty
The Privalov Fortune, (novel), Foreign Languages Publishing House,
Misgir, and The Father Elect, (stories), from Little Russian
Masterpieces, Vol 2, G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York and London, 1920.
Verotchka's Tales, (children's stories), E.P. Dutton & Company,
New York, 1922. from Archive.org
Wintering Station on Chill River, (story), from A Bilingual Collection
of Russian Short Stories, Vol 1, Random House, 1965.
Tales For Alyonushka, (children's stories), Progress Publishers,
A Gold Nugget, (story), from In the Depths: Russian Stories, Raduga
Publishers, Moscow, 1987.
^ Introduction to A Gold Nugget, Raduga Publishers, Moscow, 1987.
^ a b c d e The Cambridge History of Russian Literature, Cambridge
University Press, 1996.
^ Dictionary of Pseudonyms: 13,000 Assumed Names and Their Origins,
Adrian Room, MacFarland and Co, 2010.
^ A Writer Remembers, Nikolay Teleshov, Hutchinson, NY, 1943.
ISNI: 0000 0001 2135 8069
BNF: cb12561977v (data)