My Uncle Pyotr Vasilievich Krukovsky

  • Sofya Kovalevskaya


This conviction that my family loved me less than the other children disturbed me deeply, especially because the craving for an intense and exclusive attachment developed in me very early. The result was that the moment any of our relatives or friends showed a little more preference for me than for my brother or my sister, I immediately began to feel for that person an emotion verging on adoration.


Character Weakness RUSSIAN Childhood Siamese Twin Wealthy Landowner Ordinary Mortal 
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  1. 1.
    In actuality he had two sons, Andrey and Alexander. Kovalevskaya’s description of her uncle contains several errors. 2. Paul Bert (1833–86), French physiologist and zoologist, student and collaborator of Claude Bernard, worked in animal transplantation not for the purpose of experimental surgery, but as a contribution to the physiological problem of the adaptation of transplanted organs and tissues to a new environment. The experiment referred to here is the so-called “double monster,” in which two rats were united by suturing their skins together.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    The reference is to Helmholtz’s researches on the conservation of energy.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Actually he was an artillery officer for a time, a second lieutenant in the First Army. He retired from army service in 1826.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Mikhail Vasilievich Ostrogradsky (1801–61), member of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences and author of numerous articles on mathematical analysis and its application.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Kovalevskaya was then about eleven years old.Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    There is a discrepancy here. In her Autobiographical Sketch (see p. 213) Kovalevskaya says that she studied calculus with Strannolyubsky the year before her marriage; that would make her seventeen and not fifteen.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    Alexander Nikolayevich Strannolyubsky (1839–1903) was a wellknown teacher of mathematics and a strong proponent of higher education for women (he taught for the Alarchin Women’s Courses). An educational innovator, he opposed the use of compulsion and reward in educating the young, encouraged the teaching of craft skills, introduced field trips to factories into the school curriculum. He was extremely popular in Petersburg radical youth circles during the 1860s and 70s.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Beatrice Stillman 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sofya Kovalevskaya

There are no affiliations available

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