My Sister

  • Sofya Kovalevskaya


But incomparably stronger than all the other influences which affected my childhood was the influence of my sister Anyuta. The emotion I felt for her from my earliest years was a very complicated one. I admired her beyond bounds, yielded to her unquestioningly in all things and felt highly ifattered whenever she allowed me to take part in anything with which she herself was concerned.


Summer Evening RUSSIAN Childhood Great Sinner Home Theatrical Clear Voice 
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  1. 1.
    The Polish uprising of 1863 was the third since Poland’s three partitions by Russia, Austria and Prussia (in 1775, 1793 and 1797), and the one most violently suppressed by the Russian rulers. The first abortive revolt, led by the American Revolutionary War hero Thaddeus Kosciuszko, lasted perhaps two weeks. In 1815, during the reign of Alexander I, the Kingdom of Poland—while geographically a part of the Russian Empire—still retained a degree of autonomy in its internal life and possessed a liberal constitution. The Polish insurrection of 1830, an effort to win back Poland’s lost provinces and its independence, was sufficient excuse for Nicholas I, Alexander’s successor, to abolish the constitution and place Poland under a military regime for the remainder of his reign. After the uprising of 1863, ferociously suppressed by Muravyov (“the Hangman”), the imperial policy of compulsory Russification was applied with particular heavy-handedness to Poland, which was placed under enormous pressure to abandon its national traditions and language and to acknowledge the superiority of Russian culture.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Elizaveta Fyodorovna’s diary bears witness to Anyuta’s emotional state during this period: Anyuta is bored, is wishing for she doesn’t know what, those “delights of life” she has not as yet experienced. Even though I don’t approve of her views on life, when I look at her I understand the dreams and urges of youth, which cost me so dearly. (June 23, 1864)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Kovalevskaya’s account differs considerably from the denouement as given in Bulwer-Lytton’s novel.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Beatrice Stillman 1978

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  • Sofya Kovalevskaya

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