Znanie (publishing company)

Last updated
Founded 1898
Founder Konstantin Pyatnitsky
Defunct 1913
Headquarters St Petersburg , Russia
Key people
Maxim Gorky
Products Books, pamphlets

Znanie (Russian : Зна́ние, Znaniye/Znanije; English: Knowledge) was a publishing company based in St. Petersburg, Russia founded by Konstantin Pyatnitsky and other members of the Committee for Literacy. It operated from 1898 to 1913.

Russian language East Slavic language

Russian is an East Slavic language, which is official in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as being widely used throughout Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It was the de facto language of the Soviet Union until its dissolution on 25 December 1991. Although, nowadays, nearly three decades after the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian is used in official capacity or in public life in all the post-Soviet nation-states, as well as in Israel and Mongolia, the rise of state-specific varieties of this language tends to be strongly denied in Russia, in line with the Russian World ideology.

Konstantin Pyatnitsky Russian publisher and memoirist

Konstantin Petrovich Pyatnitsky was a Russian journalist, publisher and memoirist. Pyatnitsky was a co-founder of Znanie and one–time close associate of Maxim Gorky.



Znanie initially published books for a mass audience on natural science, history, education, and art. Maxim Gorky joined Znanie in 1900 and became its director in late 1902. Through Znanie, Gorky brought together many of the best known realist writers of the time. Znanie published the collected works of Gorky (9 vols.), Alexander Serafimovich, Alexander Kuprin, Vikenty Veresaev, Stepan Skitalets, Nikolai Teleshov and many others. [1] [2]

Maxim Gorky Russian and Soviet writer

Alexei Maximovich Peshkov, primarily known as Maxim Gorky, was a Russian and Soviet writer, a founder of the socialist realism literary method, and a political activist. He was also a five-time nominee for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Around fifteen years before success as a writer, he frequently changed jobs and roamed across the Russian Empire; these experiences would later influence his writing. Gorky's most famous works were The Lower Depths (1902), Twenty-six Men and a Girl (1899), The Song of the Stormy Petrel (1901), My Childhood (1913–1914), Mother (1906), Summerfolk (1904) and Children of the Sun (1905). He had an association with fellow Russian writers Leo Tolstoy and Anton Chekhov; Gorky would later mention them in his memoirs.

Alexander Serafimovich Russian and Soviet writer

Alexander Serafimovich was a Russian/Soviet writer and a member of the Moscow literary group Sreda.

Vikenty Veresaev Russian doctor and writer

Vikenty Vikentyevich Smidovich, better known by his pen name Vikenty Vikentyevich Veresaev, was a Russian writer and medical doctor of Polish descent.

Znanie became known as the most progressive of all Russian publishing houses directed toward broad democratic reader-ships. In 1904 the publishing house began issuing the Znanie Collections, which brought together short stories, novels, poetry and essays written by Russian writers, and by foreign writers such as Emile Verhaeren, publishing 40 volumes by 1913. Vladimir Lenin wrote that Gorky was aiming through these collections "at a concentration of the best forces of Russian literature." The circulation of the collections reached 65,000 copies. They included the works of Gorky, Anton Chekhov, Kuprin, Serafimovich, Leonid Andreev, Ivan Bunin, Veresaev, Dmitry Mamin-Sibiryak, Sergey Gusev-Orenburgsky, Evgeny Chirikov and Nikolai Garin-Mikhailovsky, among others. [1] [2]

Vladimir Lenin Russian politician, communist theorist and first leader of Soviet Russia

Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, better known by the alias Lenin, was a Russian revolutionary, politician, and political theorist. He served as head of government of Soviet Russia from 1917 to 1924 and of the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1924. Under his administration, Russia and then the wider Soviet Union became a one-party communist state governed by the Russian Communist Party. Ideologically a communist, he developed a variant of Marxism known as Leninism.

Anton Chekhov Russian dramatist, author and physician

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was a Russian playwright and short-story writer, who is considered to be among the greatest writers of short fiction in history. His career as a playwright produced four classics, and his best short stories are held in high esteem by writers and critics. Along with Henrik Ibsen and August Strindberg, Chekhov is often referred to as one of the three seminal figures in the birth of early modernism in the theatre. Chekhov practiced as a medical doctor throughout most of his literary career: "Medicine is my lawful wife", he once said, "and literature is my mistress."

Ivan Bunin Russian writer and poet

Ivan Alekseyevich Bunin was the first Russian writer awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was noted for the strict artistry with which he carried on the classical Russian traditions in the writing of prose and poetry. The texture of his poems and stories, sometimes referred to as "Bunin brocade", is considered to be one of the richest in the language.

Maxim Gorky, Konstantin Pyatnitsky and Stepan Skitalets, 1902. Gorky, Piatnitsky and Skitalets.jpg
Maxim Gorky, Konstantin Pyatnitsky and Stepan Skitalets, 1902.

The writers featured in the collections from 1905 to 1907 were united in their protest against tsarism, oppression, national discord, religious prejudice, and bourgeois morality. Gorky and Serafimovich, on one hand, used socialist realism; Andreyev and certain others, however, were subject to the influences of the decadent movement. After the 1905 Russian Revolution this difference became more marked. In 1911 principal editorship of the Znanie collections was transferred to Viktor Mirolyubov. [1]

1905 Russian Revolution wave of mass political and social unrest that spread through vast areas of the Russian Empire

The Russian Revolution of 1905 was a wave of mass political and social unrest that spread through vast areas of the Russian Empire, some of which was directed at the government. It included worker strikes, peasant unrest, and military mutinies. It led to Constitutional Reform including the establishment of the State Duma, the multi-party system, and the Russian Constitution of 1906.

Viktor Mirolyubov Russian editor and publisher

Viktor Sergeyevich Mirolyubov was a Russian journalist, editor and publisher. Having started out as an opera singer, he became widely known for his work as a head of Zhurnal Dlya Vsekh, originally a minor publication which he then bought out to turn into one of the leading literary Russian magazines of the time. In 1901 Mirolyubov became a co-founder of the Religious-Philosophic Meetings (1901–1903).

In addition to publishing the collected works of young writers and the Znanie Collections, the Znanie Association issued the so-called Penny Library, in which the short works of Znanie writers were published. Gorky also carried out assignments for the Bolsheviks, publishing a series of sociopolitical pamphlets, including the works of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Paul Lafargue and August Bebel. The Penny Library issued over 300 publications, with editions totaling nearly four million copies. [1]

Bolsheviks faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party

The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists or Bolsheviki, were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party (RSDLP) which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903. The RSDLP was a revolutionary socialist political party formed in 1898 in Minsk in Belarus to unite the various revolutionary organisations of the Russian Empire into one party.

Karl Marx Revolutionary socialist

Karl Marx was a German philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist and socialist revolutionary.

Friedrich Engels German social scientist, author, political theorist, and philosopher

Friedrich Engels was a German philosopher, communist, social scientist, journalist and businessman. His father was an owner of large textile factories in Salford, England and in Barmen, Prussia.

During the period of reaction after the 1905 Russian Revolution many participants in Znanie left the publishing house. Gorky, forced to live abroad during this period, severed his ties with the publishing house in 1912. [1]

See also

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979).
  2. 1 2 A Writer Remembers, Teleshov, Hutchinson, NY, 1943.