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With and Without Galton

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Nikolai Krementsov

I. “Hygienic” and “Rational” marriage

1. The Author: Vasilii Florinskii

Texte intégral

“Now I have the only heart-felt desire — to bring to my Fatherland as much benefit as possible, specifically, by acting in that area where I could be most useful.”
Vasilii Florinskii, 6 October 1861

  • 1 For the most voluminous accounts of Galton’s life and works, see, Charles P. Blacker, Eugenics: Ga (...)
  • 2 F. Galton, Memories of My Life (London: Methuen, 1909), pp. 287-88.

1The English and Russian progenitors of “eugenics” were born on the same day, twelve years — and a whole world — apart. Francis Galton was born on 16 February 1822 to a family of successful gun-manufacturers and bankers at the family estate “The Larches” in Birmingham, England.1 By all accounts, the youngest of nine children (seven of whom survived infancy) sired by Samuel Tertius Galton and Violetta Darwin was a prodigy: he started to read at two, by five learned some Greek, Latin, and arithmetic, and by the age of six could write eloquent letters and recite Shakespeare at length. Initially schooled at home by his older sister, Galton attended the famed King Edward’s School for boys in Birmingham. At the age of sixteen, at the insistence of his parents, who obviously wanted their son to follow in the footsteps of his illustrious maternal grandfather Erasmus Darwin, Galton began studies of medicine, first by apprenticing for a year at Birmingham General Hospital and then at King’s College Medical School in London. As for his cousin Charles Darwin, for Galton, the medical profession proved uninspiring, and in 1840 he took up the study of mathematics at the Trinity College of the University of Cambridge. Four years later, just as he was finishing his degree, the death of his father made him financially independent. From that time on, young Galton led the leisurely life of an educated upper-class English gentleman, enjoying hunting, extensive travels, and occasional pursuits in various fields of science, ranging from geography and anthropology to meteorology, statistics, and psychology. In 1865, at the age of 43, inspired by his cousin’s Origin of Species, Galton first turned his attention to the issues that “clustered round the central topics of Heredity and the possible improvement of the Human Race”2 and that some twenty years later he would name eugenics.

  • 3 This is the date on Florinskii’s birth certificate. However, until the Bolshevik Revolution, Russi (...)

2Vasilii Florinskii was born on the same date, 16 February,3 twelve years after Galton, in 1834, in the ancient village Frolovskoe of the Vladimir province in Central Russia, to the family of a low-rank cleric: his father was a deacon in the village church. The boy was meant to continue in his father’s footsteps: at the age of nine, he entered a primary theological school and at nineteen graduated from a theological seminary. But young Florinskii clearly aspired to something other than being a village priest and applied to the highest theology school, an academy. Destiny, however, is greater than family tradition. An accident barred the doors of the theological academy to the ambitious youth. So, instead, he enrolled in a medical school and became a physician, switching almost seamlessly from theology to gynecology. His teachers noticed Florinskii’s abilities and slated the freshly minted physician to a professorial position at his alma mater. In 1861, he successfully defended his dissertation for the Doctor of Medicine degree and went on a two-year, all expenses-paid tour of European medical schools and clinics for advanced training. Upon his return, he was appointed an adjunct professor and began a successful career as a teacher, researcher, and clinician. Two years later he published “Human Perfection and Degeneration.”

3Numerous scholars have examined in detail the path that led Galton to eugenics. In what follows I take a close look at the multitude of individuals, events, ideas, places, institutions, and ideals, which all together and each separately shaped the future author of its Russian variant.

Born to Be a Priest

  • 4 For a detailed analysis of the social history of the Russian clergy, see Gregory L. Freeze, The Ru (...)
  • 5 For a detailed, three-volume history of this seminary, see N. V. Malitskii, Istoriia Vladimirskoi (...)
  • 6 My reconstruction of Florinskii’s early life is largely based on his unpublished memoirs, “Thought (...)

4In mid-nineteenth-century Russia, the Orthodox Church was a nearly 1,000-year-old institution. Its doctrine was the official state religion of the multiethnic and poly-confessional empire. Its numerous clerics constituted a particular social estate (soslovie) with its own hierarchy, privileges, and duties.4 Deacon was the lowest rank of the ordained clergy in the Orthodox Church, and Vasilii’s father did not even have a proper family name. He was known only by his given name, Mark, and his patronymic Iakovlev (son of Iakov). Unless they joined monastic orders— the so-called Black Clergy— Russian clergymen were obliged to marry. Indeed, marriage was a requirement for obtaining a parish and the position of a priest. Mark Iakovlev got married right after graduation from Vladimir Theological Seminary in 1820.5 But he was unable to acquire a parish of his own. In the 1820s and 1830s, Russian theological schools produced many more graduates than there were parishes available. The position of a priest became, in a way, “hereditary”: a priest would pass his parish on either to a son, or to a son-in-law. Mark’s father was merely a deacon, as was his wife’s father. Thus he could not count on “inheriting” a parish and had to be content with serving as a deacon. His wife Maria kept the house and bore the young deacon numerous offspring.6 Vasilii was the seventh of nine children (though three of his older siblings died in infancy).

  • 7 See O. Penezhko, Gorod Iur’ev-Pol’skii, khramy Iur’ev-Pol’skogo raiona (Vladimir: n. p., 2005), p. (...)

5The life of low-level clerics differed little from that of their congregations. Deacon’s pay was a pittance, barely enough to put bread on the table, and any additional income depended heavily on parishioners’ donations and payments for church services. To make matters worse, in 1828, Frolovskoe’s old wooden church burned down in a fire ignited by a lightning strike.7 The construction of a new brick building took ten years and, until 1838, when the new church was consecrated, its clerics could count on very little earnings. To make ends meet Vasilii’s parents had to till the land alongside the village’s serfs. Mark Iakovlev enjoyed gardening and under his care the church’s garden became widely known for the variety and quality of fruit it produced, providing additional income for the deacon’s growing family. Vasilii and his older brother Ivan (born in 1832) would have soon joined their older sisters (born in 1821 and 1823) in the family’s labors, if it were not for a lucky break in their father’s career.

  • 8 Florinskii relayed the story of his family name in his “Thoughts and Reminiscences.” See NRMT, #20 (...)

6In 1837, Archbishop Arkadii of the Perm province appointed Mark Iakovlev a priest to a yet to be built church in the village of Peski (Sands), located in the south-east corner of the province, some 600 kilometers from his own seat in the province’s capital, Perm. Thus, at the age of 37, Vasilii’s father finally obtained his own parish. It was a great advancement for the deacon of a rural church, aptly manifested in his acquisition of a proper family name. Mark thought of adopting the name Frolovskii (after his native village), or Zaural’skii (in honor of his new residence beyond the Urals), but in the end, he chose the name Florinskii, to mark — in a Latinized form — his fondness for gardening.8

  • 9 Mikhail’s wife was the younger sister of Mikhail Speranskii, a graduate of the same Vladimir Semin (...)
  • 10 For detailed biographical information on Grigorii Fedorov, see E. A. Popov, Velikopermskaia i Perm (...)

7If truth be told, luck had little to do with Mark Iakovlev’s promotion. Rather, it was nepotism, pure and simple. Mark’s father died when he was still a boy and it was his mother’s family who took care of the young widow and her son. Mark’s mother Praskoviia Fedorova was the daughter of a deacon at another village church in the same Vladimir province. Her two older brothers, Mikhail and Grigorii, had followed in their father’s footsteps. Both had graduated from Vladimir Theological Seminary and became clerics. Mikhail got married and, thanks to his wife’s family connections, became a priest at yet another village church in the same province.9 It was in Mikhail’s house that Praskoviia had lived after her husband’s death, until her son finished his education and obtained his first position at the Frolovskoe church. Grigorii pursued a different path. He took monastic vows and made an illustrious career within the church hierarchy. The secular name of the Perm Archbishop Arkadii was Grigorii Fedorov.10 It was Mark’s uncle who secured his new appointment.

  • 11 Even at the end of the nineteenth century (when the first country-wide census was taken), its popu (...)

8The Perm province stretched over a huge territory (50 per cent larger than the entire United Kingdom) on both the European and Asian sides of the Ural Mountains. Its subsoils were rich in minerals, ores, gold, and gemstones. Its forests teemed with game and rivers with fish. But it had almost no roads and was very sparsely populated.11 Since the reign of Catherine the Great in the second half of the eighteenth century, runaway serfs (as well as exiles and prisoners who had served their sentences in the depths of Siberia) were granted freedom and pardon for all their previous crimes if they settled on the “empty” lands beyond the Urals. This policy paid off, especially in the southern parts of the province where fertile soils and a temperate climate created favorable conditions for agriculture. Peski was just such a settlement founded by run-away serfs in the late eighteenth century on the shores of a small lake, Peschannoe (Sandy), that gave the village its name.

9In the mid-1830s Peski was home to nearly 800 “souls.” The villagers raised cattle and grew rye, oats, and wheat, as well as some vegetables. They sold their produce at a market in the nearby town of Dalmatov that had grown in the seventeenth century around the eponymous monastery on the shores of the Iset’ river. There was plenty of land to cultivate and the village grew and prospered. But it lacked the traditional center of village social life — a church. The nearest one was almost twenty kilometers away. The villagers had to make a long journey every time they needed church services, be it a baptism, communion, marriage, or funeral, not to mention celebrations of such major holidays as Christmas and Easter. In 1836, the village council, which included heads of all households, decided it was time to build their own church. They allotted a plot of land for the church and its priest, and petitioned the province’s archbishop to formally establish a parish in Peski and to appoint a priest to serve it. Archbishop Arkadii granted the petition and then promptly gave the new parish to his nephew. Admittedly, Mark Florinskii was well qualified for the position: his experience with overseeing the church construction in Frolovskoe was a great advantage for his new post that first and foremost required building a church.

  • 12 See, for instance, a description of the travel on that road, though in the opposite direction, som (...)

10It took over three months for the Florinskii family to make the 2,000-kilometer journey from Frolovskoe to Peski, most of it along the Great Siberian Tract — the infamous chain-gang route, stretching from the country’s historic capital Moscow to the hard-labor prisons of Siberia, and farther on to China.12 A caravan of horse-driven carts carried the family with all their possessions east, first to the capital of their home province Vladimir. From Vladimir, they crossed the Russian plain, passing through its major cities, Nizhnii Novgorod and Kazan, all the way towards the Urals. They traversed numerous rivers, including the mighty Volga and its largest tributary Kama, upon whose shores stood the Perm province’s capital. The caravan stopped for a few days in Perm. Mark Florinskii had to see the Archbishop to be formally ordained as a priest and to get the necessary paperwork and instructions.

  • 13 On the 1837 trip of the future Emperor Alexander II through his domains, see L. G. Zakharova and L (...)
  • 14 On the contemporary views of Siberia as a “promised land,” see Mark Bassin, “Inventing Siberia: Vi (...)

11From Perm, they trekked across the Urals and turned south to Ekaterinburg, the province’s second largest city renowned for its metal works. About forty kilometers before it reached Ekaterinburg, the caravan came to a tall wooden pyramid sitting on the side of the road in the middle of the endless forest. On two of its sides, the pyramid carried one-word inscriptions. The one on the western side read “Europe,” the one on the eastern side “Asia.” Marking the border between the two continents, the pyramid had been erected just a few months earlier, in the spring of 1837, in preparation for a visit by the imperial heir, Grand Duke Alexander Nikolaevich, who had been travelling through his future empire in the company of his tutor, poet Vasilii Zhukovskii.13 Perhaps, Florinskii Sr. showed the pyramid to his older children and told them that they were following in the footsteps of their future emperor and that at this point they were entering a new “promised land” — Siberia.14 After Ekaterinburg, the tract ran along the Iset’ river to Dalmatov. And from Dalmatov, it was just forty kilometers more on a smallish side-road to Peski.

  • 15 The remnants of this garden have survived to this day, but only the foundation of the old church r (...)
  • 16 At the Church of the Holy Virgin he had built, Father Mark served his parishioners as best he coul (...)

12At the end of the summer of 1837, Florinskii, accompanied by his mother, wife, and five children (Vasilii’s younger brother, also named Ivan, had been born just a few months before the trip) arrived at their destination. The first task of Father Mark, as his parishioners called him, was to oversee the construction of his new church and his own house. The church was to be the village’s first stone building and all the villagers took part in its construction: digging trenches for its foundation, making bricks for its walls, and cutting trees for its rafters. A year later, the church’s first altar chapel was completed and consecrated, and Father Mark could begin proper liturgical services. The same year, he built a large house for his family and started a new church garden.15 But it took nearly fifteen years to complete the construction of his church, modelled to a certain degree on the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in St. Petersburg, though of course on a much smaller scale, with a tall bell tower and a large portico adorned with four columns.16

13As a child, Vasilii very much enjoyed his life in Peski. In the summers, he went exploring nearby forests and meadows, swimming and fishing in the lake, or helping his father in the church garden. In the winters, he loved to listen to the stories of the village’s elders about events and times long gone: the conquest of Siberia, the Pugachev rebellion, or the skirmishes with local nomadic tribes, the Bashkirs. He began collecting old coins, buttons, arrowheads, and other objects related to the history of his new homeland, which he could dig out, especially from old burial mounds (kurgany), during his excursions in the village environs. As he wrote in his memoirs many years later, “…nearly everything I had achieved in my life, I owe to Peski…. My physical and spiritual development was deeply influenced by its nature and its surroundings” [ZV, 11].

  • 17 It is preserved among his personal papers kept in the NMRT, “Psaltyr’.”

14Judging by available materials, Vasilii grew up in a very traditional clerical family, with father, as a kind and benevolent patriarch, mother, as the loving and generous center of the household, and several siblings of various ages who always supported and helped each other. At the age of six, Vasilii’s father taught him how to read and the boy fell in love with books. He kept the copy of the Book of Psalms that his father had used for his reading lessons for the rest of his life.17 On Sundays, probably with his father’s encouragement and permission, he often read out loud excerpts from some edifying texts, such as the Lives of Saints, the Book of Psalms, or the Book of Hours, to the villagers gathered in the church between the morning prayers and the midday liturgy services. But his personal favorites were Russian epics and folk tales. The cheap (lubok) imprints of classic epics, as well as the more expensive editions of Alexander Pushkin’s and Petr Ershov’s literary renderings of folktales, reached Peski on the backs of traveling salesmen (korobeiniki). They were Vasilii’s most treasured possessions, even though he soon knew them all by heart. The books fired up his imagination and, on his ventures through the village’s environs, he often daydreamed about being an epic knight (bogatyr’) fighting off some evil creatures invading his native land and his beloved Peski.

  • 18 For an English translation, see N. G. Pomyalovsky, Seminary Sketches, transl. by Alfred Kuhn (Itha (...)

15But the worry-free childhood soon came to an end. He was expected to follow in his father’s footsteps and eventually became a priest. In the fall of 1843, Vasilii Florinskii tailed his older brother Ivan (in the family he was called “Big” to distinguish him from Vasilii’s younger brother also named Ivan, who was called “Little”) to a bursa, a primary theological school (dukhovnoe uchilishche) at the Dalmatov Monastery. He would spend the next five years there, returning to Peski only for summer vacations and brief Christmas and Easter holidays. The Dalmatov Monastery had largely been constructed in the late seventeenth century and its theological school occupied an old, dilapidated, dirty one-story building. The monastery’s Father Superior Mefodii served as the school’s principal. Students nicknamed him the Monster. He was a mean, cruel man and his main pedagogical principle was the indiscriminate use of corporal punishment. Any misstep — a poorly prepared lesson, talking during class, or shuffling during the prayer — was punished by birching. For repeated misbehavior, students often were put in the stocks or made to wear iron collars. Many years later, after reading a horrifying fictionalized exposé of students’ life in Nikolai Pomialovskii’s famous Bursa Sketches,18 Florinskii noted that his school “was even worse” than the one described by Pomialovskii [ZV, 54-55].

16Florinskii, fortunately, was spared the worst of the bursa’s life. His father could afford to pay for room and board at a private house, so he did not have to sleep in the school cold dorm, nor eat at the monastery nasty kitchen, as did other students. Being a grand-nephew of the Perm Archbishop — the Monster’s direct superior — certainly protected him from the habitual cruelty of his teachers, while having an older brother in the same school shielded him somewhat from the customary taunting and hazing by fellow students. Plus, he loved to learn and quickly became the school’s star student, thus giving his teachers little cause to punish him. Even so, Florinskii remembered his years at the bursa as “the darkest period of my life” [ZV, 53].

17The school programme included Russian, Latin, Greek, and Old Church Slavonic languages, arithmetic, geography, the Old and New Testament, catechism, the rules of church service (the Typikon), and church singing. Florinskii was a diligent and capable student. Alas, his teachers were incompetent and inept. In his memory, they “were so bad, they could not, and did not really want to, explain anything” [ZV, 57]. Students learned by rote, memorizing assigned pages from their textbooks and paying no attention to their meaning. “The five years at the [Dalmatov] school did little to advance my education,” Florinskii later recalled, “only in Latin did we learn something, mostly to translate from Latin to Russian” [ZV, 58].

  • 19 For a detailed, three-volume history of this seminary, see [I. E. Lagovskii], Istoriia Permskoi du (...)

18In the spring of 1848, Vasilii Florinskii graduated at the top of his class and, again following his older brother, he enrolled in Perm Theological Seminary to continue his education.19 In late August the Florinskii brothers made the 600-kilometer trip to Perm, where for Vasilii “an entirely new life has begun” [ZV, 58]. Founded in the early eighteenth century as the center of mining and metallurgy on the western slopes of the Ural Mountains, Perm became the provincial capital half a century later, during the reign of Catherine the Great. In the 1840s it was a large city with more than 15,000 inhabitants and several metallurgical plants and munition factories. In 1842, a great fire almost completely destroyed the old “wooden” town, occasioning wide-scale reconstruction and rebuilding. As the seat of both the state and the church provincial authorities, the city boasted a number of administrative offices, as well as a hospital, a gymnasium, a theater, and a public library. After a sleepy small-town life in Dalmatov, Perm might have looked to Florinskii like a world capital. Fortunately, he had his older brother to help him navigate the city life. The brothers rented a small apartment in the house of a low-ranking civil servant not far from the seminary. They regularly visited their great-uncle Archbishop Arkadii at his official residence in the center city and often borrowed books from his extensive private library. But, of course, most of their time they spent at school.

19Perm Seminary differed drastically from the Dalmatov bursa, even in appearance: it occupied a recently constructed three-story brick building in the city center (see fig. 1-1). In addition to a variety of theological courses, its six-year curriculum included such subjects as literature, history, philosophy, psychology, the German language, as well as some basics of the natural sciences, agriculture, and medicine, which were all completely new for Florinskii. More important, the seminary’s instructors subscribed to “an entirely different system of education” [ZV, 58]. Unlike his bursa teachers, Florinskii’s new professors were highly-educated graduates of theological academies: “true teachers and kind mentors.” They “knew their subjects very well and knew how to teach and how to make students interested in learning” [ZV, 59]. Florinskii took to his new school like a fish takes to water, earning top-marks in every subject.

Fig. 1-1. Perm Seminary, a postcard (c. 1900). This three-story brick house was constructed across a square from the city’s main cathedral in 1843, after the old wooden building had been destroyed in the fire. In the mid-1930s it was completely reconstructed (with addition of two extra floors) to house an air-force school for the Red Army. Courtesy of RNB.

  • 20 P. A. Kropotkin, Zapiski revoliutsionera (London: Izdanie vol’noi russkoi pressy, 1902), p. 82.
  • 21 For a brief biographical sketch of Vishniakov, see [Lagovskii], Istoriia Permskoi dukhovnoi semina (...)

20Several teachers won Florinskii’s particular admiration and left a profound imprint on his worldview, ambitions, and interests. His junior contemporary, an eminent naturalist and a leader of Russian anarchism, Prince Petr Kropotkin, pointedly noted in his famous Memoirs of a Revolutionary that, unlike in western Europe and North America, “there were no prominent individuals in Russia who did not get the first stimulus to their development from a literature teacher.”20 Although Kropotkin’s statement might seem exaggerated, it certainly holds true for Florinskii. Since childhood Florinskii loved to read, but the range of books he had had access to had been very circumscribed and limited mostly to religious and instructional literature. The bursa library had no secular literature at all. Only at home, during vacations, did he have a chance to read for pleasure, but in Peski books were a rarity and a luxury. All of this changed after Florinskii’s move to Perm. His teacher of Russian literature, Alexander Vishniakov, had graduated with honors from St. Petersburg Theological Academy just one year before Florinskii entered the Seminary.21 His teaching methods were as unorthodox as they were effective (at least for Florinskii). During the classes, instead of boring his students with grammatical rules and rhetorical principles, the young teacher read aloud the masterpieces of Russian poetry and prose. He was a talented lector and enchanted students with his readings of works by the giants of Russian literature: Alexander Pushkin, Alexander Griboedov, Nikolai Gogol, and Mikhail Lermontov. Vishniakov’s recitations “had not only showed us all the beauty of belles-lettres,” Florinskii recalled, “but, most important, they had ignited in us a love of literature. … From this time on, for us, reading had become a necessity” [ZV, 62].

  • 22 Moskovitianin (M., 1841-56), Biblioteka dlia chteniia (SPb., 1834-65), Otechestvennye zapiski (SPb (...)

21Vishniakov also introduced his students to “thick” journals such as The Muscovite, Reading Library, Annals of the Fatherland, and The Contemporary.22 These journals not only carried literary fiction by contemporary authors, including the early publications of such future greats as Ivan Turgenev, Fedor Dostoevsky, and Ivan Goncharov. They also published literary criticism and lengthy essays on history, philosophy, politics, economics, and science. As Florinskii recorded in his memoirs:

I owe the best parts of my spiritual development to The Contemporary of the end of the [eighteen] forties and beginning of the [eighteen] fifties. We read every newly-arrived issue from cover to cover. One ought to be a contemporary of The Contemporary [and] to remember the harsh times and [social] order, which had existed in the [eighteen] forties, to truly appreciate the influence of the new born literature [ZV, 72].

22Vishniakov encouraged in every way his students’ desire to read, often lending them books and journals from his personal library. But he did not limit his classes to reading. Every week each student had to hand in an essay in prose or verse about that week’s subject. And every week the teacher provided each student with detailed comments on his essay. As a way of motivating students, he sometimes read and analyzed the best essays in front of the class. He often invited students to see him outside the classroom to discuss their essays and always supported their attempts at creative writing. Florinskii was a frequent visitor to Vishniakov’s apartment, and under his teacher’s patient tutelage, he became quite an accomplished writer of both prose and poetry.

  • 23 For Makarii’s biography, see G. A. Polisadov, Vysokopreosviashchennyi Makarii (Nizhnii Novgorod: G (...)
  • 24 On Florinskii’s later contributions to these fields, see A. V. Zhuk, “Vasilii Markovich Florinskii (...)

23Another influential teacher was Father Makarii — the future Archbishop of the Nizhnii Novgorod and Novocherkask provinces (Nikolai Miroliubov, 1817-1894) — who served as deputy-principal and professor of church history.23 A graduate of Moscow Theological Academy, at the time of his tenure at Perm Seminary, Father Makarii already was a scholar of considerable repute, a member of the Imperial Archeological Society in St. Petersburg, and the author of several important studies. Along with his teaching and administrative duties, he conducted extensive historical and archeological research on local churches and religious artefacts. Florinskii often visited Father Makarii’s private quarters, which were “overflowing with books and manuscripts,” for after-class conversations. Father Makarii “was a true scholar who loved his studies and was set on planting the seeds of [historical] scholarship in our young hearts” [ZV, 59]. He had certainly succeeded in planting such seeds in Florinskii’s heart: Florinskii’s haphazard collecting of various historic artefacts during his childhood grew into a life-long passion for history and archeology.24

  • 25 For a brief sketch of Morigerovskii’s work at the seminary, see [Lagovskii], Istoriia Permskoi duk (...)
  • 26 For a detailed history of the Russian system of learned degrees in theology, see N. Iu. Sukhova, S (...)
  • 27 See V. N. Sazhin, “Aleksandr Nikiforovich Morigerovskii – obshchestvennyi deiatel’i izdatel’,” in (...)

24Florinskii’s favorite teacher, however, was Alexander Morigerovskii, a lecturer in logic, philosophy, and psychology.25 Vishniakov’s classmate at St. Petersburg Theological Academy, Morigerovskii had graduated at the top of his class with distinction, which allowed him to pursue an advanced degree. So while teaching at Perm Seminary, he was also working on a dissertation. In 1852, he successfully defended his thesis, which brought him a magister degree.26 Morigerovskii was an enthusiastic and engaging teacher: he even received a teaching award from the Holy Synod, the highest governing body of the Russian Orthodox Church. He was a devotee of the great German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, and, following his idol, tried to integrate the three subjects he taught (philosophy, logic, and psychology) into a unified conceptual whole. He introduced students to the classics, as well as the recent works, in all of these three fields, using his own research, as well as his notes taken during the lectures he himself had attended just a few years prior at St. Petersburg Theological Academy. He was an eloquent orator and got frequently carried away, deviating from the subject at hand into lengthy discourses on contemporary politics, philosophical doctrines, or his research. Morigerovskii regularly invited students to continue their in-class discussions at his private apartment, where he also regaled them with tales about his studies at St. Petersburg Theological Academy and about the attractions of St. Petersburg “where all of the spiritual interests of Russian life are concentrated” [ZV, 65]. Morigerovskii clearly missed the city and, in late 1852, after he had obtained his magister degree, he left Perm to take a civil servant post in the country’s capital.27

25In the spring of 1852, Vasilii Florinskii’s older brother Ivan graduated from Perm Seminary. He soon got married and obtained a parish of his own in a village not too far from Peski. Ivan’s departure from Perm undoubtedly prompted Florinskii to think about his own future and career choices. He could follow his older brother, get married, and become a priest. He could give up the priesthood and seek a teaching position at a low level theological or secular school (that was what his younger brother Ivan would do after graduating from the same seminary a few years later). Or, he could go to a theological academy to become a learned scholar, like Father Makarii, or a church hierarch, like his great-uncle Archbishop Arkadii, or even a statesman, like his distant relative Mikhail Speranskii, who had served as an adviser to the Emperors Alexander I and Nicholas I. It is unclear from available materials what exactly Florinskii aspired to at this point. But he was definitely set on continuing his education.

26The church educational system was strictly hierarchical and organized on a territorial principle. Thus, Perm Seminary’s best graduates were allowed to go to the nearest theological academy in Kazan, which accepted them on the basis of their seminary grades, without entry examinations and with all the expenses paid by the academy. But Florinskii was so taken by Morigerovskii’s tales about St. Petersburg that instead of Kazan Theological Academy he decided to go to his teacher’s alma mater, which meant forsaking these advantages and overcoming numerous bureaucratic and financial obstacles.

27Every other year St. Petersburg Theological Academy accepted about one hundred students, mostly from among the top graduates of St. Petersburg Seminary, as well as qualified monks and priests from the St. Petersburg Diocese, who had to take entry exams. To shield its students from the temptations of the outside world, the academy required them to live on the premises, and hence, admission numbers were also delimited by available dormitory spaces. For starters, since he resided in Perm, and thus did not belong to the St. Petersburg Diocese, Florinskii needed permission from the academy rector to take the entry exams. Morigerovskii, who had by that time moved back to St. Petersburg, helped his star student secure such permission. Although there was no tuition to pay, Florinskii needed money for his trip to St. Petersburg and for his living expenses during the examination period, which in the capital would be substantially higher than in provincial Perm. Fortunately, Father Mark supported his son’s decision wholeheartedly. He gave him fifty rubles (a substantial sum for a rural priest) to pay for his trip and expenses during the exams. Morigerovskii also offered Florinskii a room in his own apartment for the duration of the exams.

  • 28 Probably this is why Vasilii Florinskii is absent in the published list of the Perm Seminary gradu (...)
  • 29 Florinskii’s graduation certificate and travel permit are preserved in RGVIA, f. 316, op. 63, d. 6 (...)
  • 30 NMRT, V. Florinskii to his parents, 17 July 1853.

28Yet there was one more problem. Florinskii was to graduate in 1854, but St. Petersburg Theological Academy accepted students only on odd years. So as not to lose a whole year, he decided to take all the required exams in order to graduate a whole year earlier.28 The seminary’s rector allowed such an unheard of breach of the established rules and even granted Vasilii a two-month home leave to prepare for his final examinations scheduled for the summer of 1853. In early July, Florinskii passed his exams with flying colors, thus graduating from the seminary in five, instead of the customary six years. On 17 July, he received his graduation certificate and travel permit and bid farewell to the seminary and its faculty.29 “So strange,” he wrote to his parents, “I have parted with Father Rector and my professors in a very amicable manner. Just two days ago I had been at a very respectable distance from them, but now they accept me almost as their equal and call me by my full name, Vasilii Markovich.”30

29Understandably, Florinskii felt quite anxious. He would have to make a 2,000-kilometer journey on his own, with very limited resources and without his older brother’s protective hand that had steered him through both the Dalmatov bursa and Perm Seminary. On the eve of his departure from Perm he wrote a long poem (ten four-line stanzas) brooding over his decision:

What do I seek? What was I missing?
I could have stayed at home, married and content;
With relatives around and a full purse,
With father and brothers always close by [ZV, 88].

30He pondered the uncertain future it entailed: “what am I leaving here, what is awaiting there?” The last questions were clearly rhetorical. Obviously, what he was leaving behind was Peski, a small village lost in the vast expanses of the empire. What lay ahead was the imperial capital. Florinskii’s decision reflected not only an exalted image of St. Petersburg, where, in Morigerovskii’s words, “all of the spiritual interests of Russian life are concentrated.” His decision also indicated, quite contrary to the sense of humility a good servant of God and the church should have exhibited, a certain nagging ambition on the part of the young seminarian. Clearly, staying in the Perm province as a priest, with all the outward signs of success and fulfillment — a marriage, a full purse, his family home and relatives nearby — was not enough to make him feel content. He certainly felt that he could do more than that. As his poem makes clear, Florinskii did not quite yet know what it was exactly that he was going to do. But it was certainly something more than being a priest at some rural church.

  • 31 For the history of the fair, see Anne L. Fitzpatrick. The Great Russian Fair: Nizhnii Novgorod, 18 (...)

31The entry examinations at St. Petersburg Theological Academy were to begin in mid-August. Even a few years earlier, Florinskii would probably have never made the trip from Perm to the imperial capital in time for his exams. After all, it had taken his family nearly three months to travel a comparable distance (from Frolovskoe to Peski) some fifteen years prior. But in those years much had changed: Florinskii had technical progress on his side. Just three years earlier, in 1850, a steamship line opened between Perm and Nizhnii Novgorod, the seat of Russia’s largest wholesale and retail fair on the shores of Volga.31 The line had three tugboats that pulled barges loaded with goods to and from the fair. It also took passengers. A simple cabin cost twelve rubles and Florinskii booked a passage in “the third class” — on the open deck, which cost him three times less. This, of course, left him open to the elements during the voyage, but he hoped that the summer weather would not be too bad.

32On the early morning of 20 July, Florinskii boarded a large barge towed by a steamer tug, enticingly named Sunrise. Even though the river route was considerably longer than an overland one and the boat stopped for hours at a time at nearly every town along the way, the 1,400-kilometer journey took only twelve days. Florinskii passed the time watching the scenery, talking to his fellow travelers, reading, and writing long letters to his parents and siblings. On the late afternoon of 31 July, Sunrise reached its destination.

  • 32 On the development of highways and stagecoach services, see Alexandra Bekasova, “The Making of Pas (...)

33Together with several fellow passengers he had befriended on the boat, Florinskii spent the night in a cheap inn near the fair complex. The next morning he went to the fair and got nearly lost in its hustle and bustle, gawking at exotic goods and merchants, stalls and stores. But his foremost concern was to find a way to make the next 450-kilometer leg of his journey — to Moscow. Again, technical progress greatly facilitated his passage. By that time, an old dirt road between Moscow and Nizhnii Novgorod had been converted to a crash-stone highway with regular stagecoach services offered by several state-run and private companies.32 Alas, a seat on the stagecoach had to be reserved a few weeks in advance and, for Florinskii, the price of a ticket — fifteen to eighteen rubles — was forbidding. He found a cheaper option. With three other Sunrise passengers, he hired an independent coachman who promised to deliver them to Moscow on his troika in three days for just seven rubles per person. The coachman kept his promise. On the early morning of 4 August, Florinskii was in “Mother-Moscow,” the country’s historic capital. He spent the entire day walking around the city, visiting its holy shrines and historical monuments, paying homage to the relics of its saints, and praying in the Kremlin cathedrals. In the evening he left for St. Petersburg.

  • 33 See Postroika i ekspluatatsiia Nikolaevskoi zheleznoi dorogi (1842-1851-1901). Kratkii istorichesk (...)

34The march of technical progress made the last leg of Florinskii’s journey — from Moscow to St. Petersburg — the fastest and the cheapest, but certainly not the most comfortable. Only two years prior, in the fall of 1851, a railroad had connected the country’s two capitals, with the twice daily departures of passenger trains in both directions. Ripping through the countryside at an average speed of fifteen kilometers an hour, the train made the 650-kilometer trip in just 48 hours, with regular stops along the way to refuel and to discharge and pick up passengers and cargo.33 Florinskii, of course, chose the least expensive “open” car, which turned out to be merely a wooden box on wheels, with low walls, no roof, and rows of simple wooden benches for the passengers. The benches had neither back supports, nor armrests. The car was filled to capacity, so there was no way he could lay down. But it cost him only three rubles.

35The first day, the weather was sunny and clear, and Florinskii quite enjoyed his “fantastic” voyage. But, in the second night rain came. The temperature dropped. Soaked to the bone, he felt miserable. Luckily, the rain stopped the next morning, the sun and wind dried his clothes, and life looked bright again. Unable to sleep, he struck up a conversation with a young man sitting next to him on the bench. His neighbor, named Vladimir Bogoliubov, turned out to be a student of the Imperial Medical-Surgical Academy (IMSA) returning from summer vacation for his last year of studies. Florinskii told Bogoliubov of his plans to become a student at the theological academy and, of course, had myriad questions about the city, its attractions, student life, and on, and on, and on. Bogoliubov was happy to share his experiences and to satisfy the curiosity of the younger man. Time flew and soon the long journey came to an end — the train arrived in the capital of the Russian Empire. On the evening of 6 August, Florinskii got off the train at the Nikolaevskii Railroad Station that sat at the foot of Nevsky Prospect — the city’s most famous street immortalized in the eponymous story by Gogol.

36Florinskii was stiff from sitting still for two days and utterly exhausted from lack of sleep. Instead of going straight to Morigerovskii’s apartment, as his teacher had instructed him to do, he took a room at a nearby hotel, just across the square from the train station, and collapsed. The next day was Sunday and he decided to rest, clean up, and make himself presentable. Plus, the hotel was much closer to the theological academy, situated on the grounds of the famous Alexander Nevsky Monastery, only one kilometer south-east of the train station, than Morigerovskii’s apartment located about five kilometers from the station in the exactly opposite direction.

37On Monday morning, Florinskii came to the academy to submit his documents. He learned that entry examinations would begin in less than ten days, on 17 August. In the evening he paid a visit to Morigerovskii. His former teacher was delighted to see him and insisted that Florinskii move in at once. Florinskii was more than happy to oblige: the hotel bill was eating into his much diminished funds. Morigerovskii worked every day from 10am to 5pm at the Ministry of State Properties, so Florinskii had the apartment all to himself to study in peace and quiet all day. He rarely went out, focusing all his energies on preparing for the exams. Only on his way home from the academy after taking an exam did he allow himself to explore some parts of the fabled city.

38Compared to provincial Perm and even historical Moscow (whatever he had glimpsed of it during one day), St. Petersburg was imposing and captivating. The former seminarian wandered along the granite embankments and crossed numerous bridges of its main rivers: Neva, Moika, and Fontanka. He marveled at its palaces and monuments built by famous Italian, French, and Russian architects. He strolled on Nevsky Prospect all the way to the Admiralty and the Winter Palace, the imperial residence, admiring recently installed gas street lamps. Along the way, he gawked at richly decorated carriages, opulently dressed dames, and the smart uniforms of the officers of the Imperial Guards, crowding the empire’s main street. He walked on the manicured grounds of the Summer Garden and the Field of Mars, eyeing the replicas of antique statues that decorated the imperial playgrounds. Even though the white nights, which had given Dostoevsky the title for his famous novella, were over, the city was every bit as enticing and enchanting as numerous fictional stories and Morigerovskii’s tales had promised it to be. Florinskii was eagerly looking forward to having more time to enjoy its wonders after the exams were over.

  • 34 Dobroliubov (1836-1861) would enter the Teachers Institute and soon become the leading literary cr (...)
  • 35 According to the Orthodox Church’s rules, only married ordained clerics were allowed to serve as p (...)

39The exams proved to be not too difficult. Florinskii felt that the assessors were quite pleased with his written and oral responses. He was convinced that he was doing well and would be accepted. On Tuesday, 30 August, he joined all the entrants in the academy’s ceremonial hall where the rector announced the names of accepted students. To Florinskii’s astonishment his name was not among them. Together with two other applicants, who found themselves in exactly the same situation — Nikolai Dobroliubov from the Nizhnii Novgorod province and Nikolai Markov from the Tambov province — he went to see the rector to find out what had happened. The rector clearly could not even imagine that the academy had just barred its doors to the three most brilliant applicants of that year.34 He explained that, though all three of them had indeed passed the entry exams successfully, the academy simply had no place for them, because it had to accept three widowed priests from the St. Petersburg Diocese who had decided to take monastic vows and continue their education. According to the rules, these priests had priority in entering the academy.35

40Florinskii was devastated. Everything he had worked so hard for during the last year came to naught. All his hopes and ambitions were dashed. He was broke, with less than ten rubles left in his pockets. He had no idea what to do.

Taught to Be a Doctor

41After a sleepless night, the next morning Florinskii went for a walk to clear his head or, perhaps, to say goodbye to the city and his dreams. At some point, he found himself in front of a beautiful cathedral dedicated to the Vladimir Icon of Our Lady, one of the most sacred relics of the Russian Church. The icon had reputedly been produced in the province of his birth, which perhaps was what caught Florinskii’s attention. There was no service, but the cathedral was open and, on impulse, he went in. He kneeled in the main altar before the icon of the Holy Virgin and prayed for almost an hour, complaining about the unfair fate and asking for guidance. Exiting the cathedral, deep in thought, Florinskii bumped into a passerby. He was surprised to recognize Vladimir Bogoliubov, the IMSA student he had shared a bench with on the train to St. Petersburg. Bogoliubov also recognized his fellow traveler and asked whether Florinskii had passed the exams and been admitted to the theological academy. Florinskii recounted the sad story of his rejection and explained his predicament.

42Bogoliubov took Florinskii’s troubles to heart. He brought the distraught youth to his dorm at the IMSA campus on the other side of the Neva (see fig. 1-2). There he produced a pen and a sheet of paper and dictated to the bewildered Florinskii a petition to the IMSA president, Ventseslav Pelikan, asking for permission to take entry examinations. Tomorrow afternoon, he explained, the Academy Council (a general meeting of its professors) would meet to discuss the results of the entry exams and decide on admissions. Although the regular exam period had just ended, if Florinskii could persuade the president to allow him to take the exams, he might get a chance to become an IMSA student

Fig. 1-2. A postcard (c. 1900) featuring the main building of the Imperial Medical-Surgical Academy. It was built in the course of a decade, 1798-1809, in the then popular classicist style, by the two famous St. Petersburg architects Antonio Porto and Andrei Voronikhin. In 1881, the academy’s official name was changed into the Imperial Military-Medical Academy, and the new name placed on the building’s frieze, just above its six columns. In front of the building there is the monument to the academy’s first president, James Wylie, created by the architect Andrei Shtakenshneider and the sculptor David Iensen and unveiled on 9 December 1859, during the second year of Florinskii’s studies at the Institute of Young Doctors. In the late 1940s, the monument was moved into the academy’s courtyard, where it stands to this day. Courtesy of RNB.

  • 36 Introduced by Peter the Great, the Table of Ranks defined the hierarchy of the court, military, an (...)

43At Perm Seminary Florinskii had learned some elements of medicine and pharmacy, which were considered useful for rural priests — the destiny of the majority of seminary graduates. But he had never thought about medicine as a profession. All of his dreams had revolved around studying at St. Petersburg Theological Academy. But returning home and waiting for two years to take another shot at entering the academy was clearly not an option he considered seriously. If he were to make it, entering the Imperial Medical-Surgical Academy would certainly be a much better outcome than crawling back to Peski defeated. Not to mention the fact that after graduation he would receive a physician diploma that would automatically entitle him to the ninth civic rank in the Table of Ranks (equal to the military rank of a captain) and open the door to personal nobility.36 This, of course, would be a huge step up the social ladder from a rural priest — the top job he could only hope to get if he were to return to Peski. There was little time to ponder all of these consequences and possibilities. He made up his mind: if he could not tend to the souls of his parishioners as a cleric, he would tend to their bodies as a physician.

  • 37 Possibly professors overlooked Florinskii’s failure in the mathematics exam because the academy ha (...)

44The next morning, with all his papers in hand, Florinskii came to the IMSA and sat in the outer room of the president’s office. He was in for a long wait. Finally, at noon, Pelikan arrived, and Florinskii managed to get an audience to present his petition. At first, the president was unsympathetic: “you’ve failed in the Theological Academy and now want to enter the Medical Academy. … We don’t need damaged goods” [ZV, 98]. But when Florinskii explained his actual situation and presented documents from the theological academy supporting his story, Pelikan changed his mind. He allowed Florinskii to take the exams, “if you could do it in one day, starting right now” [ZV, 98]. On the spot, the president appointed assessors from among the professors present at the academy at the moment and Florinskii began his exam marathon. He was given one hour to write two essays, one in Russian, another in Latin. Even though the time was very short, Florinskii was able to produce acceptable essays in both languages. Then he had to take oral examinations in history, geography, physics, and mathematics. He got top marks in history and geography and a passing grade in physics, but he failed mathematics. Nevertheless, two hours later, the IMSA Council decided to accept him as a “self-supported” student, on the condition that he would retake (and, of course, successfully pass) the mathematics exam before Christmas, at the end of the fall semester.37

  • 38 The tuition of fifty rubles per annum for “self-supported” students was reinstated two years later (...)
  • 39 Unfortunately, Florinskii’s collection in the NMTR contains none of the letters he must have sent (...)

45Florinskii was elated. At that time, education at the IMSA was free: unlike their counterparts elsewhere in Europe, IMSA students did not pay tuition or lecture fees.38 Florinskii’s status as a “self-supported” (vol’noslushatel’) student, however, meant that he had to pay all other expenses — room and board, uniforms, textbooks, and so on — out of his own pocket. He could certainly hope that, by successfully passing exams at the end of the academic year, he would become one of the “state-supported” (kazenokoshtnyi) students, whose expenses were covered in full by the academy. All he had to do was somehow fund his first year of study. Probably, he expected that his father would be able to help, which the latter did by sending his son 100 rubles (a huge sum for a rural priest).39 He also counted on earning some income by giving private lessons, as he had done in Perm, or by copying documents for some government office — a common way to earn money for many St. Petersburg students at the time. Together with a classmate, for three rubles a month he rented a tiny room in a house near the IMSA campus and dove into his studies.

  • 40 Indeed, his great uncle, Archbishop Arkadii, was renowned as one of the leading relentless pursuer (...)

46Florinskii’s first year at the academy proved to be the most challenging, and not only financially. Up to this point, he had spent his entire life among the clergy, the most uniform — ethnically, culturally, and, of course, confessionally — of all social groups in the country. From his very childhood he had imbibed the deep suspicion and mistrust of “alien” nationalities (inorodtsy) and “alien” confessions (inovertsy), which permeated the Russian Orthodox doctrine.40 At the academy he entered a Babylon, in both the secular and the biblical sense of the word. Starting with its president Ventseslav (Wacław) Pelikan and vice-president Konstantin Balbiani (both of them Catholics of Polish extraction), the majority of the academy’s instructors were “aliens.” Ethnic Germans (Lutherans) and Poles (Catholic), who spoke Russian poorly and often taught their subjects in Latin, constituted nearly two thirds of the professoriate. The composition of the student body was not much different. Florinskii’s class of 242 included 85 Polish Catholics, 62 German Lutherans, seventeen Jews, and only 78 Orthodox Russians (about half of them, seminary graduates like Florinskii) [VZ, 100]. German and Polish were spoken in the academy corridors — filled with tobacco smoke! — more often than Russian. Florinskii felt as if he were not in the capital of his Fatherland, but in some foreign country.

47Florinskii also felt quite disappointed by the IMSA educational system, which he found wanting compared to his studies at the seminary. Historically, the academy’s primary function was to prepare medical cadres for the military. It was founded in 1798, during the reign of Paul I, in conscious imitation, and just a few years after the founding of such military-medical schools as Val-de-Grâce in Paris (1789), Josephinum in Vienna (1789), and Pépinière in Berlin (1795). For all intents and purposes, the IMSA was a military school, subordinate to the War Ministry. Military discipline permeated students’ daily life, from rollcalls at the beginning of every class to the dress code and daily regimen, monitored and strictly enforced by a specially assigned high-ranking officer (usually a colonel). After the freedom he had enjoyed at the seminary, Florinskii found the academy’s regulations oppressive.

  • 41 On Zinin’s very brief biography and his work in the IMSA, see I. S. Ioffe, N. N. Zinin. Deiatel’no (...)

48Judging by his memoirs, the former seminarian was also quite dissatisfied with his academic studies. The IMSA first year curriculum included zoology, botany, anatomy, pharmacopeia, physics, and inorganic chemistry. The first four subjects required endless rote memorization of innumerable Latin names — of animals, plants, body parts, and medicines — which Florinskii found exceedingly boring and unrewarding. He disliked the professor of physics and mathematics (the very one who had failed him during the entry exams) for his stern demeanor and dry, uninspiring teaching style. Chemistry was the only subject he truly enjoyed, even though it proved to be quite difficult, especially since the academy had no laboratory for hands-on practical learning. But the professor of chemistry Nikolai Zinin (1812-1880) (who also served as the chairman of the Academy Council) enjoyed a European reputation as one of the discipline’s founders in Russia. His masterful lectures were always lively and stimulating.41 As Florinskii put it, he was “an eagle among chickens.” Unfortunately for Florinskii, by the time he entered the academy, the two “superstars” on its faculty, Karl von Baer, Russia’s foremost embryologist and anthropologist, and Nikolai Pirogov, the country’s most eminent anatomist and surgeon, had retired. So, Florinskii’s initial impressions of his studies and teachers were far from favorable. As he later noted in his memoirs,

In the seminary we… grew accustomed to exercise thinking, not memory. Whether in theological subjects, or in the field of historical studies, not to mention philosophy and psychology, everywhere, we had a cause for personal thoughts and comparisons. Better or worse, but our thought was constantly at work, and in this I saw the main stimulus to my [intellectual] development, all the interest of scholarship. At the Academy I encountered something entirely different [ZV, 107].

49Despite all the challenges, Florinskii persevered in his studies and his efforts paid off. He successfully passed end-of-the-year examinations and became one of the state-supported students. This meant that he was now entitled to free room and board at the IMSA dormitory, as well as subsidies for uniforms, textbooks, and other related expenses. His financial security guaranteed, Florinskii allowed himself a luxury: he went to his beloved Peski for the summer vacation, no doubt eager to show off his new uniform and new student status to his parents, siblings, and villagers.

50The full course of studies at the academy lasted five years. With each passing year, Florinskii found his studies easier and more interesting. In the second year, along with such subjects as physiology, comparative anatomy, and organic chemistry, he began to learn medicine proper: internal diseases and surgery. Now he attended not just lectures, but practical sessions at the academy clinics, as well as surgical operations and autopsies performed in the academy’s anatomical theater. He delved deeper and deeper into his future profession and got more and more inspired.

  • 42 Useful introductions to the history of the Crimean War in English could be found in David Wetzel, (...)

51Florinskii had begun his studies in one epoch and finished them in an entirely different one. Just a few weeks after he had been admitted to the academy, in October 1853, Russia went to war with the Ottoman Empire, ostensibly to protect the rights of Christian minorities under Ottoman rule. Britain, France, and the Kingdom of Sardinia soon joined the Ottoman forces. With Austria and Prussia jockeying for political and territorial advantages by threatening to break their neutrality, the war quickly escalated into a conflict of pan-European, if not global, proportions. Just as Florinskii returned from his summer vacation in Peski, in September 1854, the allied forces landed on the Crimean peninsula and, a few months later, laid siege to Sebastopol, Russia’s main naval base on the Black Sea. Although today mostly remembered as the Crimean War, the conflict had actually spread far beyond the Crimea and had been fought in the lower Danube region, the Balkans, the Caucasus, and on the Black, Baltic, and White seas, and even the North Pacific.42

52The war lasted nearly three years and was a watershed in the country’s history. Although appalling incompetence and ubiquitous corruption plagued all the armies involved in the war, the Russian military suffered a devastating and humiliating defeat. Sebastopol fell, the entire Black Sea fleet was destroyed, and Russian forces took nearly half a million casualties, almost twice as many as all of their opponents combined.

  • 43 For useful introductions to the history of the Great Reforms, see a recent reprint of the Russian (...)
  • 44 The word glasnost’, which entered the English vocabulary only during Mikhail Gorgachev’s perestroi (...)

53The war brought the country to the brink of financial and political collapse, exacerbated by the death of Emperor Nicholas I in the middle of the war, on 18 February 1855. His oldest son Alexander ascended to the throne. In October, after the fall of Sebastopol, the young emperor fired the war minister and opened peace negotiations. The Treaty of Paris, signed on 30 March 1856, ended the war. Faced with the dismal legacy of his father’s thirty-year rule, which the Crimean War had so brutally and unambiguously exposed, Alexander II initiated wide-ranging political, military, economic, and social reforms — most importantly, the emancipation of the serfs, which set the country on an entirely new course that would be remembered in history as the Great Reforms.43 To facilitate the reforms, for the first time in Russian history, the emperor invited his subjects to voice their concerns and ideas regarding the country’s future, encouraging limited and carefully controlled glasnost’ in the matters of state policy.44

  • 45 See P. S. Platonov, Ob amputatsiiakh chlenov i rezektsiiakh kostei (SPb.: Ia. Trei, 1855), and ide (...)

54Many events of Florinskii’s life during his studies at the IMSA reflected the momentous events in his country’s history. In this respect, the academic year of 1856-1857 proved as fateful for him, as it did for the Russian Empire. In the early fall of 1856, just as he began his fourth year of studies, the IMSA Council selected Florinskii to become one of the two interns appointed annually to the academy clinics, a clear sign of his professors’ high regard for his abilities. Normally, this position would have gone to a fifth-year student. But that year the academy did not have any. The war demanded not only soldiers, but also doctors. The supply, however, was sorely inadequate. The Russian government tried its best to fill the demand, going so far as hiring doctors abroad, from the Germanic lands and even the United States. It also speeded up training at the IMSA: the students who entered the academy in 1852, one year before Florinskii, had to graduate after just four years of study in the spring of 1856. If the war had not ended that spring, the same fate would have befallen Florinskii. Instead, he obtained an unparalleled opportunity in his fourth year to become an intern at the academy surgical clinics reformed by the famed Pirogov and now directed by the renowned professor of surgery Ivan Rklitskii (1805-1861). The position came with an apartment attached to the clinics, which afforded Florinskii much more privacy than the overcrowded academy dorm and, hence, peace and quiet for his studies. It also placed him under the mentorship of Petr Platonov (1823-1860), a talented surgeon and author of a monumental, three-volume anatomical manual, who, as Rklitskii’s assistant, actually ran the surgical wards.45

  • 46 See V. Florinskii, “Pronitsaiushchaia rana kolennogo sustava (Vulnus gaesum penetrans genu sinistr (...)

55Florinskii utilized this opportunity to the best of his abilities. His duties included making twice daily rounds of the wards, applying and changing dressings, admitting new patients, and assisting during operations, which gained him invaluable firsthand experience in practical surgery. By the end of the academic year, he himself had performed several complex operations: leg amputations at the knee and at the hip. He had also prepared his first scholarly work: a detailed description of a complicated wound of the knee joint he had observed and treated in the clinic. The next year, this work appeared on the pages of the Military-Medical Journal, the IMSA official outlet.46

56Florinskii also got involved in Platonov’s work on the anatomical manual, assisting his mentor with editing and proofreading several parts of the 1,700-page-long manuscript. The manual was one of the first of its kind: it was to be published in Russian, as opposed to the traditional Latin. The good command of the written word that Florinskii had acquired at the seminary under Vishniakov’s tutelage came in very handy. Indeed Platonov was so impressed with his student’s edits and corrections that he recommended him to Alexander Kiter (1813-1879), the professor of obstetrics and gynecology, who that very year decided to publish a textbook on his own specialty. This recommendation proved decisive in defining Florinskii’s further career as a doctor.

  • 47 For a biography of Kiter, see Iu. V. Tsvelev, Akademik Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Kiter (ocherk zhiz (...)
  • 48 See A. A. Kiter, Rukovosdtvo k izucheniiu akusherskoi nauki, 2 vols. (SPb.: Ia. Trei, 1857-1858).

57An imperial subject, Kiter was an ethnic German, born Justinus Ludwig Alexander von Kieter near Riga in the Baltic provinces of the Russian Empire. He graduated from the medical school of the German-language University of Dorpat (today Tartu, Estonia), where he had studied under Nikolai Pirogov. Although Kiter had been teaching in Russian medical schools since 1840 (first at Kazan University and from 1848 at the IMSA), he still preferred to speak and write in German and publish his works in German-language journals, such as Medizinische Zeitung Russlands and St. Petersburger medizinische Zeitschrift.47 He definitely needed assistance in transcribing his lecture course on obstetrics and rendering it into readable Russian. And this was exactly what he asked Florinskii to do. As Florinskii later recalled, the professor “gave me a free hand — unrestrained by [his] not-quite-Russian spoken phrases — to refine the language of the manuscript according to a literary style [I thought] appropriate for a publishable academic treatise” [ZV, 127]. At the end of the 1856-1857 academic year, the first 300-page volume of Kiter’s Handbook for Studying the Science of Obstetrics came out, and a manuscript of the second 400-page volume was nearly completed.48

  • 49 Unfortunately, “due to its poor physical conditions” I was refused access to a special file on Flo (...)

58Kiter was clearly impressed by Florinskii’s contribution to this “collaborative” project, even though it went unacknowledged in its final published products. Florinskii’s edits demonstrated not only the fluency of his literary style, but also a keen understanding of the subject. It seems that the collaboration whetted Kiter’s appetite. The professor decided to produce another textbook, this one on gynecology, which he could do only with Florinskii’s assistance. Perhaps as a way to facilitate the work on the new project, Kiter offered Florinskii an internship at his own obstetrics and gynecology clinic. Florinskii accepted the offer.49

  • 50 See A. A. Kiter, Rukovodstvo k izucheniiy zhenskikh boleznei (SPb.: Ia. Trei, 1858). On the prize, (...)

59During his fifth and final year as a student, Florinskii found himself exceedingly busy. His duties at Kiter’s clinic were to be similar to those he had performed at the surgical wards the previous year: making daily rounds, attending to patients, and assisting the professor during clinical lectures and operations. But he ended up actually running the entire clinic. Kiter’s assistant Anton Krasovskii, an adjunct professor of obstetrics, that very year went abroad for advanced training, and Kiter himself visited the clinic only to follow some interesting cases and to perform scheduled major operations. So all the routine, as well as emergency, care fell on Florinskii’s shoulders. The work on Kiter’s textbook also took much of his time. He sat in on Kiter’s lectures, during which the professor read aloud — in his broken Russian — some relevant parts from a German book. Florinskii wrote down the lecture, and later, at his apartment, rewrote it in the appropriate style and format. He sent the manuscript for typesetting and then read and corrected the proofs. Towards the end of the academic year, he finished the work and the 500-page Handbook on Studying Women’s Diseases came out, earning Kiter a special prize from the Academy Council.50

60The preparation of Kiter’s textbooks, supplemented by practical work at the women’s clinic, certainly gave Florinskii a much greater knowledge of obstetrics and gynecology than that of any of his fellow students. But, this field was just one of numerous subjects required by the fifth year curriculum (see fig. 1-3). He also had to attend lectures and practical sessions on the pathology and therapy of the internal, skin, and nervous diseases, as well as on legal and forensic medicine. And most important, on top of everything, he had to prepare for his final exams in ten different subjects. The examination session was to last six weeks, from early May to mid-June 1858, and its results would determine Florinskii’s future posting. If he passed all the exams with top grades, he could count on being appointed a doctor to a military regiment quartered not in a God-forsaken place somewhere on the borders of the empire, but in a large city — perhaps even St. Petersburg.

61Fate, however, had yet another surprise in store for the future doctor.

  • 51 For an English-language analysis of the IMSA reforms, focused mostly on changes in the academy as (...)
  • 52 For a short biography of Dubovitskii, see V. N. Beliakov, Petr Aleksandrovich Dubovitskii (Leningr (...)
  • 53 For a biography of Glebov, see V. A. Makarov, Ivan Timofeevich Glebov (M.: Nauka, 1995).

62The seemingly sudden explosion of publishing textbooks and manuals in Russian, which had kept Florinskii so busy during his last two years of study, was actually a sign of important developments both at the IMSA and in the country as a whole. In January 1857, as part of the far-reaching reorganization of the military prompted by the Crimean War fiasco, the IMSA also entered a period of “great reforms.”51 Petr Dubovitskii, formerly a professor of surgery at the academy, was called back from retirement and appointed the academy’s president instead of Pelikan.52 A few months later, Ivan Glebov, renowned professor of physiology at Moscow University’s Medical School, replaced Balbiani as the academy’s vice-president.53 With Zinin retaining his position as the head of the IMSA Council, the academy’s entire administration was entrusted — for the first time in its history — not to “foreigners” but to Russians. In Florinskii’s words, “A new spirit has permeated the academy” [ZV, 146].

Fig. 1-3. A page from Florinskii’s diary with a weekly schedule of classes during his fifth and final year as a student at the IMSA, 1858. From Monday through Saturday, he spent four hours every morning in the clinics (dividing his time between surgery and therapy). Every other day, he had lectures and practical lessons in forensic medicine and obstetrics. He also attended lectures on the history of medicine, as well as on hygiene and medical police. Courtesy of NMRT.

  • 54 See Glebov’s description of the IMSA reforms undertaken during the three years, 1857-1859, in I. G (...)
  • 55 See RGVIA, f. 316, op. 28, d. 40.
  • 56 For the statute of the new institute, see RGVIA, f. 316, op. 60, d. 118, ll. 23-27 rev.; see also (...)

63The triumvirate — Dubovitskii, Glebov, and Zinin — immediately launched a series of concerted reforms focused on revising the outdated curriculum, recruiting and preparing new faculty, and creating infrastructural and material support for both teaching and research.54 The academy turned into a construction site, erecting new buildings for teaching auditoria, clinics, and laboratories, which were supplied with necessary equipment and materials. Teaching in Latin was abolished. Professors were required to teach (and hence produce textbooks) in Russian. The new rules also allowed doctoral dissertations prepared at the academy to be written and published in Russian, instead of the traditional Latin.55 New departments were organized to teach the new subjects in the updated curriculum and many new professorial positions appeared. In just three years, nearly a dozen old professors were pressed into retirement and replaced with young promising instructors, including such future greats of Russian medicine as Sergei Botkin and Ivan Sechenov. To facilitate the “changing of the guard” among its faculty, in the spring of 1858, the academy also established an “institute of young doctors for preparation to professorial positions” administered by Glebov.56

64Since his very first days as academy president, Dubovitskii had lobbied the War Ministry to create a new system for preparing professorial cadres. He proposed that each year the ten top graduates remain at the academy for three extra years of advanced training. They were to work on doctoral dissertations on subjects of their choosing in particular medical specialties to prepare them for teaching these specialties to the next cohorts of students. The authors of the two best dissertations would also be awarded a fully-paid two-year-long trip abroad for advanced training in their chosen specialty at European medical schools and research centers. It took Dubovitskii almost a year to push the proposal through the layers of state bureaucracy. Finally, on 25 May 1858, an imperial edict allocated the necessary funds for the “Institute of Young Doctors” and decreed that the ten top graduates of the class of 1858 would become the institute’s first members.

  • 57 See RGVIA, f. 316, op. 60, d. 131.

65The decree came just in time for Florinskii’s graduation, but he did not make the cut. He graduated twelfth in his class. However, for various reasons, three of his betters declined to continue their studies at the institute, so Florinskii was offered a place there. He accepted and chose to continue his specialization in obstetrics and gynecology. On 22 June he received his diploma and was appointed a junior attending physician to the women’s ward at the Second Army Hospital attached to the academy. Florinskii counted on continuing his work under Kiter’s tutelage, but that very fall his professor was appointed head of the surgery department. Kiter’s assistant Krasovskii, who had just returned from his year of study in Europe, became the professor of obstetrics and gynecology, and thus, formally, Florinskii’s adviser.57

  • 58 In the spring of 1860, Krasovskii published a voluminous report on the work accomplished in his cl (...)

66From the start of his studies at the institute, Florinskii set his eyes on the top prize — a trip to Europe for advanced training. He did his best to win it. The next three years of Florinskii’s life were swallowed in a flurry of activity. The sheer amount of work he accomplished is staggering. He was running his ward at the hospital, assisting Krasovskii at the academy clinics,58 studying for his doctoral exam, and researching and writing his dissertation. But he was also eager to fill out numerous lacunae in his previous training, learning new subjects and techniques. Florinskii took full advantage of the courses and public lectures offered by recently arrived faculty members, including therapist Botkin, physiologists Sechenov and Glebov, histologist Nikolai Iakubovich, and forensic medicine expert Evgenii Pelikan (the son of the former president of the academy). He was excited by the ideas, methods, and concepts, ranging from Rudolf Virchow’s theory of cellular pathology to Claude Bernard’s studies of internal secretion and sugar metabolism, introduced by the new professors. Florinskii’s recollections of a public course on general biology delivered by Evgenii Pelikan at the Hospital for Menial Workers exemplify his impressions: “His lectures shined with newness and freshness. … He presented to us science in its true beauty” [ZV, 147]. The young doctor was captivated by this beauty. For the first time since he had begun his study of medicine, he saw his future profession not merely as a set of practical techniques to treat injuries and diseases, but also as a field of inquiry, a science to be advanced. Inspired by the vision of modern experimental medical science, he started to work with a microscope and conduct experiments.

  • 59 See the protocol of Florinskii’s examination in RGVIA, f. 316, op. 30, d. 129, ll. 3-4 rev.
  • 60 RGVIA, f. 316, op. 60, d. 382, l. 2.

67The institute’s statute required each member to pass “a full examination for the degree of doctor of medicine.” The examination included oral, written, and practical tests in 25 (!) different subjects, which candidates had to complete during their second year. To ensure the fairness of the examination, the required material for each subject was divided into themes, with specific questions written on several dozen “tickets.” A candidate taking the exam picked a ticket at random and had to answer all the questions (or perform the specific tasks) listed on the ticket. Florinskii had to pass oral examinations in nine “substantive subjects”: physiology, pathology, general therapeutics, special therapeutics, materia medica, pharmacology, obstetrics with gynecology and pediatrics, theoretical surgery, and forensic medicine with medical police and hygiene. He also had to complete nine “practical demonstrations.” He had to perform an autopsy and produce a forensic protocol; prepare lecture demonstrations on pathological anatomy, pharmacology and pharmacy, and therapeutics; and demonstrate his practical skills in major surgical operation on a cadaver, a few minor surgical operations on patients, and in obstetrics. He also had to deliver two different presentations on physiological anatomy and to take several tests (in Latin) on special pathology, therapeutics, and surgery. It took Florinskii almost eight months, from October 1859 to June 1860, to fulfill all of these requirements.59 On 12 June 1860 he performed the last task — an autopsy — and was ready to move on to his dissertation. But, utterly exhausted, he decided to take a break. In late June, for the first time in six years, he went on a month-long vacation to his beloved Peski.60

  • 61 See Protokoly zasedanii Obshchestva russkikh vrachei v S. Peterburge (hereafter PZORV), 1859-1860: (...)
  • 62 See V. Florinskii, “Mozhno li dopustit’kefalotripsiiu nad zhivymi mladentsami?” PZORV, 1860-1861: (...)

68Florinskii’s workload during his second year at the institute left little time for anything else. Yet, in the fall of 1859, he joined the St. Petersburg Society of Russian Physicians. He diligently attended the society’s biweekly meetings and participated in discussions of clinical cases, new techniques, and theoretical concepts presented by the members. He also delivered two reports on his own work at the obstetrics clinic, which soon appeared in the society’s journal. In early March 1860, sponsored by Iakov Chistovich, the IMSA professor of forensic medicine, the young doctor was unanimously elected a full member of the society.61 Florinskii became even more active in the society’s gatherings during the following academic year, presenting six reports based on interesting cases he had encountered in his practice at the academy clinics and the women’s ward.62

  • 63 V. S. Gruzdev, Istoricheskii ocherk kafedry akusherstva i zhenskikh boleznei Imperatorskoi voenno- (...)

69Surprisingly, none of these reports dealt with the subject of his dissertation: the tearing of the perineum during childbirth, a very common, but little studied complication that often required intervention by a qualified obstetrician. Florinskii prepared a thorough review of relevant Russian, French, and German literature, which he found in the academy’s excellent library. He collected and collated numerous observations in his own clinical practice, describing various types of tears and accompanying complications during the delivery and recovery period. He constructed a special apparatus and conducted experiments on cadavers to investigate the mechanics and mechanisms of tearing the tissues. And on the basis of all these materials, he proposed several original methods of prevention and treatment. In the opinion of a historian of the IMSA obstetrics and gynecology department: “It was the first truly scientific investigation produced at the department, based not only on clinical material, but also on experiments, which showed that its author was a talented scientist with absolutely original and novel ideas.”63

  • 64 This gradation of professorial positions roughly corresponds to the present day titles of full, as (...)
  • 65 On Florinskii’s appointment, see RGVIA, f. 316, op. 69, d. 195, ll. 187-187 rev.

70In addition to his daily duties at the clinics and work on the dissertation, in the fall of 1860, Florinskii also began teaching. A fully staffed IMSA department usually included one ordinary professor (who served as the department’s chairman and its representative on the Academy Council); one extra-ordinary professor; and one or two adjunct professors.64 The teaching load was distributed among all the professors. Large departments (such as surgery and therapy) often also had a cadre of lecturers (Privatdozent) who both taught theoretical courses and oversaw practical clinical sessions. The renewed curriculum required several courses (both theoretical and clinical) on obstetrics, gynecology, and pediatrics to be offered to the fourth-and fifth-year students. But, since Kiter’s transfer to the surgery department, Krasovskii remained the only professor at the obstetrics and gynecology department, and he was completely overwhelmed with his teaching duties. He petitioned the Academy Council for permission to transfer some of his teaching to his clinical assistant Florinskii. According to the rules, a candidate for a teaching position had to deliver two “trial” lectures attended and adjudicated by the council members. The subject of one lecture was assigned by the council, the subject of the second lecture was chosen by the candidate himself. Florinskii’s “trial” lectures went very well. The council granted Krasovskii’s petition and confirmed Florinskii’s appointment as a lecturer (Privatdozent). In October 1860, he began teaching a year-long course on theoretical obstetrics and gynecology to the fourth-year students.65

  • 66 See V. Florinskii, O razryvakh promezhnosti vo vremia rodov (SPb.: I. Markov, 1861). For official (...)

71Florinskii was the first among his ten classmates at the institute to fulfill all the requirements: he completed his dissertation in the early spring of 1861. On 9 March, just one week before the public announcement of the first and the greatest of the Great Reforms — the emancipation of the serfs — he presented a 300-page manuscript to the Academy Council to obtain permission for its publication, a prerequisite to the dissertation’s public defense. Following the established rules, the council appointed two of its members to serve as official reviewers. Not unexpectedly, Kiter and Krasovskii got the job. On 1 April, both reviewers gave their go-ahead, and the council permitted Florinskii to publish his work. A week later, he delivered 225 copies of the printed dissertation to the council.66

  • 67 Earning the degree automatically moved Florinskii up to the eighth rank (equal in military terms t (...)
  • 68 See RGVIA, f. 316, op. 60, d. 256, ll. 21-21 rev.
  • 69 See RGVIA, f. 316, op. 69, d. 196, ll. 125 rev. -126.

72On 15 April, Florinskii defended his dissertation at a special meeting of the IMSA Council. The council members agreed that this “superbly presented” work was “an original scientific treatise,” and its author undoubtedly deserved to be awarded the degree of Doctor of Medicine.67 Furthermore, after a short discussion, with nineteen members voting for and only one against, the council decided that Florinskii had also earned a trip abroad for advanced training. The same day, the council issued a formal recommendation to the IMSA president to send Florinskii abroad for two years at the academy expense “to study further his chosen subjects: obstetrics, gynecology, and pediatrics.”68 Dubovitskii forwarded the recommendation, along with his own endorsement, to the war minister. On 6 May, the minister presented the petition to the emperor, who gave it his seal of approval.69

  • 70 It appeared in the October issue of the journal. See V. Florinskii, “Otchet akusherskoi, zhenskoi (...)
  • 71 See Meditsinskii otchet Imperatorskogo S. Peterburgskogo vospitatel’nogo doma za 1857 god (SPb.: n (...)

73Florinskii’s dream had come true: he would spend the next two years at the best medical schools in Europe. But, although the emperor had authorized his trip, Florinskii could not leave St. Petersburg right away. First, he had to wrap up his teaching and his duties at the academy clinics. During May, he finished his lectures and administered the final exam. He prepared his annual report on the activities of the obstetrics clinic and sent it for publication to the Military-Medical Journal.70 Apparently as a way to familiarize himself with pediatrics — an area he had had little experience with and was supposed to study during his trip — Florinskii worked his way through a voluminous annual report recently published by the St. Petersburg Foundling Home.71

  • 72 See RGVIA, f. 316, op. 60, d. 246.
  • 73 V. M. [Florinskii], “Meditsinskii otchet Imperatorskogo S. Peterburgskogo vospitatel’nogo doma za (...)

74Perhaps, initially, Florinskii did not plan to publish the results of this work. But just a few months earlier, in late March 1861, Chistovich founded an independent weekly, titled Medical Herald. Modeled to a considerable degree on the Gazette Médicale de Paris, this publication was to become a major forum for discussion “on all the areas of scientific and practical medicine and hygiene, as well as on all the problems faced by medical practitioners in their everyday life.”72 It seems likely that Chistovich asked some of his former students to contribute to the new periodical and Florinskii was among the first to do so: his first publication in Medical Herald was a thorough review of the medical report for the year of 1857 by the St. Petersburg Foundling Home.73

  • 74 This statement comes from Florinskii’s article published in the same newspaper two months later. S (...)
  • 75 Florinskii’s criticism provoked an indignant response from the institution’s head physician, which (...)

75This review was Florinskii’s first venture outside of purely “technical” medical writings. For the first time, he exercised in print what he considered “the most essential element of scientific knowledge — original scientific criticism.”74 The volume was the first “annual medical report” the institution had issued in the 75 years of its existence, Florinskii emphasized. Its publication breached “the impenetrable secrecy” that had covered “rich scientific materials on obstetrics, gynecology, and pediatrics” collected by the Foundling Home physicians. The reviewer praised the report’s “administrative section” that provided detailed information on the institution’s internal organization and administration, and, especially, extensive statistical tables on the mortality and morbidity of its charges. But, he noted, the numbers and tables that dominated the report raised numerous questions that remained unanswered. Florinskii was sorely disappointed by the report’s “scientific section,” which, contrary to his expectations, contained no materials on “the character of epidemics, the occurrence and development of various diseases,” nor a “critical evaluation of methods and medicines” used to treat these diseases. Instead, its “scientific conclusions” were little more than a collection of case histories. He was also dissatisfied with the writing style and lack of clarity, noting a large number of obscure and incomprehensible expressions, especially in autopsy reports. Despite these shortcomings, Florinskii stressed, as the first of its kind, the report certainly deserved the “sincere gratitude” of the medical community that hoped to see it becoming a regular publication.75

  • 76 My reconstruction of Florinskii’s “grand tour” is largely based on his letters and unpublished dia (...)
  • 77 This sum included his regular annual salary (700 rubles) and a special subsidy (1,000 rubles per y (...)

76By early June 1861, Florinskii managed to complete all of his numerous duties and obligations and was finally ready to embark on his “grand tour” of Europe.76 On the eve of his departure he felt even more anxious than he had when preparing to leave Perm for St. Petersburg eight years earlier. The challenges ahead now seemed even more formidable, the tasks even more daunting. This time he would have to travel through foreign lands, live among foreign peoples, converse in foreign languages, and abide by foreign customs. “The close bonds of [one’s] kinship, language, religion, and community are far from empty words,” he wrote in his diary, “their meaning is most clearly understood in those cases when a man is removed from his own familiar milieu and feels, as I do, exactly what he is missing” [DZP, 12]. Although he read regularly in French and German — the most frequently used languages of science and medicine of the time — Florinskii was particularly concerned with his limited conversational skills and his ability to follow and understand his foreign instructors. And he had a lot to learn. “Judging by what I had read about foreign universities, instruction at our medical academy is far behind in all its aspects,” he recorded in his journal: “In order to reach the heights of modern medical education I would have to learn [almost everything] anew” [DZP, 5]. But at least this time he did not have to worry about money. Compared to the fifty rubles with which he had embarked on his trip to St. Petersburg, the academy provided him with the astronomical sum of 1,700 rubles annually — more than sufficient to cover all of his expenses.77

The Grand Tour

  • 78 For Krasovskii’s instructions on what Florinskii should do during his tour, see RGVIA, f. 316, op. (...)

77On 5 June 1861, the freshly minted Doctor of Medicine left St. Petersburg for Berlin, his first stop on what would be a 27-month tour through nearly all major medical centers in Europe. Aside from the general instruction to focus on obstetrics, gynecology, and pediatrics, Florinskii had a completely free hand to choose the particular locales and duration of his stays.78 He visited leading German universities and clinics in Berlin, Halle, Munich, Giessen, Leipzig, Dresden, Wurzburg, and Erlangen. He worked at medical schools and hospitals in Prague, Vienna, Paris, and London. He attended lectures by, and studied with, the leading lights of European medicine, including Claude Bernard, Theodor Bischoff, Eugène Bouchut, Ferdinand Hebra, Carl Rokitansky, Armand Trousseau, and Rudolf Virchow.

78Florinskii spent a whole month in Berlin, “largely because of Virchow,” even though there was “very little interesting on my own specialties here” [DZP, 23]. The German professor deeply impressed the Russian visitor: “What a force of mind, oratory talent, and pedagogical tact.” He was enthralled by Virchow’s lectures, which were supplemented by “demonstrations of excellent preparations and practical work in the laboratory.” “[Virchow] captivates [the audience] by the newness of his ideas. He is not a copyist, not your ordinary teacher, but a creator of science, its primary mover,” raved the young doctor. “I have never [before] seen such individuals,” Florinskii admitted, “That’s how he is at the lectern, in social affairs, [and] in everything that is touched by his universal mind. But look at his outward appearance — modesty incarnate” [DZP, 27-28]. Florinskii stayed in Berlin until Virchow finished his course in early July and then embarked on a tour of numerous German universities and clinics.

  • 79 He was granted permission with no extra subsidy; for details, see RGVIA, f. 316, op. 30, d. 19, ll (...)

79Florinskii stayed almost two months in Prague, but spent most of his time in Vienna and Paris, the world renowned centers of medicine at the time. He found the instructors, as well as clinical and research facilities, in these two cities to be the most advanced and the most suited to his own interests, and stayed more than six months in each city. Indeed in January 1863, from Vienna, he petitioned the Academy Council for permission to extend his trip until September (he was supposed to return to St. Petersburg in early June), so that he could spend extra time in Parisian and Viennese clinics and laboratories. After a nearly five-month delay occasioned by mishandling of his documents by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, his request was granted at the end of May, allowing him to spend the entire summer in Paris.79

  • 80 See Florinskii’s letters to his parents and siblings in NMRT; and to his superiors in RGVIA, f. 31 (...)
  • 81 V. Florinskii to his parents, Prague, 25 September 1861, in NMRT.

80Florinskii’s daily routine during his stay in a particular locale followed the same pattern he had established for himself in St. Petersburg. Every day he arose at 7am and, after a quick breakfast, went to the clinic to attend a lecture and/or to work with patients. At 2pm he took a dinner break and then returned to the clinic (or went to the laboratory) to pursue independent research projects. He spent several hours a day reading the newest medical journals and monographs. At 8pm he had supper and then caught up on his journal, correspondence with family, friends, and colleagues, and official reports to his superiors at the academy.80 As he wrote to his parents from Prague, “time flies with a fantastic speed; a week goes by in a blink of an eye. My studies are so interesting and so varied that I am forgetting everything else. I am so happy now that my dreams, about which I had been afraid even to think, are coming true.”81 Indeed, six months into the trip he got so busy that he stopped keeping a journal where he recorded his thoughts and events of his daily life, and the steady stream of letters he had been sending home dwindled to a trickle.

Fig. 1-4. Vasilii Florinskii in Paris, c.1862. This photo was taken by Sergei Levitsky, a patriarch of Russian photography. Between 1859 and 1864 Levitsky operated an atelier at 22 rue de Choiseul in Paris. Almost every Russian visiting Paris in those years (from Levitsky’s cousin Alexander Herzen to Emperor Alexander II) went to the studio, which became one of the hubs of “Russian circles” in the city. Courtesy of NMRT.

  • 82 See I. Glebov, “O zaniatiiakh medikov vrachebnogo instituta,” VMZh, 1863, 88: 338-64.
  • 83 See, V. M. [Florinskii], “Venskaia akusherskaia klinika,” MV, 1862 (10 March): 81-87 (17 March): 9 (...)
  • 84 See V. Florinskii, “Obzor trudov [na nemetskom, frantsuzskom, angliiskom i latinskom iazykakh] po (...)
  • 85 See, for instance, V. M. Florinskii, “Neskol’ko slov o dekapitatsii utrobnogo mladentsa,” MV, 1862 (...)
  • 86 V. Florinskii, “Ob izmenenii matki v poslerodovom periode,” MV, 1862 (21 July): 283-86; (4 August) (...)
  • 87 See V. Florinskii, “Ovariotomiia,” MV, 1863 (9 March): 78-82; (16 March): 91-92; (23 March): 101-0 (...)
  • 88 See the list of books Florinskii donated to the Tomsk University Library upon his retirement, in N (...)

81As in his last two years in St. Petersburg, the sheer amount of work Florinskii had completed during his two years abroad is astonishing. As Glebov noted in his 1863 overview of the accomplishments of the institute graduates, “Florinskii has published much more than anyone else.”82 Indeed, by the end of his sojourn in Europe, Florinskii had published eighteen articles, describing clinics and universities he had visited,83 surveying the latest German, French, and English literature on his specialties,84 and reporting results of his own original research.85 In Vienna, for instance, he conducted an extensive pioneering study of the anatomical and histological changes in the uterus after childbirth.86 Florinskii’s stay in Paris spurred his interest in ovariotomy — a technique that was just then making inroads in French obstetrics. This operation, which involved a resection of parts of the ovaries to remove ovarian cysts, had been developed and popularized by the British surgeon Isaac Baker Brown and was at the time successfully practiced by a number of his compatriots. Florinskii took a side trip from Paris to London with the express purpose of studying the technique at its source. He prepared a detailed overview of the operation, comparing the British, German, and French indications for, and modifications to, the operation he had personally observed in the three countries.87 Over the course of his tour, Florinskii frequented booksellers and acquired a substantial library of medical and scientific publications, including multivolume editions of the “collected works” of Georges-Louis Buffon, Alexander von Humboldt, Johannes Muller, Rokitansky, and Virchow.88 He also bought several sets of obstetrics and surgical instruments, as well as a microscope with the assortment of extra lenses, to continue his research after returning to St. Petersburg.

  • 89 See, for instance, V. Florinskii to his parents, London, 10 August 1862, NMRT.

82Despite all the work Florinskii was doing during the trip, he also found time for play. Everywhere he went, he visited museums, historical monuments, art galleries, and concerts. During four weeks in the summer of 1862, he journeyed the entire length of the Apennine peninsula and parts of Switzerland. He marveled at great artworks in the Louvre and the Uffizi Gallery, explored the 1862 London International Exhibition and the British Museum, stood in awe of the ancient monuments of Rome, and admired the breathtaking beauty of the Alps and the Bay of Naples.89

  • 90 For a colorful depiction of Russian physicians’ sojourns abroad during this period, see the memoir (...)

83Florinskii’s initial apprehension of living in foreign lands and among “alien” peoples proved unfounded. He quickly overcame his linguistic handicaps, mastering both German and French, and, in preparation for his trip to London, also learning English. He developed good working relations with his professors and indeed befriended several of his mentors in Vienna and Paris. But most important, in almost every city he visited, he found a sizable group of his compatriots. In fact, he spent most of his free time not among the “aliens” but in the company of fellow physicians who had also come to Europe for advanced training from Russian medical schools.90

  • 91 On “Russian circles” abroad, see A. Iu. Andreev, Russkie studenty v nemetskikh universitetakh XVII (...)

84“Russian circles,” which sprung up in every major European center of learning in the late 1850s and early 1860s, enabled Florinskii to maintain those “close bonds of language, religion, and community” he had been so loath to be missing during his tour.91 With their fluid composition, and members coming and going according to their individual itineraries and interests, these circles became a major “exchange” for professional gossip and the latest news from home. They served as hubs of heated discussions, which often continued long into the night and ventured far beyond the confines of science and medicine into contemporary politics, literature, philosophy, and education. They helped reinforce his identity as a Russian, often defined by deliberate comparisons with, and a conscious opposition to, the surrounding “alien” nations, individuals, institutions, beliefs, attitudes, and mores.

85As for many of his compatriots, Florinskii’s “grand tour” became much more than merely a means to advance his professional career. It also provided him with a new lens through which to look at his Fatherland and a whetstone to sharpen his ideas, perspectives, and ideals. Already during the first month of his tour, Florinskii was struck by the sharp contrast between his experiences in St. Petersburg and what he encountered in Berlin. Working at Virchow’s Anatomical Institute at Charité he could not help but notice that “compared to those of Berlin, our academic clinics are simply stinking barracks… Compared to Virchow’s, our Anatomical Institute is a real cesspool, even though it had been created by Pirogov and is currently run by the no less famous [Ventseslav] Gruber” [DZP, 23-24]. This was not the result of Russian medical scientists’ negligence or sloppiness, Florinskii surmised, but rather a direct consequence of “the Russian government’s neglect of science in general and medicine in particular.” “The previous reign [of Nicholas I] had viewed European science as a bogeyman in the form of an atheist and a revolutionary,” he observed, “we had shunned it like a plague, barring to young people any access to foreign lands.” Yet, Florinskii felt, the situation had begun to change with the ascendance of Alexander II:

The doors abroad are now open to each and every one… The government itself actively assists in the capital reorganizations of the entire life in the country, and, thus, we could hope that our medical institutions will very soon reach the same heights as those abroad. We have people and funds. All we need is to trust the former and properly administer the latter [DZP, 25].

  • 92 V. Florinskii to his parents, Vienna, 6 October 1861, NMRT.

86Florinskii was very enthusiastic about the Great Reforms, which at that very time were reshaping so dramatically the life of his country, as well as his own life. But this enthusiasm did not blind him to numerous problems and issues that plagued his Fatherland. The officially sanctioned glasnost’ gave him an opportunity to add his own voice to the chorus of suggestions, criticisms, and ideas regarding the country’s past, present, and future that had risen in the aftermath of the Crimean War. He seized this opportunity with a vengeance. In October 1861, in a letter to his parents (see fig. 1-5), he recorded what would be his life motto: “Now I have the only heart-felt desire — to bring to my Fatherland as much benefit as possible, specifically by acting in that area where I could be most useful.”92 At the moment, that area, of course, was medical science, practice, and education.

  • 93 See V. M. [Florinskii], “Doktorskii ekzamen,” MV, 1861 (12 August): 189-92; (19 August): 197-201; (...)

87In his “free time” during the first months of his tour, Florinskii continued to exercise “the most essential element of scientific knowledge — original scientific criticism.” He wrote an extensive critical analysis of the process, meaning, and purpose of getting a doctoral degree in medicine, based on his recent personal experience, as well as a careful study of available literature on the subject. In August 1861, Medical Herald serialized his assessment in four consecutive issues.93 He began with a brief historical excursion into the institution of doctoral degrees, outlining its Middle Ages origins, development, and expansion in such learned professions as theology, jurisprudence, and medicine. He then described in detail the current system of awarding the degree of Doctor of Medicine in Russia, along with various privileges it accorded to its bearers. According to Florinskii, it was exactly the privileges — the automatic advancement to the eighth rank in the Table of Ranks, with the corresponding increase in salaries, benefits, and pensions — that enticed numerous medical school graduates to seek the degree. Nearly fifteen per cent of all physicians practicing in Russia in 1860 were Doctors of Medicine, he noted. This, Florinskii felt, subverted the very meaning of the degree as the symbol of “highest learning” and “scientific advancement,” undermining its prestige and generating mistrust among the public.

Fig. 1-5. The Florinskiis family, c.1862. An unknown photographer. Upper row: Florinskii’s brothers Ivan Markovich (left) and Semen Markovich (right) with their wives, Augusta Petrovna (left) and Aleksandra Alekseevna (right). Lower row: Florinskii’s father Mark Iakovlevich and his mother Maria Andreevna, with their grandchildren, Arkadii (left) and Vasilii (right). Upon sending his parents a photo of himself (see fig. 1-4), Florinskii asked them to send him a family photograph. The nearest photographic studio was in Ekaterinburg and apparently the family took a trip there to have this photo taken. The family portrait contrasts sharply with the photo of Vasilii Florinskii, illustrating the profound difference in the lifestyle and status of two social estates: the rural clergy and the country’s educated elite. Courtesy of NMRT.

88Florinskii critically reviewed the two major requirements for obtaining a degree: a doctoral examination and a doctoral dissertation. He thought that both of them were insufficient, first of all, because they did not include any prerequisites. For Florinskii, the main prerequisite was solid proof — in the form of published scholarly works — of the applicant’s commitment to the advancement of medical knowledge and/or practice. Only those who proved their abilities to produce new medical knowledge and to express it in readable publications, he argued, should be allowed to pursue the degree. According to Florinskii, in its present form, a doctoral examination was primarily aimed at testing the applicant’s memory. It basically reproduced the format of the medical school final exams, only with many more subjects (25 in the doctoral examination as opposed to ten in the finals). This kind of examination was “a simple formality, boring to the assessors, empty, slightly offensive, and sad to some applicants, and, lately, untrustworthy even to the uneducated public.” A doctoral examination, Florinskii suggested, should be specialized and designed in such a way as to allow the applicant to demonstrate his ability to understand and tackle the general problems and issues of his chosen specialty.

89He was also dissatisfied with the current requirements, as well as the principles of evaluation, for a doctoral dissertation. A dissertation, he insisted, should be not a compilation of available literature, but an original (clinical and/or laboratory) investigation of an important subject in the applicant’s specialty. It should be written and published in Russian to make its results widely accessible to practicing physicians and other researchers. Florinskii was concerned with the style and language of the dissertation: “any truly learned individual must also be a writer.” Writing, for Florinskii, was a special skill that required training and practice. In reality, for many applicants, their dissertation was the first and often the last experience in writing a legible text. Too often, he felt, a “Russian Doctor [of Medicine] cannot write in Russian.” “Who could believe in my doctoral degree,” he wondered, “if I am unable to write two words without a grammatical error [and] to put two sentences in a logical sequence?” Florinskii was convinced that a dissertation must be published well in advance of its public defense to allow its assessment not only by the two “official reviewers” appointed by the medical school, but also by a wider professional community. It is this “public approbation” that, according to Florinskii, must be the ultimate test of any scientific publication and thus a proper evaluation of the significance of facts, ideas, theses, and conclusions presented in a dissertation.

  • 94 See V. M. [Florinskii], “Mnenie russkogo inostrantsa o nashem meditsinskom byte,” MV, 1862 (20 Jan (...)

90All the criticism Florinskii leveled at the existing system of medical science, practice, and education in Russia, did not mean that he did not believe in the bright future of his beloved country. Quite the contrary, he was a true patriot and was deeply offended by the common perception of his homeland and its people as backward, undeveloped, and retrograde. A telling example of this attitude is a feuilleton that Florinskii published in Medical Herald in early 1862 under a revealing title “Notes of a Russian Foreigner about Our Medical Life.”94 The feuilleton responded to a short piece he had read in the Viennese newspaper Medizinische Halle, titled “German doctors in Russia and the lawful order of their practice,” and written by a German physician residing in St. Petersburg. The report stressed the shortage of Russian physicians and portrayed the country as a mecca for German doctors, a land of great opportunities to make a fortune and achieve a high status, and it described the exalted prestige and huge honoraria accorded to them by their Russian clientele. “Foreigners have always been court physicians in Russia,” the author stated, and they have also held the top-level positions in medical institutions, education, and administration. Furthermore, he emphasized, “in case of illness, the highest aristocratic circle, the nobility, and the honorary citizens always prefer to seek the help and advice of foreign doctors.” The author described in detail the very accommodating Russian system of certification for foreign physicians, as well as the ranks and privileges accorded to them by the state.

91Upon reading the article, Florinskii was outraged, a feeling apparently shared by the editor of Medical Herald Chistovich. Just eight days after the publication of this unflattering article in the Viennese newspaper, Florinskii’s response graced the title page of its Russian counterpart. Florinskii dismissed the correspondent’s claims as outdated and misleading. “Some one hundred-fifty years ago,” he sarcastically noted, “there was a time, when, in the simplicity of the Russian soul, we did consider Germans as our teachers, but facts dissuaded us in their pedagogical abilities.” “Honest instructors, seeing their charges reaching adulthood, let them act independently,” he continued, “but we are still considered [to be] adolescents.” He refuted the German author’s various statements and declared forcefully:

God be with you, [our] uninvited and unwelcome helpers; we do not believe anymore in your assistance in the affairs of life and science; take your nomadic swarm somewhere far away, overseas, where life has not yet awakened [and] strengths have not yet developed; offer yourselves to another master, who might, for the first time, as we once had, be fooled by your cunning appearance.

  • 95 Ibid., p. 21.

92“If our word would ever reach the author of the aforementioned article,” Florinskii concluded ironically, “we would ask him to learn more of the true Russia and to advise his compatriots not to rush to pack their bags [and] to tone down their noble intentions of enlightening their kind, but once simple-minded neighbors; he would do it to our pleasure and to his compatriots’ forewarning.”95

  • 96 For useful introductions to the controversy between the Slavophiles and the Westernizers, see Nich (...)
  • 97 See, for instance, V. Florinskii to his parents, Prague, 11 August 1861, NMRT.

93As these publications demonstrate, Florinskii did not fully subscribe to the visions of his Fatherland’s future advanced by either the Slavophiles or the Westernizers, the two major opposing trends of thought in contemporary Russia.96 His diaries and letters show very clearly that he did share the views of many Slavophiles on the close similarity and affinity among Slavic peoples. For instance, during his stay in Prague he repeatedly emphasized numerous similarities and mutual sympathy between the Czechs and the Russians, contrasting them with the differences and hostility between the Germans, on the one hand, and the Russians and the Czechs, on the other.97 Yet, unlike many Slavophiles, he did not believe in an exalted image of a “God-chosen Russian people” or a “special Russian path,” independent and separate of that of western Europe. He freely admitted that the empire and its people had a lot to learn from their western counterparts. But, he did not share the viewpoint of many Westernizers who saw the country and its people as backward and completely incapable of innovation and development (in science, technology, medicine, agriculture, etc.) without the guiding hand of their Western neighbors. Rather, Florinskii believed deeply in the talents and abilities of the Russian people. Was not his personal career the best illustration of such talents and abilities? He blamed the country’s perceived backwardness on state policies that denied its people access to education and social, political, and economic freedoms. Yet, he was not a rabid nationalist, and believed in a free intercourse among various nations. As he pointedly noted in his diary, the two greatest Russian poets, Pushkin and Lermontov, had both descended from mixed, “inter-national” bloodlines. He would further develop this notion in his treatise “Human Perfection and Degeneration.”

94As for many others, Florinskii’s “grand tour” of Europe became a formative experience. He summed up his appreciation of what it meant to him personally in a letter home:

I have often dreamed about [a trip] abroad, but could not even imagine that here one could develop so fast and so far. … Encounters with various nations, a close look at their goals [and] historical events, [and] conversations with the finest Russian circles composed of the best, most advanced individuals (because fools will not come here), could not fail to influence any man.

  • 98 V. Florinskii to his parents, Vienna, 25 September 1861, NMRT.

95“If I did not go to the [Medical-Surgical] Academy, I would have become an ordinary priest,” he concluded, “and, if I did not go abroad, I would have remained, for the rest of my life, an ordinary physician.”98

  • 99 For details, see RGVIA, f. 316, op. 30, d. 26, ll. 1-4; d. 36, l. 1; op. 32, dd. 28-29; and op. 60 (...)
  • 100 See V. Florinskii, “Otchet o sostoianii i deiatel’nosti Obshchestva russkikh vrachei v S. Peterbur (...)
  • 101 See V. Florinskii, “Ocherk sovremenngo ucheniia ob anatomii i fiziologii detskogo mesta,” PZORV, 1 (...)
  • 102 V. Florinskii, “Referat [inostrannoi literatury na nemetskom, frantsuzskom, angliiskom i latinskom (...)
  • 103 [V. M. Florinskii], “Povival’noe iskusstvo. Rukovodstvo dlia krest’ianskikh uchenits rodovspomogat (...)

96Alas, too soon to Florinskii’s liking, his trip came to an end. In late August 1863, he returned to St. Petersburg. Within a few days, he submitted a final report on his work abroad to the Academy Council. And shortly thereafter, he was swept by a whirlwind of teaching, clinical practice, laboratory research, writing, and editing. After an obligatory “trial” lecture, he was appointed an adjunct professor to the obstetrics and gynecology department headed by Krasovskii and began teaching theoretical and practical courses.99 To continue several research projects he had begun abroad, he created a histological laboratory under the auspices of the academy’s gynecology clinic and equipped it with instruments and materials he had bought during his European tour. On 12 September, just two weeks after his return, the St. Petersburg Society of Russian Physicians elected Florinskii as its “scientific secretary” and the editor-in-chief of its journal. He had to arrange the society’s meetings, keep its minutes, and edit its Proceedings.100 During the 1863-1864 academic year, he also delivered four reports on his own research to the society’s meetings, which soon appeared in its journal.101 He continued to publish voluminous surveys of the latest foreign literature on his specialties in the Military-Medical Journal,102 as well as reviews of Russian publications in the Medical Herald.103 In March 1864, in addition to his regular duties at the academy, he was appointed an attending surgeon to the women’s ward at the Second Army Hospital, an appointment that increased his workload considerably.

Fig. 1-6. Maria Florinskaia, née Fufaevskaia, c.1863. Photographer unknown. Courtesy of NMRT.

  • 104 See RGVIA, f. 316, op. 60, d. 382, ll. 12-14.

97A year after his return to St. Petersburg, in August 1864, Florinskii met Maria Fufaevskaia, the daughter of a retired lieutenant-colonel from the Novgorod province. We do not know exactly when, how, or where they met. Available materials are surprisingly silent on details of this fateful meeting and what followed it. She was seventeen, he — thirty. Was it love at first sight? Was it a calculated decision? We could only guess. But less than half a year later, on 30 January 1865, as was mandated by the rules, Florinskii formally petitioned the IMSA president for permission to marry Maria. He appended to his petition all the required documents, including a copy of his bride’s birth certificate and her written statement that she indeed was willing to marry him.104 Dubovitskii granted the petition. Three days later, on 3 February, Vasilii and Maria were joined in holy matrimony.

  • 105 The exact address was Ital’ianskaia Street, Solomko’s House (there were two streets named Ital’ian (...)
  • 106 V. Florinskii to A. I. Fufaevskaia, 13 February 1865, NMRT.
  • 107 V. Florinskii to A. I. Fufaevskaia, 23 February 1865, NMRT.

98The newlyweds moved into a spacious apartment that Florinskii rented in a fashionable neighborhood in the very center of the city. The apartment building was situated on Malaia Ital’ianskaia Street that run parallel to Nevsky Prospect between the Liteinyi and Ligovskii avenues (see fig. 1-7). In choosing the location of their new apartment, Florinskii certainly considered its proximity to the academy. To get to his clinics, all he needed to do was to follow Liteinyi Prospect for about two kilometers to the other side of the Neva.105 He hired a maid and a cook to help his young wife with running their new household. As Florinskii wrote to his mother-in-law, “What shall I tell you about our married life? We are very happy. … We are spending most of our time at home, because we do not feel like going anywhere, unless we have to, since it is so nice and cozy here.”106 In the next letter, however, he begged her pardon for not writing more often, “I am now almost constantly busy.”107

Fig. 1-7. The façade of the Solomko house on Malaia Ital’ianskaia Street in St. Petersburg, where Vasilii and Maria Florinskii lived for fifteen years, from 1863 to 1878. Current address, 22 Zhukovskogo Street. Alas, I was unable to determine exactly which apartment the Florinskiis occupied, but apparently its windows overlooked the inner courtyard. Photo by the author, 2016.

  • 108 RGVIA, f. 316, op. 60, d. 382, ll. 15-17.
  • 109 V. Florinskii, “Razbor khronicheskogo vospaleniia ili zavala matki (Metritis parenchymatosa chroni (...)
  • 110 V. Florinskii, “Ob ozhivlenii mnimoumershikh novorozhdennykh detei,” MV, 1865 (28 August): 325-27; (...)
  • 111 [G. A. Braun], Kurs operativnogo akusherstva prof. G. Brauna (SPb.: Ia. Trei, 1865). For the origi (...)
  • 112 [V. M. Florinskii], “A. Krasovskii, Kurs prakticheskogo akusherstva, Vyp. 1. SPb., 1865 – xx + 490 (...)

99Florinskii was not just making excuses. He was indeed swamped with work. In March, in addition to his regular teaching, clinical, and editorial duties, he was appointed “a junior attending physician” to the Second Army Hospital. A month later, he was promoted to the next, seventh civic rank (equal to a lieutenant-colonel in the army) in the Table of Ranks, which came with a sizable salary increase and an “Order of St. Anne.”108 At the same time, he was finishing and writing up two substantial pieces of research: one, on the histological changes produced in the uterus by chronic inflammation,109 and another, on the methods of revival of apparently stillborn babies.110 He was also editing and annotating a Russian translation (prepared by his students) of the Obstetrics Compendium published a year earlier by Gustav August Braun, one of the professors he had befriended in Vienna.111 He, of course, continued writing reviews of current literature on his specialties112

100And, most likely, it was during this very busy, but very happy time in the late spring and early summer of 1865 that Florinskii began his collaboration with Russian Word and started working on his treatise “Human Perfection and Degeneration.”

Notes

1 For the most voluminous accounts of Galton’s life and works, see, Charles P. Blacker, Eugenics: Galton and After (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1952); Ruth S. Cowan, Sir Francis Galton and the Study of Heredity in the Nineteenth Century (New York: Garland, 1985); Milo Keynes, ed., Sir Francis Galton, FRS: The Legacy of His Ideas (London: Macmillan, 1993); Nicholas W. Gillham, A Life of Sir Francis Galton: From African Exploration to the Birth of Eugenics (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001); and Martin Brookes, Extreme Measures: The Dark Visions and Bright Ideas of Francis Galton (London: Bloomsbury, 2004).

2 F. Galton, Memories of My Life (London: Methuen, 1909), pp. 287-88.

3 This is the date on Florinskii’s birth certificate. However, until the Bolshevik Revolution, Russia used the Julian calendar that was thirteen days behind the Gregorian calendar used in Britain, so in absolute “astronomical” terms Galton and Florinskii were born twelve years and thirteen days apart. A copy of Florinskii’s birth certificate is preserved in the Russian State Military Historical Archive (hereafter RGVIA), fond (collection) 316, opis’ (inventory) 63, delo (file) 6257, list (page) 3; hereafter such references will be given as f. 316, op. 63, d. 6257, l. 3.

4 For a detailed analysis of the social history of the Russian clergy, see Gregory L. Freeze, The Russian Levites: Parish Clergy in the Eighteenth Century (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1977), and idem, The Parish Clergy in Nineteenth-Century Russia: Crisis, Reform, Counter-Reform (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1983). For a more general analysis of the social estate system in Russia, see idem, “The Soslovie (Estate) Paradigm and Russian Social History,” American Historical Review, 1986, 91(1): 11-36; N. A. Ivanova and V. P. Zheltova, Soslovnoe obshchestvo Rossiiskoi imperii (XVIII — nachalo XX veka) (M.: Novyi Khronograf, 2010); and Alison K. Smith, For the Common Good and Their Own Well-Being: Social Estates in Imperial Russia (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).

5 For a detailed, three-volume history of this seminary, see N. V. Malitskii, Istoriia Vladimirskoi dukhovnoi seminarii (M.: A. I. Snegireva, 1900-02). However, for some reason, Mark Iakovlev’s name is not included in the list of the seminary graduates appended to the last volume.

6 My reconstruction of Florinskii’s early life is largely based on his unpublished memoirs, “Thoughts and Reminiscences about my Education and Upbringing,” held at the National Museum of the Tatarstan Republic (hereafter NRMT), see NRMT, V. M. Florinskii’s collection, № 117959, # 204, 205; hereafter such references will be given as NRMT, # 204, 205. Direct quotations from this manuscript are indicated in the text as [ZV, followed by the page number]. Alas, the collection has been processed according to the rules of the museum curation (whereby each individual item, be it a letter, a book, a photograph, or an artifact is merely given a number in a general inventory), and not according to the established principles of archival preservation (where similar types of documents, such as correspondence, manuscripts, biographical materials, photographs and so on, are gathered under the same heading), which would have made it much easier to identify and locate a particular document.

7 See O. Penezhko, Gorod Iur’ev-Pol’skii, khramy Iur’ev-Pol’skogo raiona (Vladimir: n. p., 2005), p. 59.

8 Florinskii relayed the story of his family name in his “Thoughts and Reminiscences.” See NRMT, #204.

9 Mikhail’s wife was the younger sister of Mikhail Speranskii, a graduate of the same Vladimir Seminary, who became one of the most prominent statesmen during the reigns of Alexander I and Nicholas I. For his biography, see Marc Raeff, Michael Speransky: Statesman of Imperial Russia, 1772– 1839 (Westport, CT: Hyperion, 1979).

10 For detailed biographical information on Grigorii Fedorov, see E. A. Popov, Velikopermskaia i Permskaia eparkhiia (1379-1879) (Perm: Nikifirova, 1879), pp. 158-261.

11 Even at the end of the nineteenth century (when the first country-wide census was taken), its population still counted less than two million people.

12 See, for instance, a description of the travel on that road, though in the opposite direction, some fifteen years after the Florinskiis had made their journey in V. P. Parshin, Opisanie puti ot Irkutska do Moskvy, sostavlennoe v 1849 g. (M.: A. Semen, 1851). For a historical analysis of the Trans-Siberian highway and its role in Russian history, see O. N. Kationov, Moskovsko-Sibirskii trakt i ego zhiteli v XVII-XIX vv. (Novosibirsk: Izd-vo NGPU, 2004).

13 On the 1837 trip of the future Emperor Alexander II through his domains, see L. G. Zakharova and L. I. Tiutiunnik, eds., Venchanie s Rossiei (M.: MGU, 1999).

14 On the contemporary views of Siberia as a “promised land,” see Mark Bassin, “Inventing Siberia: Visions of the Russian East in the Early Nineteenth Century,” American Historical Review, 1991, 96(3): 763-94; and idem, Imperial Visions. Nationalist Imagination and Geographical Expansion in the Russian Far East, 1840-1865 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004).

15 The remnants of this garden have survived to this day, but only the foundation of the old church remains standing. See N. P. Shusharina, “Rod Betevykh v istorii zemli Kataiskoi,” Soiuznaia mysl’, 2011, 2 (24 January): 2-4, http://kaz2.docdat.com/docs/index-122554.html.

16 At the Church of the Holy Virgin he had built, Father Mark served his parishioners as best he could until 1867, when he retired and was succeeded by his youngest son Semen. For a very brief description of the church and its history, see Prikhody i tserkvi Ekaterinburgskoi eparkhii. Istoricheskii ocherk (Ekaterinburg, 1902), p. 571. For a detailed description of the Florinskii family based on the material from the local archives, see N. P. Shusharina, “Sviashchenicheskii rod Florinskikh,” Zaural’skaia genealogiia (Kurgan), 2009, 3, http://www.kurgangen.ru/religion/pravoslavnoe/Florinsky/Florinsky_Rod; and L. A. Biakova, “O dinastiii sviashchenosluzhitelei Florinskikh-Kokosovykh,” http://www.fnperm.ru.

17 It is preserved among his personal papers kept in the NMRT, “Psaltyr’.”

18 For an English translation, see N. G. Pomyalovsky, Seminary Sketches, transl. by Alfred Kuhn (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1973). The translation’s title is misleading, for seminary is a secondary theological school, while Pomialovskii’s Sketches described bursa — that is a primary school.

19 For a detailed, three-volume history of this seminary, see [I. E. Lagovskii], Istoriia Permskoi dukhovnoi seminarii arkhimandrita Ieronima, 3 vols. (Ekaterinburg: I. V. Shestakov, 1900-01), parts 1-4.

20 P. A. Kropotkin, Zapiski revoliutsionera (London: Izdanie vol’noi russkoi pressy, 1902), p. 82.

21 For a brief biographical sketch of Vishniakov, see [Lagovskii], Istoriia Permskoi dukhovnoi seminarii, part 3, p. 677. See also, N. A. Skorobotov, Pamiatnaia knizhka okonchivshikh kurs S.-Peterburgskoi seminarii, s 1811 po 1895 g. (SPb.: I. A. Frolov, 1896).

22 Moskovitianin (M., 1841-56), Biblioteka dlia chteniia (SPb., 1834-65), Otechestvennye zapiski (SPb., 1839-84), Sovremennik (SPb., 1836-66). For a classic, detailed analysis of the nineteenth-century “thick” journals and Russian journalism more generally, see the latest edition of B. I. Esin, Istoriia russkoi zhurnalistiki XIX veka (M.: Moskovskii universitet, 2008).

23 For Makarii’s biography, see G. A. Polisadov, Vysokopreosviashchennyi Makarii (Nizhnii Novgorod: Gubernskoe pravlenie, 1895).

24 On Florinskii’s later contributions to these fields, see A. V. Zhuk, “Vasilii Markovich Florinskii kak arkheolog,” AB ORIGINE: Problemy genezisa kul’tur Sibiri (Tiumen’: TiumGU, 2013), 5: 5-22; and idem, “Vasilii Markovich Florinskii, ego mesto i znachenie v otechestvennoi arkheologii,” Vestnik Omskogo universiteta. Seriia “Istoricheskie nauki”, 2015, 1 (5): 100-15. Florinskii’s involvement with “historical scholarship” will be discussed in Chapter 4.

25 For a brief sketch of Morigerovskii’s work at the seminary, see [Lagovskii], Istoriia Permskoi dukhovnoi seminarii, part 3, pp. 670-71. For his brief biography, see Skorobotov, Pamiatnaia knizhka okonchivshikh kurs S.-Peterburgskoi seminarii; and A. S. Rodosskii, Biograficheskii slovar’ studentov pervykh XXVIII-mi kursov S. Peterburgskoi dukhovnoi akademii (SPb.: I. V. Leont’ev, 1907), p. 281.

26 For a detailed history of the Russian system of learned degrees in theology, see N. Iu. Sukhova, Sistema nauchno-bogoslovskoi attestatsii v Rossii v XIX – nachale XX vv. (M.: PSTGU, 2009).

27 See V. N. Sazhin, “Aleksandr Nikiforovich Morigerovskii – obshchestvennyi deiatel’i izdatel’,” in Knizhnoe delo v Rossii vo vtoroi polovine XIX – nachale XX veka (L.: GPB, 1986), vol. 2, pp. 10-22.

28 Probably this is why Vasilii Florinskii is absent in the published list of the Perm Seminary graduates, though both of his brothers are duly listed. See Spravochnaia kniga vsekh okonchivshikh kurs Permskoi dukhovnoi seminarii (Perm: I. Shestakov, 1900).

29 Florinskii’s graduation certificate and travel permit are preserved in RGVIA, f. 316, op. 63, d. 6257, ll. 2-2 rev.

30 NMRT, V. Florinskii to his parents, 17 July 1853.

31 For the history of the fair, see Anne L. Fitzpatrick. The Great Russian Fair: Nizhnii Novgorod, 1840-90 (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1990); and N. F. Filatov, Tri veka Makar’evsko-Nizhegorodskoi iarmarki (Nizhnii Novgorod: Knigi, 2003).

32 On the development of highways and stagecoach services, see Alexandra Bekasova, “The Making of Passengers in the Russian Empire: Coach Transport Companies, Guidebooks, and National Identity in Russia, 1820-1860s,” in John Randolph and Eugene M. Avrutin, eds., Russia in Motion: Cultures of Human Mobility since 1850 (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2012), pp. 199-217.

33 See Postroika i ekspluatatsiia Nikolaevskoi zheleznoi dorogi (1842-1851-1901). Kratkii istoricheskii ocherk (SPb.: Upravlenie dorogi, 1901).

34 Dobroliubov (1836-1861) would enter the Teachers Institute and soon become the leading literary critic and, together with Nikolai Chernyshevskii, the lead author of The Contemporary, the most influential journal of the time. Markov (183?-1861) would graduate with the highest honors — a gold medal — from the IMSA in 1858 and would be slated for a professorship at his alma mater, but would die from meningitis just after completing his doctoral dissertation. In his recollections, Florinskii claims that he struck a lasting friendship with Dobroliubov but I could not verify this claim: none of Dobroliubov’s published materials (correspondence, diaries, etc.) contains any indication of his acquaintance with Florinskii. Furthermore, Dobroliubov’s account of his attempt to enter St. Petersburg Theological Academy recorded in his letters home differs substantially from Florinskii’s story.

35 According to the Orthodox Church’s rules, only married ordained clerics were allowed to serve as priests. Widowed priests therefore were discharged from their parishes. They had two options: to leave the clergy and try to make a living in the secular world (most often as teachers in low-level secular schools); or to continue their ecclesiastical careers in the Black Clergy, take monastic vows and either become monks or continue their education at a theological academy in their diocese, hoping to get a position in the church administration.

36 Introduced by Peter the Great, the Table of Ranks defined the hierarchy of the court, military, and civil service in the empire. For a complete list of all the ranks included in the Table see D. V. Liventsev, Kratkii slovar’ chinov i zvanii gosudarstvennoi sluzhby Moskovskogo gosudarstva i Rossiiskoi imperii v XV — nachale XX vv. Chast’1 (Voronezh: RAGS, 2006). For a detailed historical analysis of ranks and associated privileges, see L. E. Shepelev, Tituly, mundiry, ordena v Rossiiskoi imperii (M.: Nauka, 1991).

37 Possibly professors overlooked Florinskii’s failure in the mathematics exam because the academy had made it a requirement for the first time that year, and many candidates were poorly prepared.

38 The tuition of fifty rubles per annum for “self-supported” students was reinstated two years later, in 1855; see RGVIA, f. 316, op. 26, d. 57. For a detailed account of the history of the academy, including admission rules, tuition, the professoriate, and so on, see G. G. Skorichenko, Imperatorskaia Voenno-meditsinskaia akademiia, 2 vols. (SPb.: Sinodal’naia tipographiia, 1902-10).

39 Unfortunately, Florinskii’s collection in the NMTR contains none of the letters he must have sent home explaining the situation and announcing his decision to enter the IMSA.

40 Indeed, his great uncle, Archbishop Arkadii, was renowned as one of the leading relentless pursuers of a prominent group of inovertsy — the “old believers,” a large section of the Russian Orthodox Christians who had refused to accept the reforms introduced by Patriarch Nikon of Moscow in the mid-seventeenth century.

41 On Zinin’s very brief biography and his work in the IMSA, see I. S. Ioffe, N. N. Zinin. Deiatel’nost’v Mediko-Khirurgicheskoi akademii. K 150-letiiu so dnia rozhdeniia (L.: VMA, 1963).

42 Useful introductions to the history of the Crimean War in English could be found in David Wetzel, The Crimean War: A Diplomatic History (Boulder, CO: East European Monographs, 1985); Trevor Royle, Crimea: The Great Crimean War, 1854– 1856 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2000); and Orlando Figes, The Crimean War: A History (New York: Metropolitan, 2010).

43 For useful introductions to the history of the Great Reforms, see a recent reprint of the Russian language classic, G. A. Dzhanshiev, Epokha velikikh reform, 2 vols. (M.: Territoriia budushchego, 2008); W. Bruce Lincoln, In the Vanguard of Reform: Russia’s Enlightened Bureaucrats, 1825-1861 (DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press, 1982); idem, The Great Reforms: Autocracy, Bureaucracy, and the Politics of Change in Imperial Russia (DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press, 1990); and Larissa Zakharova, Ben Eklof, and John Bushnell, eds., Velikie reformy v Rossii, 1856-1874 (M.: MGU, 1992); an English version of the latter book was published in 1994 by Indiana University Press.

44 The word glasnost’, which entered the English vocabulary only during Mikhail Gorgachev’s perestroika of the mid-1980s, had come into wide use in the Russian language more than a century earlier. See W. Bruce Lincoln, “The Problem of Glasnost’ in Mid-Nineteenth Century Russian Politics,” European Studies Review, 1981, 11: 171-88; and W. E. Mosse, Perestroika under the Tsars (New York: St. Martin’s, 1992).

45 See P. S. Platonov, Ob amputatsiiakh chlenov i rezektsiiakh kostei (SPb.: Ia. Trei, 1855), and idem, Opisatel’naia anatomiia, 3 vols. (SPb.: Ia. Trei, 1856-1858).

46 See V. Florinskii, “Pronitsaiushchaia rana kolennogo sustava (Vulnus gaesum penetrans genu sinistri),” Voenno-meditsinskii zhurnal (hereafter VMZh), 1857, 70: 1-12.

47 For a biography of Kiter, see Iu. V. Tsvelev, Akademik Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Kiter (ocherk zhizni i deiatel’nosti) (SPb.: Voenno-Meditsinskaia Akademiia, 2004).

48 See A. A. Kiter, Rukovosdtvo k izucheniiu akusherskoi nauki, 2 vols. (SPb.: Ia. Trei, 1857-1858).

49 Unfortunately, “due to its poor physical conditions” I was refused access to a special file on Florinskii’s appointment held in RGVIA, f. 316, op. 27, d. 55, ll. 1-2.

50 See A. A. Kiter, Rukovodstvo k izucheniiy zhenskikh boleznei (SPb.: Ia. Trei, 1858). On the prize, see RGVIA, f. 316, op. 60, d. 112.

51 For an English-language analysis of the IMSA reforms, focused mostly on changes in the academy as a research institution, see Galina Kichigina, The Imperial Laboratory: Experimental Physiology and Clinical Medicine in Post-Crimean Russia (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2009).

52 For a short biography of Dubovitskii, see V. N. Beliakov, Petr Aleksandrovich Dubovitskii (Leningrad: VMA, 1976).

53 For a biography of Glebov, see V. A. Makarov, Ivan Timofeevich Glebov (M.: Nauka, 1995).

54 See Glebov’s description of the IMSA reforms undertaken during the three years, 1857-1859, in I. Glebov, Kratkii obzor deistvii Imperatorskoi Sanktpeterburgskoi Mediko-khirurgicheskoi akademii za 1857, 1858 i 1859 gody v vidakh uluchsheniia etogo zavedeniia (SPb.: Imperatorskaia akademiia nauk, 1860). See also a historical account of the academy transformation in Skorichenko, Imperatorskaia Voenno-meditsinskaia akademiia; especially Part 1, “Rebirth of the Academy,” in vol. 2, pp. 1-130.

55 See RGVIA, f. 316, op. 28, d. 40.

56 For the statute of the new institute, see RGVIA, f. 316, op. 60, d. 118, ll. 23-27 rev.; see also Florinskii’s reminiscences in ZV, 135-37.

57 See RGVIA, f. 316, op. 60, d. 131.

58 In the spring of 1860, Krasovskii published a voluminous report on the work accomplished in his clinics during the 1858-1859 academic year. See A. Ia. Krasovskii, “Otchet o sostoianii akusherskoi, zhenskoi i detskoi klinik i gospital’nogo zhenskogo otdeleniia,” VMZh, 1860, 77 (March): 229-74; (April): 327-35. Even though Florinskii is not listed as an author, it is clear that he had produced the lion’s share of this report, which Krasovskii acknowledged in a footnote on p. 229.

59 See the protocol of Florinskii’s examination in RGVIA, f. 316, op. 30, d. 129, ll. 3-4 rev.

60 RGVIA, f. 316, op. 60, d. 382, l. 2.

61 See Protokoly zasedanii Obshchestva russkikh vrachei v S. Peterburge (hereafter PZORV), 1859-1860: 427. For his reports to the society meetings, see V. Florinskii, “O vtorichnom obremenenii (Superfoetatio),” ibid., 335-57; and idem, “O terapevticheskom upotreblenii matochnykh dushei,” ibid., 429-60.

62 See V. Florinskii, “Mozhno li dopustit’kefalotripsiiu nad zhivymi mladentsami?” PZORV, 1860-1861: 13-56; idem, “Zachatiia pri otsutstvii mesiachnykh ochishchenii,” ibid., 248-51; idem, “Sroki rodov v sviazi so srokom menstruatsii i sutochnym vremenem,” ibid., 251-53; idem, “O molochnoi likhoradke,” ibid., 253-54; idem, “O zhirovom pererozhdenii posleda,” ibid., 254-57; idem, “Sertsebienie mladentsa do i posle rozhdeniia na svet,” ibid., 257-59.

63 V. S. Gruzdev, Istoricheskii ocherk kafedry akusherstva i zhenskikh boleznei Imperatorskoi voenno-meditsinskoi akademii i soedinennoi s neiu akademicheskoi akushersko-ginekologicheskoi kliniki (SPb.: Imperatorskaia akademiia nauk, 1898), p. 219.

64 This gradation of professorial positions roughly corresponds to the present day titles of full, associate, and assistant professors.

65 On Florinskii’s appointment, see RGVIA, f. 316, op. 69, d. 195, ll. 187-187 rev.

66 See V. Florinskii, O razryvakh promezhnosti vo vremia rodov (SPb.: I. Markov, 1861). For official documents related to Florinskii’s dissertation, see RGVIA, f. 316, op. 69, d. 196, ll. 102-05 rev.

67 Earning the degree automatically moved Florinskii up to the eighth rank (equal in military terms to major) in the Table of Ranks; more on this subject below.

68 See RGVIA, f. 316, op. 60, d. 256, ll. 21-21 rev.

69 See RGVIA, f. 316, op. 69, d. 196, ll. 125 rev. -126.

70 It appeared in the October issue of the journal. See V. Florinskii, “Otchet akusherskoi, zhenskoi i detskoi klinik i gospital’nogo zhenskogo otdeleniia Imperatorskoi S. Peterburgskoi Mediko-khirurgicheskoi akademii za 1859-60 uchebnyi akademicheskii god. 1. Akusherskaia klinika,” VMZh, 1861, 72 (October): 111-47.

71 See Meditsinskii otchet Imperatorskogo S. Peterburgskogo vospitatel’nogo doma za 1857 god (SPb.: n. p., 1860). On the founding and early history of this institution, see A. P. Piatkovskii, “S. -Peterburgskii vospitatel’nyi dom pod upravleniem I. I. Betskogo,” Russkaia starina, 1875, 12(1); 146-59; (2): 369-80; (4): 665-80; 13(5): 177-99; (8): 532-53; 14(11): 421-43; (12): 618-38. On its role in medicine and medical education, see T. G. Frumenkova, “Peterburgskii vospitatel’nyi dom i podgotovka medikov doreformennoi Rossii,” Universum: Vestnik Gertsenovskogo universiteta, 2012, 1: 166-74.

72 See RGVIA, f. 316, op. 60, d. 246.

73 V. M. [Florinskii], “Meditsinskii otchet Imperatorskogo S. Peterburgskogo vospitatel’nogo doma za 1857 god. SPb., 1860,” Meditsinskii vestnik (hereafter MV), 1861 (24 June): 125-28.

74 This statement comes from Florinskii’s article published in the same newspaper two months later. See V. M. [Florinskii], “Doktorskii ekzamen,” MV, 1861 (26 August): 205-08 (p. 206).

75 Florinskii’s criticism provoked an indignant response from the institution’s head physician, which led to a polemic lasting nearly a year. See K. Raukhfus, “Otvet na stat’iu V. M. O meditsinskom otchete Imperatorskogo S-Peterburgskogo vospitatel’nogo doma za 1857g,” MV, 1861 (5 August): 177-81; V. M. [Florinskii], “Otvet g. Raukhfusu, po povodu ego antikritiki,” ibid., 1861 (30 December): 385-89; K. Raukhfus, “Otvet g. V. M.,” ibid., 1862 (26 May): 203-06.

76 My reconstruction of Florinskii’s “grand tour” is largely based on his letters and unpublished diaries and memoirs, “Diaries of My Foreign Trip,” held at the NMRT, #99, 100. Direct quotations from this manuscript are indicated in the text as [DZP, followed by page number].

77 This sum included his regular annual salary (700 rubles) and a special subsidy (1,000 rubles per year) for travel and living expenses. See RGVIA, f. 316, op. 69, d. 196, ll. 119 rev. -120.

78 For Krasovskii’s instructions on what Florinskii should do during his tour, see RGVIA, f. 316, op. 30, d. 19, ll. 7-8 rev.

79 He was granted permission with no extra subsidy; for details, see RGVIA, f. 316, op. 30, d. 19, ll. 34-50; op. 60, d. 256, ll. 108-13.

80 See Florinskii’s letters to his parents and siblings in NMRT; and to his superiors in RGVIA, f. 316, op. 32, d. 28, ll. 10-11 rev.

81 V. Florinskii to his parents, Prague, 25 September 1861, in NMRT.

82 See I. Glebov, “O zaniatiiakh medikov vrachebnogo instituta,” VMZh, 1863, 88: 338-64.

83 See, V. M. [Florinskii], “Venskaia akusherskaia klinika,” MV, 1862 (10 March): 81-87 (17 March): 93-96; (25 March): 105-9; (31 March): 121-25; idem, “Miunkhenskaia akusherskaia klinika,” ibid., 1862 (15 September): 314-16; idem, “Miunkhenskaia i Erlagenskaia akusherskie kliniki,” ibid., 1862 (22 September): 367-70.

84 See V. Florinskii, “Obzor trudov [na nemetskom, frantsuzskom, angliiskom i latinskom iazykakh] po chasti akusherstva i zhenskikh boleznei za 1861 i 1862 gg.,” VMZh, 1862, 87 (August): 171-248; 88 (September): 37-62; idem, “Referat [inostrannoi literatury na nemetskom, frantsuzskom, angliiskom i latinskom iazykakh] po chasti patologii i terapii zhenskikh boleznei za 1861 i 1862 gg.,” ibid., 1863, 88 (October): 197-219; (December): 341-70.

85 See, for instance, V. M. Florinskii, “Neskol’ko slov o dekapitatsii utrobnogo mladentsa,” MV, 1862 (11 August): 314-16.

86 V. Florinskii, “Ob izmenenii matki v poslerodovom periode,” MV, 1862 (21 July): 283-86; (4 August): 299-304; (18 August): 319-23; (1 September): 335-39; (15 September): 351-53.

87 See V. Florinskii, “Ovariotomiia,” MV, 1863 (9 March): 78-82; (16 March): 91-92; (23 March): 101-03; (30 March): 111-14.

88 See the list of books Florinskii donated to the Tomsk University Library upon his retirement, in NMRT, # 262, 31 ll.

89 See, for instance, V. Florinskii to his parents, London, 10 August 1862, NMRT.

90 For a colorful depiction of Russian physicians’ sojourns abroad during this period, see the memoirs of Florinskii’s older colleague Ivan Sechenov, I. M. Sechenov, Avtobiograficheskie zapiski (M.: Izd-vo AN SSSR, 1945), pp. 73-113.

91 On “Russian circles” abroad, see A. Iu. Andreev, Russkie studenty v nemetskikh universitetakh XVIII-pervoi poloviny XIX veka (M.: Znak, 2005); and, especially, Michael D. Gordin, “The Heidelberg Circle: German Inflections on the Professionalization of Russian Chemistry in the 1860s,” Osiris, 2008, 23(1): 23-49.

92 V. Florinskii to his parents, Vienna, 6 October 1861, NMRT.

93 See V. M. [Florinskii], “Doktorskii ekzamen,” MV, 1861 (12 August): 189-92; (19 August): 197-201; (26 August): 205-208; (2 September): 213-16.

94 See V. M. [Florinskii], “Mnenie russkogo inostrantsa o nashem meditsinskom byte,” MV, 1862 (20 January): 17-21.

95 Ibid., p. 21.

96 For useful introductions to the controversy between the Slavophiles and the Westernizers, see Nicholas Riasanovsky’s classic, Russia and the West in the Teaching of the Slavophiles (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1952); Andrzej Walicki, The Slavophile Controversy: History of a Conservative Utopia in Nineteenth-Century Russia (Oxford: Clarendon, 1975); and Susanna Rabow-Edling, Slavophile Thought and the Politics of Cultural Nationalism (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2006).

97 See, for instance, V. Florinskii to his parents, Prague, 11 August 1861, NMRT.

98 V. Florinskii to his parents, Vienna, 25 September 1861, NMRT.

99 For details, see RGVIA, f. 316, op. 30, d. 26, ll. 1-4; d. 36, l. 1; op. 32, dd. 28-29; and op. 60, d. 382, l. 5.

100 See V. Florinskii, “Otchet o sostoianii i deiatel’nosti Obshchestva russkikh vrachei v S. Peterburge za 1863-64 akademicheskii god v godovom sobranii obshchestva 12 sentiabria 1864 g.,” PZORV, 1864-1865: 4-10. The next year, he was re-elected as the society’s secretary, see ibid., 1864-65: 11.

101 See V. Florinskii, “Ocherk sovremenngo ucheniia ob anatomii i fiziologii detskogo mesta,” PZORV, 1863-1864: 71-80; idem, “O matochnykh zhelezakh (Glandulae utriculares),” ibid., 139-46; idem, “O tak nazyvaemom zakonnom isskustvennom vykidyshe,” ibid., 223-36; idem, “Difterit,” ibid., 321-38.

102 V. Florinskii, “Referat [inostrannoi literatury na nemetskom, frantsuzskom, angliiskom i latinskom iazykakh] po chasti patologii i terapii zhenskikh boleznei za 1861 i 1862 gg.,” VMZh, 1863, 88 (October): 197-219; (December): 341-70; idem, “Obzor trudov po chasti akusherstva i zhenskikh boleznei za 1863 i 1864 gg.,” VMZh, 1865, 94 (October): 23-58; (November) 59-102; (December): 103-39.

103 [V. M. Florinskii], “Povival’noe iskusstvo. Rukovodstvo dlia krest’ianskikh uchenits rodovspomogatel’nogo zavedeniia pri imperatorskom S. Petersburgskom vospitatel’nom dome. Sostavil I. Geppener. SPb, 1862,” MV, 1863 (7 December): 513-15; (14 December): 525-27; idem, “O rasshirenii matochnoi sheiki posredstvom Laminaria diqitata Vil’sona,” ibid., 1864 (2 May): 172.

104 See RGVIA, f. 316, op. 60, d. 382, ll. 12-14.

105 The exact address was Ital’ianskaia Street, Solomko’s House (there were two streets named Ital’ianskaia in 1863), nowadays 22 Zhukovskogo Street (see fig. 1-7). For the history of this house see A. S. Dubin, Ulitsa Zhukovskogo (SPb.: Aleteia, 2012), pp. 236-49.

106 V. Florinskii to A. I. Fufaevskaia, 13 February 1865, NMRT.

107 V. Florinskii to A. I. Fufaevskaia, 23 February 1865, NMRT.

108 RGVIA, f. 316, op. 60, d. 382, ll. 15-17.

109 V. Florinskii, “Razbor khronicheskogo vospaleniia ili zavala matki (Metritis parenchymatosa chronica s infarctus uteri chronicus),” VMZh, 1865, 93 (August): 337-400.

110 V. Florinskii, “Ob ozhivlenii mnimoumershikh novorozhdennykh detei,” MV, 1865 (28 August): 325-27; (4 September): 333-35.

111 [G. A. Braun], Kurs operativnogo akusherstva prof. G. Brauna (SPb.: Ia. Trei, 1865). For the original edition, see G. A. Braun, Compendium der Geburtshilfe (Vienna: Braumiiller, 1864).

112 [V. M. Florinskii], “A. Krasovskii, Kurs prakticheskogo akusherstva, Vyp. 1. SPb., 1865 – xx + 490 pp.,” MV, 1865 (21 August): 315-20; V. M. Florinskii, “Obzor trudov [na nemetskom, frantsuzskom, angliiskom, latinskom iazykakh] po chasti akusherstva i zhenskikh boleznei za 1863 i 1864 gg.” VMZh, 1865 (October): 23-58; (November): 59-102; (December): 103-39.

Table des illustrations

Légende Fig. 1-1. Perm Seminary, a postcard (c. 1900). This three-story brick house was constructed across a square from the city’s main cathedral in 1843, after the old wooden building had been destroyed in the fire. In the mid-1930s it was completely reconstructed (with addition of two extra floors) to house an air-force school for the Red Army. Courtesy of RNB.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/7387/img-1.jpg
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Légende Fig. 1-2. A postcard (c. 1900) featuring the main building of the Imperial Medical-Surgical Academy. It was built in the course of a decade, 1798-1809, in the then popular classicist style, by the two famous St. Petersburg architects Antonio Porto and Andrei Voronikhin. In 1881, the academy’s official name was changed into the Imperial Military-Medical Academy, and the new name placed on the building’s frieze, just above its six columns. In front of the building there is the monument to the academy’s first president, James Wylie, created by the architect Andrei Shtakenshneider and the sculptor David Iensen and unveiled on 9 December 1859, during the second year of Florinskii’s studies at the Institute of Young Doctors. In the late 1940s, the monument was moved into the academy’s courtyard, where it stands to this day. Courtesy of RNB.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/7387/img-2.jpg
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Légende Fig. 1-3. A page from Florinskii’s diary with a weekly schedule of classes during his fifth and final year as a student at the IMSA, 1858. From Monday through Saturday, he spent four hours every morning in the clinics (dividing his time between surgery and therapy). Every other day, he had lectures and practical lessons in forensic medicine and obstetrics. He also attended lectures on the history of medicine, as well as on hygiene and medical police. Courtesy of NMRT.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/7387/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 237k
Légende Fig. 1-4. Vasilii Florinskii in Paris, c.1862. This photo was taken by Sergei Levitsky, a patriarch of Russian photography. Between 1859 and 1864 Levitsky operated an atelier at 22 rue de Choiseul in Paris. Almost every Russian visiting Paris in those years (from Levitsky’s cousin Alexander Herzen to Emperor Alexander II) went to the studio, which became one of the hubs of “Russian circles” in the city. Courtesy of NMRT.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/7387/img-4.jpg
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Légende Fig. 1-5. The Florinskiis family, c.1862. An unknown photographer. Upper row: Florinskii’s brothers Ivan Markovich (left) and Semen Markovich (right) with their wives, Augusta Petrovna (left) and Aleksandra Alekseevna (right). Lower row: Florinskii’s father Mark Iakovlevich and his mother Maria Andreevna, with their grandchildren, Arkadii (left) and Vasilii (right). Upon sending his parents a photo of himself (see fig. 1-4), Florinskii asked them to send him a family photograph. The nearest photographic studio was in Ekaterinburg and apparently the family took a trip there to have this photo taken. The family portrait contrasts sharply with the photo of Vasilii Florinskii, illustrating the profound difference in the lifestyle and status of two social estates: the rural clergy and the country’s educated elite. Courtesy of NMRT.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/7387/img-5.jpg
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Légende Fig. 1-6. Maria Florinskaia, née Fufaevskaia, c.1863. Photographer unknown. Courtesy of NMRT.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/7387/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 114k
Légende Fig. 1-7. The façade of the Solomko house on Malaia Ital’ianskaia Street in St. Petersburg, where Vasilii and Maria Florinskii lived for fifteen years, from 1863 to 1878. Current address, 22 Zhukovskogo Street. Alas, I was unable to determine exactly which apartment the Florinskiis occupied, but apparently its windows overlooked the inner courtyard. Photo by the author, 2016.
URL http://books.openedition.org/obp/docannexe/image/7387/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 218k

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