Kashcheev V.I.

PROBLEMS OF CLASSICAL EDUCATION IN RUSSIA IN THE WORKS BY A.P. CHEKHOV “A CLASSICAL STUDENT” AND “THE TUTOR”

Abstract:

The article deals with one of the most important aspects of classicism in the Russian culture of the second half of the 19th century, namely classical education. The author focuses on two short stories by A.P. Chekhov, i.e. “A Classical Student” (1883) and “The Tutor” (1884) which are analysed in the context of classical education system in Russia of that time. These works can be regarded as comments in the extensive public debate about the reform of public education launched by count Dmitri Tolstoy in the early 1870s. Such classic philologists as A.I. Georgievsky and Professor P.M. Leontev as well as M.N. Katkov, an influential Moscow journalist, were enthusiastic supporters of the reform. On the contrary, the famous scientists D.I. Mendeeleev, V.I. Vernadsky and well-known Russian professors of philology V.I. Modestov and V.I. Tchvetaev opposed any innovations in educa-tion. In the short stories “A Classical Student” and “The Tutor” by A.P. Chekhov one can see an ironic take on the negative aspects of teaching Greek and Latin in gymnasium within the system of classical education created by D.A. Tolstoy, the Minister of National Education. In both works there are a lot of details related to the personal, though not always positive, experience of their author as a student of Emperor Alexander Gymnasium in Taganrog. Nevertheless, classicism in the field of education created a cultural ground for abundant results in literature, art, and humanities in the late 19th – early 20th centuries. An impressive boom in the studies of antiquity in Russia at that time would have been impossible without classical gymnasium with its ancient languages.

About the autors:

Vladimir Ivanovich Kashcheev, Doctor of History, Professor at the Department of Ancient History

Place of employment:

Saratov State University

Contacts:

e-mail: kasceev@mail.ru

Key words:

Anton Pavlovich Chekhov; reception of antiquity; classical education system; gymnasium; reform of state education; Dmitry Andreevich Tolstoy; the Ancient Greek language; the Latin language