Leonid Andreyev Analysis

Other Literary Forms

Leonid Andreyev is best known as a writer of short fiction. In the first decade of the twentieth century, his stories and novellas gained a wide readership while arousing much controversy over their often perverse subject matter. In addition, Andreyev published two novels, generally considered to be inferior to his short fiction, and miscellaneous nonfiction.


Although his works have been largely forgotten, Andreyev, at his peak, was among Russia’s most popular writers. His success rivaled that of Maxim Gorky, and his contributions to Russian drama are of great historical interest. Andreyev played a pioneering role in freeing the Russian stage from the dominance of realism, preparing the way for such theatrical innovators as Vladimir Mayakovsky. At the same time, to an extent matched by few of his contemporaries, he expressed in his plays the hothouse atmosphere of the prerevolutionary intelligentsia—a compound of decadence, diabolism, and melodramatic spiritual yearnings. The very qualities that distinguished him as a spokesperson for his age have ensured his neglect by subsequent generations.


Carlisle, Olga. “My Grandfather, Leonid Andreyev: Heard Again, Loud and Clear.” New York Times Book Review, October 4, 1987, p. 15. Andreyev’s granddaughter writes of the reemergence of her grandfather’s works, which were suppressed after the October Revolution.

Carlisle, Olga. “Russian Portraits: Leonid Andreyev.” The Paris Review 37, no. 137 (Winter, 1995): 130. Andreyev’s granddaughter presents a profile of the famous writer, who was being rediscovered in the 1990’s.

Gorky, Maxim. Reminiscences of Tolstoy, Chekhov, and Andreev. Translated by Katherine Mansfield, S. S. Koteliansky, and Leonard Woolf. 1949. Reprint. New York: Howard Fertig, 2001. Gorky’s reminiscence of Andreyev in this work is longer than that of Tolstoy or Chekhov. Gorky was genuinely fond of Andreyev and admired his intellect as well as his talent.

Hutchings, Stephen. A Semiotic Analysis of the Short Stories of Leonid Andreev, 1900-1909. London: Modern Humanities Research Association, 1990. An extensive discussion of some of Andreyev’s stories from a semiotic point of view. Particularly authoritative and extensive.

Kaun, Alexander. Leonid Andreyev: A Critical Study. 1924. Reprint. Freeport, N.Y.: Books for Libraries Press, 1969. The secondary literature on Andreyev has never been copious. This is an early (and, for a long time, the only) study. The biography covers all aspects of Andreyev’s works and is adequately reliable, considering that not very much material was available at the time.

Mihajlov, Mihajlo. Russian Themes. Translated by Marija Mihajlov. New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1968. Devotes about twenty pages to Andreyev.

Newcombe, Josephine M. Leonid Andreyev. New York: Ungar, 1972. A basic biography of Andreyev that presents his life and works. Bibliography and index.

“Rare Originality, Rare Talent.” Moscow News, August 29-September 4, 2001, p. 6. This article, written in celebration of what would have been Andreyev’s 130th birthday, discusses his life and works.

Segel, Harold B. Twentieth-Century Russian Drama: From Gorky to the Present. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 1993. A survey of Russian drama since Chekhov, in other words, beginning with works of Maxim Gorky.

Senelick, Laurence, ed. and trans. Russian Dramatic Theory from Pushkin to the Symbolists: An Anthology. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1981. Includes indexes and bibliography.

Woodward, James B. Leonid Andreyev: A Study. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press, 1969. A general study, particularly authoritative and extensive. Includes bibliographical references.