Fyodor Sologub (Russian: Фёдор Сологуб, real name Fyodor Kuz'mich Teternikov) (March 1, 1863 [O.S. February 17] - December 5, 1927) was a Russian Symbolist poet, novelist, playwright and essayist.
Sologub was the first writer to introduce the morbid, pessimistic elements characteristic of fin de siècle literature and philosophy into Russian prose. His most famous novel, The Petty Demon (1907), was an attempt to create a living portrait of the concept known in Russian as poshlost'(a idea whose meaning lies somewhere between evil and banality). Published partially in serial form in 1902, and in a standalone edition in 1907, the novel quickly became a bestseller, going through ten printings during the author's lifetime. The novel tells the story of a provincial schoolteacher, Peredonov, notable for his complete lack of redeeming human qualities. While the book was received as an acidic indictment of Russian society, it is a richly metaphysical novel and one of the major prose works of the Russian Symbolist movement. Sologub's next major prose work, A Created Legend (a trilogy consisting of Drops of Blood, Queen Ortruda, and Smoke and Ash), contained many of the same characteristics but presented a considerably more positive and hopeful view of the world.
While Sologub's novels (especially The Petty Demon and, to a lesser extent, A Created Legend and Troubled Dreams) have become his most prominent works, the St. Petersburg writer has always been most respected by scholars and fellow artists for his poetry. The Symbolist poet Valery Bryusov admired the deceptive simplicity of Sologub's poetry and described it as possessing a Pushkinian perfection of form. Innokenty Annensky, another poet and contemporary of Sologub, wrote that the most original aspect of Sologub's poetry was its author's absolute unwillingness to separate himself from his literature. While many other writers of the period took pride in inventing new literary and aesthetic personas for themselves, Sologub (as he wrote many times) viewed poetry as a glimpse behind the mask - an opportunity to seek the truth within.