What No One Told You About Russia's Women Authors
Have you ever wondered where Russia's women writers were in the nineteenth century? Well, as it turns out, they were right there this whole time and they published quite a lot. Not only did women authors publish a lot quantitatively, but they published in some of the most prestigious literary journals of their time. They were even among some of the first writers to earn a full-time income off of their writing.
So why haven't more people heard of them?
Let's take the example of Nadezhda Khvoshchinskaya (writing frequently under the pseudonym V. Krestovskii). Khvoshchinskaya was the third highest paid author in Russia during the 1870s. At that time, journals paid only Tolstoy and Turgenev more than her. Yes, you read that correctly: Khvoshchinskaya was earning more per sheet of writing than authors like Dostoevsky. At this time, journal editors did not just link pay rates to their personal sense of quality, but also to the perceived demand for the writers' works. This tells us that not only was Khvoshchinskaya's prose of a high quality, but it also sold extremely well throughout her lifetime.