Nikolai Krementsov

Published On


Page Range

pp. 25-72

Print Length

47 pages

1. The Author: Vasilii Florinskii

‘The Author,’ presents a multitude of individuals, events, ideas, places, institutions, and ideals, which altogether and each separately molded the future author of Human Perfection and Degeneration. Born to the clergy and educated at primary and secondary theological schools in the provinces, Florinskii wanted to continue his ecclesiastical career and to complete his training at the highest theological school—St. Petersburg Theological Academy. An accident barred the doors of the theological academy to the ambitious youth. So, instead, he enrolled in the Imperial Medical Surgical Academy (IMSA), the country’s foremost medical school. After five years of extensive studies he became a physician, switching almost seamlessly from theology to gynecology and from tending to the souls of his parishioners to taking care of their bodies. Florinskii’s teachers noticed his abilities and slated the freshly minted physician to a professorial position at his alma mater. Over the next three years, he successfully passed all the required examinations and defended a dissertation for the Doctor of Medicine degree. With all the formal requirements completed on time and with the highest marks, the IMSA Council sent Florinskii on a two-year, all-expenses-paid tour of European medical schools and clinics for advanced training. Upon his return to St. Petersburg in the early fall of 1863, the young doctor became an adjunct-professor at the department of gynecology and obstetrics and began a successful career as a teacher, a researcher, and a clinician. Less than two years later, he started working on his tract about ‘human perfection and degeneration.’ Why did the young gynecologist embark on writing about a subject so remote from his immediate professional duties and scholarly interests? And why did he publish his treatise in Russian Word, the most radical ‘literary-political’ journal of the time?


Nikolai Krementsov