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The so-called “superfluous man”, along with the “hero of the time”, is one of the more common and recognizable types of characters in Russian literature of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. The characteristic features of this type include excessive sensitivity, vulnerability, excessive requirements for oneself and others, but – which seems to us the most important – the "superfluous man" is unable to build the right interpersonal relationships.

According to the authors of the article, in relation to literature, starting from the 19th century and up to the present day, it is permissible to speak not only about the “big” “superfluous man”, but also about the “small” one, that is, about the literary type of the “superfluous child”, not understood and not accepted either by parents or siblings, or neither of them. Such a hero is extremely lonely in the world, he has no point of support, he is completely deprived of the help of adults, and because of his childhood weakness, anyone can hurt or use him. It should be noted that the term "superfluous child" to refer to a child rejected by parents and / or peers has long been used in the social sciences, in particular in psychology, pedagogy and sociology.

The authors of this article made an innovative attempt to indicate the origins and evolution of the type of a “superfluous child” in two very close literature – Russian and Polish – showing both general points and some differences in the development of this type, due to political, social and cultural reasons. The work examines the works of such authors as Fyodor Dostoevsky, Vsevolod Krestovsky, Vsevolod Solovev, Bolesław Prus, Henryk Sienkiewicz, Anton Makarenko, Maxim Gorky, Janusz Korczak, Zofia Nałkowska, Edmund Niziurski, Pavel Sanaev and others.

Key words

Superfluous man, superfluous child, Russian literature, Polish literature, literary type, problems of socialization.