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Senkovsky, Osip

Entry updated 12 August 2018. Tagged: Author.

Form of his name used by Polish-born musical scholar, inventor, linguist, editor and author Józef-Julian Sękowski (1800-1858), in Russia from 1821, where he wrote copiously as Senkovsky, though his Satires were as by Baron Brambeus. He wrote in Russian, and is treated as a significant Russian literary figure. Fantasticheskie puteshestviya Barona Brambeusa (coll of linked stories 1833; trans Louis Pedrotti as The Fantastic Journeys of Baron Brambeus 1993) as by Baron Brambeus includes two long Fantastic-Voyage tales of sf interest. In "The Scientific Journey to Bear Island", the Baron travels into the far north of Siberia, where he discovers Egyptian hieroglyphs which, when translated, tell the story of a Lost Race inundated by a great flood caused by a Comet, a discovery which does not keep the survivors from engaging in a useless War. It is moderately clear that in describing such a planetary Disaster, Senkovsky was influenced by the then popular (and recently reaffirmed) catastrophe theory of Georges Cuvier (1769-1832), which offers an explanation for the extinction of species (see Ruins and Futurity). In "The Sentimental Journey to Mount Etna", the Baron falls into the eponymous volcano and downwards into a Hollow Earth, where everything is upside down, which does not subdue his fascination with advances in Technology he finds there, plus other marvels. Senkovsky was directly influential on authors like Vladimir Odoevsky, and in general upon the course of Russian sf through the nineteenth century. [JC]

Józef-Julian Sękowski

born Antagonka, near Wilno, Poland [now Antagaluoné, near Vilnius, Lithuania]: 31 March 1800

died St Petersburg, Russia: 16 March 1858

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