Classification – name: Literary studies
Pages: 143-160
Publisher: A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IWL RAS Publ.)
Rights – description: Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 (СС BY-ND)
Rights – URL:
Language of the publication: Russian
Type of document: Research Article
Collection: Abkhazia in Russian Literature of the 19th  — 20th Centuries: in 3 vols. Vol. 1
Year of publication: 2021
Place of publication: Moscow


Author: Regina L. Avidzba
Avidzba, R. L.“‘Memories of a Caucasian Officer’, the Main Work of Fjodor Tornau.” Abkhazia in Russian Literature of the 19th —20th Centuries: in 3 vols. Vol. 1. Resp. ed. M. I. Shcherbakova. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2021, pp. 143–160. (In Russian).

About the author:

Regina L. Avidzba, PhD in Philology, Senior Researcher, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 а, 121069 Moscow, Russia.


E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


This study was carried out at IWL RAS with a grant from the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (project No 20-012-00098А).


The article provides an overview of Fjodor Tornau in the context of studying the Caucasus in the 19th century. Special attention is paid to the main book of the writer — “Memories of a Caucasian Officer”, created on the basis of the author’s own experience as a scout. The history of the publication of “Memories ...” testifies to the genuine interest of readers in the exciting story of Fjodor Tornau’s stay among the mountaineers in captivity and several escapes from capture. However, the storyline is far from the main advantage of the book, which has become a tabletop for several generations of Caucasian scholars. Fjodor Tornau managed to collect extremely rare material. Russian ethnography, historiography, physical geography and related branches of knowledge were significantly enriched by unique materials compiled on the basis of personal observations by Fjodor Tornau, with numerous details of military operations in the Caucasus; individual observations of the scout writer have no analogues in the science of the Caucasus. Fjodor Tornau’s undoubted literary talent and natural artistic talent manifested itself in his stylistic manner, which attracts the most sophisticated connoisseurs of the word.

Keywords: Russian literature, Caucasus, Abkhazia, Fjodor Tornau, Caucasian studies, ethnography.