Arseniev, Vladimir K(lavdievich) 1872-1930

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ARSENIEV, Vladimir K(lavdievich) 1872-1930


Born September 10, 1872, in Russia; died 1930.


Geographer, geologist, ethnographer, explorer, and writer.


With Dersu the Hunter: Adventures in the Taiga, adapted by Anne Terry White, Venture (New York, NY), 1941, published as Dersu the Trapper: A True Account, translated by Malcolm Burr, preface by Jaimy Gordon, McPherson & Co. (Kingston, NY), 1996.


Dersu the Trapper: A True Account was adapted as the film Dersu Uzala, directed by Akira Kurosawa, 1975.


Vladimir Klavdievich Arseniev was a Russian geographer, geologist, ethnographer, and explorer. He went on twelve major scientific expeditions between 1902 and 1930 in eastern Siberia. He authored sixty books from the geographical, geological, botanical, and ethnographic data he collected on his expeditions. He was well known for exploring the Krai and studying its indigenous people.

Arseniev's book Dersu the Trapper: A True Account is regarded as the Russian equivalent of The Journals of Lewis and Clark and the novels of early eighteenth-century American writer James Fenimore Cooper. In the book Arseniev recounts three of his expeditions in the great spruce forests of the eastern Siberian taiga along the Sea of Japan. During the first expedition, he meets an aboriginal hunter and member of the Gold tribe named Dersu, who becomes his guide. Arseniev discusses the hardships and dangers his team encountered during the expeditions, the land they were exploring, and the cross-cultural friendship that the two men formed. A reviewer for the Washington Post Book World wrote that the book "crackles with excitement," and in the New York Times Book Review, Robert Yale Libott deemed Dersu the Trapper "a book that, once read, will never be forgotten."

Arseniev's expeditions attracted additional notice in 1975, with the release of the acclaimed Akira Kurosawa film Dersu Uzla, based on the Russian geographer's book. The film won several international awards as well as an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film.



New Yorker, December 4, 1965, review of With Dersu the Hunter: Adventures in the Taiga, pp. 222-224.

New York Times Book Review, December 12, 1965, Robert Yale Libott, review of With Dersu the Hunter, p. 26.

Publishers Weekly, February 26, 1996, review of Dersu the Trapper: A True Account, p. 99.

Washington Post Book World, August 25, 1996, review of Dersu the Trapper, p. 12.


McPherson & Company Web site, (August 2, 2001), review of Dersu the Trapper.

Vladivostok News online, (August 2, 2001), Anatoly Medetsky, "Arseniev Fete Planned."

Washington State University Library Web site, (August 2, 2001), "4, Peter the Great Street."*