Non-West European nationalists don’t tend to like Charles Murray’s Human Accomplishment (HA) database.
Let’s answer that very last question.
It would certainly be very useful to see Murray’s assessments of the most eminent Russians correlates with Russian assessments. If the correlations are low, then perhaps the critics are correct about his alleged Western Eurocentrism. If, however, the correlations are high, though, then he should probably be taken seriously. Especially if these correlations are attained in more “subjective” fields such as literature, which are separated by a language barrier (e.g. Pushkin is far harder to translate well into English than Dostoevsky) and 70 years of fraught international relations.
Fortunately, I came across a list of the most influential Russian writers as tallied by the Russian Book Chamber (RBC), the national bibliographic agency.
This allows us to compare Murray’s list to one compiled by a major institutional authority.
A few years ago, the RBC tallied the relative shares of publications accruing to literary authors from 1917-2012. Here is the correlation with the HA:
And yet despite all these problems, there is a remarkable r=0.79 agreement between the two lists. Including on Bulgakov’s absence from both!
Yes, there are many things that I myself find strange about both lists. The absence of Kuprin and Esenin from HA is somewhat unexpected. The absence of figures such as Nabokov, Sholokhov, Babel, Ehrenberg, and Zamyatin from the RBC list is even weirder, as is, for that matter, Nabokov’s very low rating on HA. (The absence of Derzhavin and Lomonosov from the RBC list would be strange, but RBC does state that it only only covers 19th-early 20th century writers). And the absence of Bulgakov from both lists is genuinely absurd.
Even so, the numbers are what they are, and so far as I’m concerned, it confirms the legitimacy of Murray’s assessments with respect to Russian accomplishment.
HA & RBC Lists Compared
|A. Bely (Bugayev)||1.00%||7.70|
Appear Only in HA
Appear Only in RBC