Olga Sergeevna Lebedeva (1854–after 1912)

Olga Sergeevna Lebedeva (née Barshcheva; Russian: Ольга Сергеевна Лебедева 1854–after 1912) was one of the first to introduce Russian literature to Turkey. She is recognised for her pioneering contributions to the literary networks between the Ottoman and she Russian empires at the end of the 19th century. Lebedeva attended Kazan University, studying Persian, Arabic and Turkish from Kaium Nasyri, a Tatar educator, as well as attending its archaeological, ethnographic and historical societies. Writing as Madame Gülnar, Gülnar Hanım, Gülnar Lebedeva and Olga de Lebedeff, she was the first Russian female orientalist. Lebedeva was the founder in St Petersburg of the Society of Oriental Studies, a researcher of the place and role of women in Muslim society, a translator and mother to six children. Lebedeva is thought to have attended successive Congresses of Orientalists in London, Geneva, Paris, Rome, Hamburg, Algiers and Athens between 1892–1912.


Keikavus (1886). Кабус Намэ [Mirror of Princes]. Translated by Lebedeva, Olga. Imperial University of Kazan.

Kar Fırtınası. Puşkin’den Tercüme [The Blizzard. Translation from Pushkin]. Translated by Dölebedeff, Gülnar Olga. Istanbul: Tercüman–ı Hakikat Matbaası. 1891.

Lermontof’un Iblisi [Lermontov’s Demon]. Translated by Dölebedeff, Gülnar Olga. Istanbul: Tercüman–ı Hakikat Matbaası. 1891.

Bayazidof, Ataullah (1891). Islâmiyetin Maarife Taalluku ve Nazar-I Muarizinde Tebyini [The Relation of Islam to Science and the Heterodoxes]. Translated by Dölebedeff, Gülnar Olga; Cevdet, Ahmet. Istanbul: Tercüman–ı Hakikat Matbaası.

Tolstoy, Leo (1893). Ilyas, yâhut, Hakikat-i gına [Ilyas or Truth Wealth]. Translated by Dölebedeff, Gülnar Olga. Istanbul: Tercüman–ı Hakikat Matbaası.

Aliye, Fatma (1896). Translated by de Lebedeff, Olga. “Nisvan-ı İslâm” [‘Les Femmes musulmanes’ par Fathma Alié]. Bibliothèque du journal ‘Orient’ et ‘La Turquie’ (in French). Paris: N. Nicolaides.

The Blizzard by A. S. Pushkin (1891), Demon by M. Y. Lermontov (1891), The Relation of Islam to Science and the Heterodoxes by A. Bayazitov (1891), Islam and Science, Objections to Renan by A. Bayazitov (1891), Who is Genuinely Kind and Happy Person? by V. A. Zhukovsky (1892), Queen of Spades by A. S. Pushkin (1892), Angel by M. Y. Lermontov (1892), The Sail by M. Y. Lermontov (1892), The Death of Ivan Ilych by L. N. Tolstoy (1892), Family Happiness by L. N. Tolstoy (1893),


The Poet Pushkin (1891), The City of Kazan (1893), Russian Literature (1895), On the Emancipation of Muslim Women (1900)


Olcay, Türkan, Olga Lebedeva (Madame Gülnar): A Russian Orientalist and Translator. Enchantsthe Ottomans – Slovo 29(2), 2017, 40-71.

Karadağ, Ayşe, B., ‘The Traces of ‘Feminity’ of Woman Translators from the Tanzimat to the Second Constitution in Our Translated Literary History’, Humanitas International Journal of Social Sciences, 2, (2013), 105–126.

Karimullin, Abrar G. ‘O. S. Lebedeva – Gülnar khanum’, Narody Azii i Afriki (Peoples of Asia and Africa), 3 (1977), 146–152.

Kononov, A. N., ‘Olga S. Lebedeva’, Biobibliographicheskij slovar otechestvennih turkologov (Biobibliographical Dictionary of Native Turkologists), ed. by Andrei N. Kononov (Мoscow: GRVL, 1974), pp. 204–205.

Argunşah, Hülya, Kadın ve Edebiyat. Babasının Kızı Olmak (The Woman and Literature. Being The Daughter of Your Father), (Istanbul: Kesit Yayınları, 2016).

Findley, Carter Vaughn, An Ottoman Occidentalist in Europe: Ahmed Midhat Meets Madame Gulnar, 1889. // American Historical Review, 103, 1, 1998, pp. 15-49. 

Strauss, Johann Ol´ga Lebedeva (Gülnar Hanım) and her Translations into Ottoman Turkish // Arts, Women and Scholars. Studies in Ottoman Society and Culture — Festschrift Hans Georg Majer. / Ed. by S. Prätor and Christoph K. Neumann. — Istanbul, 2002, vol. 1, pp. 287—314. 

O. S. Lebedeva, On Emancipation of Muslim Women, St Petersburg, 1900.

Russian Literature by Gülnar Lebedeva, Istanbul, 1311 [1895]. (Beyazit StateLibrary, Hakkı Tarık Us Collection)