Questions tagged [russian-language]

Questions about works of literature that were originally written in the Russian language, regardless of whether they were written or published in Russia or elsewhere.

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3 votes
1 answer
73 views

Source of three Icelandic kennings quoted (in Russian) in poem of Martynov?

The Russian poem Songs of the skalds (Песни скальдов), by Leonid Martynov, 1967, plays on the kennings used in Icelandic skaldic poetry, and quotes three rather complex kennings — translated into ...
5 votes
2 answers
145 views

"Hamlet" reference in "Crime and Punishment": translator's invention?

I am reading Pevear & Volokhonsky's translation of Crime and Punishment. In part II, chapter 6, Raskolnikov is at the "Crystal Palace" restaurant, where he runs into the clerk Zamyotov ...
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1 vote
0 answers
37 views

What is the significance of the money given to Liza in Notes from Underground?

At the end of Fyodor Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground, the following occurs (from Wikipedia): After all this, he still acts terribly toward her, and, before she leaves, he stuffs a five ruble note ...
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6 votes
3 answers
83 views

Does the original Russian prose in The Foundation Pit by Andrey Platonov sound unusual/unconventional to Russian speakers?

I am reading Robert Chandler, Elizabeth Chandler and Olga Meerson's translation, specifically the 2009 revised version, of Platonov's 'The Foundation Pit', and it has struck me that the prose sounds ...
3 votes
1 answer
157 views

Marxist reading of Gogol's "The Overcoat"?

The Wikipedia page about Gogol's short story "The Overcoat" is full of [citation needed] notices. The following sentence in particular caught my eye: A Marxist reading of the text would ...
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3 votes
0 answers
53 views

Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin, the “lost” chapter 10 in German

Is there a German translation of chapter 10 of Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin? The English one is available in ISBN 9780691019048." Pushkin destroyed chapter X of Eugene Onegin, leaving only the ...
5 votes
1 answer
131 views

Why does Wikipedia claim that "Death and the Penguin" was set in 1996 - 1997?

The Wikipedia article on Death and the Penguin claims that the story is set in 1996 - 1997. However, when Viktor was in the Chief's office, On the upper shelf lay a folder with several typed sheets ...
0 votes
1 answer
89 views

Is the "wall of solitude" a reference to Pink Floyd's "The Wall"?

Death and the Penguin contains the following quote: He thought suddenly of Nina and her saying that they had been seeing Sergey off at the station. So he had, after all, gone to Moscow, without so ...
0 votes
0 answers
21 views

Why did the Chief stop in Cyprus on his way to Rome?

Follow-up to: Did it really cost $800 to fly from Kyiv to Rome in 1999? In Death and the Penguin, the Chief flew from Kyiv to Rome with a stop in Larnaca, Cyprus. I'm slightly confused as to why he ...
1 vote
1 answer
103 views

Did it really cost $800 to fly from Kyiv to Rome in 1996?

At one point, the Chief needed to flee the country. He sent Viktor to retrieve his plane ticket, which cost "$750 at exchange rate or $800 in cash". His exact itinerary was Kyiv-Larnaca-Rome....
4 votes
1 answer
128 views

Were mines common in Ukraine?

In Death and the Penguin, Viktor and Sergey hear an explosion and go to investigate: "What's up, Vanya?" Sergey enquired. "The old story," said the caretaker... "Local man. ...
5 votes
2 answers
491 views

Why did Misha give Viktor and Sonya New Year's gifts?

In Death and the Penguin, Misha non-Penguin left New Year's Presents (from "Grandfather Frost") under their tree. I'm slightly confused by this; was Christmas not celebrated at this point? ...
1 vote
1 answer
40 views

What is a District Militiaman?

When Viktor had to leave town for a few days, he had no one to watch his penguin, so he called the "district militiaman" and asked him to check on him while he was gone. What, exactly, was a ...
1 vote
0 answers
30 views

Was "Fyodor in Crime" a reference to Dostoevsky?

In Death and the Penguin, the newspaper editor told Viktor to contact Fyodor from Crime for some information to help him with his writing. Is this a subtle reference to Crime and Punishment by Fyodor ...
1 vote
0 answers
25 views

Why would a government official boast to a reporter about illegal trips to Chernobyl?

Related: What is a State Duma Deputy? In Death and the Penguin, Viktor interviewed a politician who, among other things, boasted about his trips to Chernobyl (even knowing that he was a reporter). ...
0 votes
2 answers
72 views

What is a State Duma Deputy?

In Death and the Penguin, Viktor interviews the State Duma Deputy Aleksandr Yakornitsky. (He is also referred to simply as a "State Deputy"). I'm aware that the State Duma is the lower ...
1 vote
0 answers
52 views

Which literary movement do Pushkin's Little Tragedies belong to?

Some say Pushkin quit Romanticism in year 1825. To which literary movement do his Little Tragedies (1830) belong to, then?
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0 votes
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41 views

What is the main idea and the main problem of Dostoyevsky's Demons?

What is the main idea and the main problem of Dostoyevsky's novel Demons? I have tried to identify one main idea and the main problem of the novel, but in the end nothing came out.
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4 votes
0 answers
93 views

How did Denisov reappear in Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace?

In 1807 Major Denisov got court-martialed for stealing food, threatening and insulting chief quartermaster, and thrashing two officials even dislocating the arm of one of them. All of this happens ...
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1 vote
0 answers
32 views

Viktor Erofeyev "The Akimuds": Animal motif

In the SF/Fantasy/political satire "The Akimuds" by Viktor Erofeyev, selfsame Akimuds (sort of a stand-in for God, Jesus and the angels) claim they are ducks. Now, "doves" would ...
4 votes
1 answer
113 views

Allusion in Nabokov's Pnin

In chapter 3, section 6 of Nabokov's Pnin, the main character is carrying a reference work "mainly devoted to Tolstoyana" across the Waindell campus when he drops it by accident: Pnin, on ...
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2 votes
2 answers
94 views

What was the first picaresque novel in Russian literature?

Lazarillo de Tormes, published simultaneously in Alcalá de Henares, Burgos and Antwerp in 1554, is generally considered the first picaresque novel. The Wikipedia article about the picaresque novel ...
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3 votes
1 answer
299 views

Is there a meaning to Koroviev 's nickname?

In Master and Margarita, Koroviev (or Korovyev) is part of Woland's entourage. In various scenes, he is called by his nickname - Fagot: The magician sat down. ' Tell me, my dear Fagot,' Woland ...
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3 votes
2 answers
109 views

What does it mean to look like "a hair-dresser's assistant"?

In the 1st Chapter, Part I of Dostoevsky's The Idiot (Eva Martin's translation) you can find the following passage, in which Rogojin is describing the first time he saw Nastasia Philipovna: I was ...
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11 votes
2 answers
3k views

Use of "pounds" instead of "roubles" in passage of "The Idiot"

In the 1st Chapter, Part I of Dostoevsky's The Idiot (Eva Martin's translation) you can find the following passage: These men generally have about a hundred pounds a year to live on (...) In this ...
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1 vote
2 answers
529 views

Why is Russian literature considered part of Western culture when so much of Russia is in the East?

Russia is a country that straddles both the East and West, and is culturally very diverse. Why and how did so much of Russian literature become part of the Western Canon? To put it another way, why ...
6 votes
1 answer
371 views

Is there a difference between Russian and English speaking cultures in the sense of rhythm when reciting poetry?

It may a vague question, but I haven't found any data on this myself. I am Russian and I've heard a lot of reading of Russian poetry, since my childhood (poetry reading by heart is a staple assignment ...
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2 votes
0 answers
76 views

Why did Victor Pelevin's books fail to get such popularity as they had in Russia? [closed]

Victor Pelevin is presumably the most best-selling contemporary writer in Russia. Several of his books have been translated to English, but none of them became even slightly popular among the Western ...
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4 votes
0 answers
149 views

What kind of censorship was Dostoevsky avoiding by obscuring place names?

In the opening paragraph of "Crime and Punishment", two locations, S-- Lane and K--n Bridge, are identified only by their first and final letters. My translation has a footnote which says ...
1 vote
1 answer
148 views

Why do readers dislike Vronsky in the early part of the novel?

Anna Karenina, the first novel of Count Leo Tolstoy is about the life of Anna (mainly) and her lover Vronsky (I know it is not possible to say what the novel is about but for this particular ...
1 vote
1 answer
174 views

Why did Pierre want to assassinate Napoleon?

Pierre’s friend Andrei was shown to have great respect for Napoleon, as his view on historic events being the will of a few important people is embodied best by Napoleon. While lying wounded on the ...
2 votes
1 answer
320 views

Why is War and Peace not considered an epic?

The plot of War and Peace involves more than 500 characters. More than 200 of them are real historical figures put to life on the pages of Tolstoy’s novel. The novel is set 60 years before Tolstoy's ...
3 votes
0 answers
99 views

What is the English title of Tolstoy's memoirs "Without love, It's easier to live"?

I am trying to find the English name of the memoirs by Leo Tostoy titled Without love, It's easier to live (original Russian title Без любви жить легче). I could not find any mention of it neither in ...
5 votes
2 answers
1k views

Mystifying reference in "Anna Karenina"

I encountered this mystifying aside (bolded) in the text of Anna Karenina. I assumed it might be a biblical reference, but upon checking, it doesn't seem that the biblical Rebecca was a slave. A quick ...
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2 votes
1 answer
533 views

English translation of "I will not see the famous Phaedra"?

Is there is any professional English translation of "I will not see the famous Phaedra" (Я не увижу знаменитой «Федры») by Osip Mandelstam. Can anyone provide a link where it can be found.
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12 votes
1 answer
473 views

Original Russian text of this review of Crime and Punishment

In the introduction to Constance Garnett's translation of Crime and Punishment, she quotes this Russian critic: In the words of a Russian critic, who seeks to explain the feeling inspired by ...
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5 votes
1 answer
1k views

The Brothers Karamazov - Why does Dmitri use "Bernard" as an insult?

"Bernard" is first mentioned in Book XI. Ivan, Chapter IV, in an exchange between Dmitri and Alyosha: “Ethics?” asked Alyosha, wondering. “Yes; is it a science?” “Yes, there is such a ...
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5 votes
1 answer
173 views

The Brothers Karamazov - ladies of the eighteen stone?

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Book XI, Chapter IX The expression "eighteen stone" is mentioned 3 times in the whole book, all in same chapter: What I dream of is becoming ...
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4 votes
2 answers
953 views

The Brothers Karamazov - What is "The Bell"?

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Book X, Chapter IV Long will you remember The house at the Chain bridge. Do you remember? It's splendid. Why are you laughing? You don't suppose I am ...
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6 votes
1 answer
196 views

The Brothers Karamazov - When was Russia saved before?

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Book VI, Chapter 3 And how suprised men would be if I were to say that from these meek monks, who yearn for solitary prayer, the salvation of Russia will ...
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5 votes
1 answer
707 views

The Brothers Karamazov - What is the "Chain bridge"?

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Book X, Chapter IV I say this only to you. I am not at all anxious to fall into the clutches of the secret police and take lessons at the Chain bridge. ...
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4 votes
2 answers
285 views

In the Brothers Karamazov, did Dostoyevsky take those characters out of real life?

In the novel The Brothers Karamazov, did the writer take those characters out of real life? Or did he just build the characters with time?
2 votes
1 answer
42 views

Why is the Lady "a suffering soul in some page of Dostoyevsky"?

In An Enigmatic Nature, Anton Chekhov writes: "I am a suffering soul in some page of Dostoevsky. Reveal my soul to the world, Voldemar." and "Happiness comes tapping at my window, I ...
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1 vote
1 answer
29 views

Why does Groholsky head toward the water barrel?

In A Living Chattel, Anton Chekhov writes: [Impersonal Witness] I pressed Groholsky's hand, and got into the train. He bowed towards the carriage, and went to the water-barrel—I suppose he was ...
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4 votes
2 answers
176 views

Did the Tsar's secret police search the apartment of one of Dostoevsky's neighbours?

The Wikipedia article about Fyodor Dostoyevski contains a section about the author's death that begins with the following statement: On 25 January 1881, while searching for members of the terrorist ...
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13 votes
1 answer
567 views

What does Dostoyevsky mean by 'propaganda' in Crime and Punishment?

I am wondering about what Dostoyevsky means by the word 'propaganda' in part six, chapter four of Crime and Punishment. None of the meanings that I understand make sense in the context of the book. ...
7 votes
1 answer
301 views

Use of the word 'aesthetic(s)' in this passage from Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment

I am reading Crime and Punishment, and as you might expect am really enjoying it. Fascinating book. But there is one passage that is a little confusing to me, in particular the use of the word '...
7 votes
1 answer
144 views

How do Pierre and Natasha "lie to each other" in 'War and Peace'?

Simone de Beauvoir writes in The Second Sex (emphasis mine) Lawrence adds that to merit this devotion, man must be authentically invested with a higher purpose; if his project is but a sham, the ...
3 votes
0 answers
222 views

Dostoevsky's attitude towards Sonya Marmeladova

Note: The question concerns a somewhat touchy topic - prostitution. I am not a native English speaker, therefore, I cannot be sure which terms are suitable for a discussion. I am using words of the ...
3 votes
2 answers
487 views

Relationship between title and protagonist's fate in Tolstoy's God Sees the Truth, but Waits

I went through Tolstoy's story God Sees the Truth, But Waits but I wonder what the title suggests and how it suits the story in regard to the protagonist Aksionov. A good innocent man is wrongly ...