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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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Regarding the poetic techniques in "Upside- Down" by Alexander Kushner

A poem I read very recently is a humorous one by Alexander Kushner titled "Upside Down", which is all about a social mismatch nicknamed "upside down". The poem revolves around a ...
Selfie- grofie's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
96 views

What is a work of Russian literature, in which a gentleman gets lost in a rain with a coachman, who for a long time did not admit that he was lost?

This work dates back to the 19th century. Perhaps it was not rain, but a snowstorm. Excluded works with similar plots: “Dead Souls” by N.V. Gogol, “Blizzard” by A.S. Pushkin, “Blizzard” by L.N. ...
Eleven_ Q _Eight's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
154 views

Sparrows in "The Bear" by Anton Chekhov

The following dialogue spoken by the character Smirnov in the farce "The Bear" by Anton Chekhov reads as follows: [taps his forehead] Excuse my outspokenness, a sparrow can give ten points ...
Selfie- grofie's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
143 views

Who is the ghost in Gogol's "The Overcoat"?

While reading Gogol's "The Overcoat," I am having a rough time trying to understand who this ghost actually is. I've read several opinions on this matter, but I always find something that ...
CoolJedi132's user avatar
7 votes
0 answers
94 views

What does this allusion to the French mean in Gogol's "The Overcoat"?

In Gogol's short story The Overcoat (or The Cloak) there is an allusion to the French people that I cannot understand. In the translation into English found in the book Short story classics (Foreign) -...
Charo's user avatar
  • 2,751
3 votes
1 answer
149 views

What is the symbolism of the last red flower in 'A Red Flower'?

What is the symbolism of the last red flower in this short story (titled A Red Flower) about madness? I suspect it means, in a fragmentary way, to show that love kills us, and the one we die with will ...
user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
139 views

War and Peace: Vassily Kuragin's plot to remove Pierre from the will

My question concerns Vassily Kuragin's plot to remove Pierre from the Old Count Bezukhov's will. I'm using the Rosemary Edmonds translation. The primary chapters are 18, 20, and 21 in part 1 of book 1....
user3600107's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
618 views

Meaning of the "quips" from Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita

In Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita, Koroviev - one of Woland's entourage - does a deal with a housing chairman to rent an apartment for his master. As he counts out the money, he makes two ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
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7 votes
3 answers
489 views

What's the purpose of the last paragraph of Gogol's "The Overcoat"?

At the end of "The Overcoat" by Nikolai Gogol, the ghost of Akaky Akakyevitch disappears once the Very Important Official has reformed his ways. However, after that satisfying conclusion to ...
Mithical's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
173 views

What does Dostoyevsky's character's statement about Permissiveness mean for Morality in Western Civilization?

One of Western civilizations most important and well-respected piece of literature is The Brothers Karamazov by Feodor Dostoyevsky. Among other important religious issues, Dostoyevsky has one of his ...
user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
570 views

In Turgenev's "First Love", what did the father mean by “Vous devez vous séparer de cette.”

In Turgenev's "First Love", the father of the narrator Vladimir had been having an affair with a young woman Zinaída. After Vladimir's mother discovers the affair, the family moves to town, ...
Michael Weiss's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
155 views

Why does Pierre think a priest giving a deserter the cross to kiss is hypocrisy?

In book 2 part 5 chapter 1, Pierre laments the failure of the masons mission. He says "We all profess the Christian law of forgiveness ... but yesterday a deserter was knouted to death and a ...
user3600107's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
123 views

Quote from Chekhov about a person who does not answer a letter

On the Internet, one often comes across, in different versions, Chekhov's statement that a person who does not answer a letter is like a person who rejects a hand extended to him for a handshake. ...
ollazarev's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
243 views

What was the original meaning of "rolling their eyes"?

While reading War and Peace translators use variants of the phrase "rolling their eyes" in odd places. For example, one character is described as "rolling their eyes in terror". ...
user3600107's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
189 views

How are the Chekov passages handled in the translation of 1Q84?

I'm curious about the Chekov passages which Tengo reads aloud to Fuka-Eri. Presumably they are in Japanese in the original. Were they copied from an existing Japanese translation of Chekov? In the ...
tgdavies's user avatar
  • 336
2 votes
1 answer
2k views

Locating a quote in Dostoevsky's The Idiot

I am trying to locate this quote that I came across. I believe it was spoken by Aglaya (or Nastasya?) in The Idiot, but I'm having trouble locating it: “I want to talk about everything with at least ...
David542's user avatar
  • 477
5 votes
1 answer
177 views

War and Peace: Russian troop movements in part 2, chapters 7 and 8

I was reading War and Peace and became a bit confused about troop movements during the Kutuzov's fallback to Vienna. I wanted to check my understanding and hopefully resolve some contradictions I see. ...
user3600107's user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
3k views

How did Leo Tolstoy approve Maude's English translation of War and Peace? Did he speak good English already?

It is widely known that Maude's English translation of War and Peace was approved by Tolstoy himself. How did Tolstoy approve it, and did he know and speak English?
Ethan's user avatar
  • 909
7 votes
1 answer
339 views

Why did Russian corpses rot in "War and Peace", but not French?

I am not sure if I understand this clearly but why? "Must be the grub" and what's the grub? Part IV, chapter 8, from the 2009 Penguin translation by Anthony Briggs: I’ll tell you one thing, ...
Ethan's user avatar
  • 909
4 votes
1 answer
99 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 ...
Peter LeFanu Lumsdaine's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
243 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 ...
Kevin Troy's user avatar
  • 2,120
1 vote
1 answer
268 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 ...
Sparsity's user avatar
  • 113
6 votes
3 answers
162 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 ...
Jacob Lee-Hart's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
456 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 ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
78 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 ...
Pavel Schriber's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
203 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 ...
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
111 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 ...
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
115 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....
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
146 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. ...
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
509 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? ...
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
60 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 ...
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
35 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 ...
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
29 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). ...
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
89 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 ...
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
100 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?
Marina's user avatar
  • 165
0 votes
0 answers
49 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.
Wazard's user avatar
  • 1
6 votes
1 answer
546 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 ...
DumbGuy's user avatar
  • 61
1 vote
0 answers
35 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 ...
Hauke Reddmann's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
208 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 ...
Kevin Troy's user avatar
  • 2,120
2 votes
2 answers
128 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 ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
1k 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 ...
Yasskier's user avatar
  • 2,110
3 votes
2 answers
118 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 ...
LLCampos's user avatar
  • 541
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 ...
LLCampos's user avatar
  • 541
1 vote
2 answers
859 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 ...
tale852150's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
652 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 ...
DrTyrsa's user avatar
  • 1,295
2 votes
0 answers
88 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 ...
kandi's user avatar
  • 121
9 votes
1 answer
416 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 that Dostoevsky ...
Daniel Walker's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
229 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 ...
Knight wants Loong back's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
686 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 ...
Knight wants Loong back's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
700 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 ...
Knight wants Loong back's user avatar