Questions tagged [russian-literature]

For questions about works of literature which were originally written in the Russian language.

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1answer
56 views

What is the exact social status of Alexei Vronsky?

Alexei Vronsky is first mentioned by Stepan Oblonsky, in Part One chapter XI. This is how he is presented there by Stiva (Pevear translation): Vronsky is one of the sons of Count Kirill Ivanovich ...
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+50

Why are only some characters in Petrushevskaya's Hygiene given names?

HYGIENE, By Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, in There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby: Scary Fairy Tales, published this fall by Penguin. Translated from the Russian by Keith Gessen ...
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140 views

Is this mistake in Tolstoy's original, or just this translation?

I am reading the Vintage edition of War & Peace with the translation by Pevear & Volokhonsky. In Volume II, part I, chapter 11, the farewell dinner for Nikolai at the Rostov's is held on "the ...
3
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1answer
74 views

What does “lying is a delightful thing, for it leads to truth” mean in “Crime and Punishment”?

From part II, chapter IV of Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky, translated by Constance Garnett: Zossimov looked curiously at Raskolnikov. He did not stir. “But I say, Razumihin, I ...
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2answers
141 views

Brodsky's “two-liner” in his essay “Less than One”

In his 1976 essay Less than One, Joseph Brodsky writes: For the beginning I had better trust my birth certificate, which states that I was born on May 24, 1940, in Leningrad, Russia, much as I ...
4
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51 views

Significance in Raskolnikov's name in Crime and Punishment?

The protagonist/antihero of Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment is Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov. As it says on Wikipedia: The name Raskolnikov derives from the Russian raskolnik meaning "schismatic"...
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1answer
42 views

Alyona Ivanovna apartment layout

I am stuck trying to figure out something from Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. In the following passage: The young man stepped into the dark entry, which was partitioned off from the tiny ...
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Does Countess Natalia Rostova let Prince Andrei die so Nikolai could inherit all of Marya's wealth?

Natasha's mother, Countess Natalia Rostova, seems to dislike her daughter's affections for Prince Andrei when they meet again at his (eventual) deathbed. At this point in the story, she's also been ...
4
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1answer
163 views

Is there any special significance in Dr. Rutenspitz's last words to Mr. Golyadkin?

Throughout The Double by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, there had been hints that maybe Mr. Golyadkin Jr., the double, was a product of Mr. Golyadkin Sr.'s imagination — and that it was either a way to signify ...
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51 views

Russian children's book about a boy's first train journey

This is probably a Soviet-era children's book. It is about a boy's journey by train. As I remember it, not much happens plot-wise, but the boy's sense of wonder makes everything he encounters (The ...
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1answer
63 views

Does someone know the “Moment of Ljewin” in Anna Karenina?

I'm visiting my girl this week (long-distance relationship, different country) and at some point she told me about being a big fan of Anna Karenina. However, the copy she had read was old and falling ...
4
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266 views

How did Pilate order Judas' death in Master and Margarita?

After several reads I am still struggling to understand the events around Judas' death in the Pilate story. On the face of it, the following things occur: Pilate has dinner with Aphranius (head of ...
3
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1answer
276 views

About the role of Lizaveta in Crime and Punishment

I just finished Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, and I loved it (of course). I would like to bring into analysis the role of Lizaveta, the pawnbroker's half sister who is accidentally killed by ...
3
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1answer
117 views

Description of a character in 'War and peace'

In the book 'War and peace ' , the characters seem to mention the name of a person ' countess Apraksina ' with a tone of respect and concern in chapter 10. This character 'countess Apraksina' is not ...
4
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1answer
156 views

In War and Peace, why do all the generals and Kutuzov consider it “impossible” to defend Moscow?

After the battle of Borodino, in which the Russians apparently did well, why did the French simply advance to Moscow and why was it considered inevitable that Moscow would be abandoned and the army ...
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72 views

What is the text Ivan refers to in the preface to the Grand Inquisitor

Before declaming the Grand Inquisitor in the Brothers Karamazov, Ivan refers to a poem with the virgin Marie visiting Hell and begging God for mercy for its inhabitants. Is this a real poem? If so, ...
3
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1answer
256 views

What is “the light by which she had read the book” in “Anna Karenina”?

What does the following sentence from Anna Karenina mean? And the light by which she had read the book filled with troubles, falsehoods, sorrow, and evil, flared up more brightly than ever before, ...
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2answers
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What led Tolstoy to depict that a person would have a change of heart after throwing themselves under a train?

After having read a few different works by Tolstoy, I have come to the conclusion that his main goal is to accurately depict what goes through a person's mind in various situations. One of the most ...
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69 views

Who wrote this?

White rose in the garden Raven puppy in the night Stars reflecting all Heaven Looking for it, not found Moving through Moving through Nothing left for me to do
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125 views

Why do peasants in 19th century Russian literature often have Greek names?

Why do peasant characters in 19th century Russian literature so often have Greek names? (e.g. "Agafon" and "Platon" in Anna Karenina).
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92 views

What are the arguments against atheism in Crime and Punishment?

I'm trying to figure out exactly what arguments Dostoevsky tries to make in Crime and Punishment against atheism. I'm talking about the kind of conclusion he wants you to make for yourself when ...
2
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1answer
58 views

Why do the Watches bother with anything if the whole system is designed to be balanced?

The basis of the interactions between the Watches seems to be to keep the balance in their powers: whatever one side does, it must allow the other to counteract. Thus the Night Watch/Inquisition/Day ...
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40 views

Solzhenitsyn's Red Wheel

I've heard that all of Solzhenitsyn's work is to be in English by the centennial of his birth, which is this year. I'm trying to understand just what new English translations we can expect this year, ...
4
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1answer
114 views

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

Is there an English translation of the surviving stanzas of chapter 10 of Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin? From Wikipedia: Pushkin wrote at least 18 stanzas of a never-completed tenth chapter. It ...
4
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216 views

How much is 95000 rubles from 1897 worth in today's money?

In the Anton Chekhov play Uncle Vanya, Vanya said that the whole estate was bought for 95000 rubles. How much money would that be in today's market?
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What was the point of the job-switching lottery?

One peculiar thing about the City (in the first two parts of the novel, at least) is that everyone must switch their jobs every once in a while, the job being chosen by a machine based in the person's ...
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177 views

How was Crime and Punishment originally published?

I know that Crime and Punishment was originally published in "The Russian Messenger". I read that it was a Monthly journal. But how exactly was Crime and Punishment formatted in its initial release? ...
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What's the difference between a Higher One and a Great One?

In Sergei Lukyanenko's Watch series, there are several different "grades" of magical power, from seventh-grade all the way up to first-grade and then beyond. As I understand it, everyone above first-...
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1k views

What does the last sentence in chapter 2 of Crime and Punishment really mean?

The sentence I'm referring to is this one. ‘And what if I am wrong,’ he cried suddenly after a moment’s thought. ‘What if man is not really a scoundrel, man in general, I mean, the whole race ...
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Narrator in The Idiot

I'm struggling to understand the narrator in The Idiot. He seems like an omniscient narrator, talking of characters in third person. But, in Chapter I of Part One, while describing know-it-alls, the ...
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1answer
55 views

What did Solzhenitstyn('s translator) intend to say by 'those carriers of evil contemporary with them'?

Source: The Well-Educated Mind (2 edn 2016), p. 165 Middle. I modified the book's format, as the author quoted scantly and the omitted sentences were short enough to be restored.   Solzhenitsyn's ...
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What ticked off Soviet bosses about “Inhabited Island”?

Нет, конечно. Насколько я помню, мы ничего об этом Супермене и не знали тогда. Я уже писал, что Максим был нашим ответом начальству: не хотите серьезной литературы? Пожалуйста! Вот вам залипуха о ...
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Indeed, why doesn't the City have any great artists?

The city is an interesting place - an ensemble of people from all around the world, and even from different times (though the 20th century seems to be prevalent). Their occupations, genders, beliefs, ...
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What is the symbolism of the statues and the meeting at the Pantheon in “The Doomed City”?

In part 5 of Strugastkys' The Doomed City, when Andrei and his group find the central square, there are countless empty places where statues used to be, and all of them have strange writings. Later ...
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Was Pechorin really “not a hero”? [duplicate]

In the famous novel by Mikhail Lermontov "Hero of our time" Pechorin, the main hero of the novel is presented to have all the vices of human-kind. The prologue Lermontov says that, I paraphrase, the ...
6
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1answer
60 views

What was the Red Building, the chess game, and who was the chess genius?

In The Doomed City ("Град обреченный"), when Andrei finally (spoilers, kind of) finds the Red Building and enters it, he sees a surreal host of people expecting him to a game of chess with some ...
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Understanding the usage of “Philosophy” in Uncle Vanya

In "Uncle Vanya" by Chekhov, I noticed a usage of the word "philosophy" that seemed out of place. ASTROFF. A woman can only become a man's friend after having first been his acquaintance and then ...
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1answer
401 views

Leonid Andreyev novel about man pretending to be crazy in order to get away with murder

I have read a story by Leonid Andreyev many years ago. I would like to read it again but I don't know where / how to find it. The story is about a guy that one day decides to kill his friend. His ...
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1answer
910 views

Which of Leo Tolstoy's stories are appropriate for children?

I am aware that Tolstoy wrote stories specifically for children. However, I would also like to know which of his other stories of his vast bibliography are suitable (i. e. age appropriate) for ...
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1answer
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Is there a Russian edition of Khrushchev Remembers?

I looked for a while but cannot find if there is an original publication of Khrushchev's memoirs in Russian. I'd much rather read it in its original language since I speak Russian, but I can only find ...
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170 views

What is the narrative device that involves using inconsequential elements in the story?

I’m looking for the narrative device that, as opposed to Chekhov’s gun, involves purposely including accounts of events or things in the narrative that are inconsequential to the main story. This ...
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Are positive, parable-like vibes a noted pattern in Russian literature (at least for short stories and anecdotes)?

WARNING! The following post contains minor spoilers about the following books: Mikhail Bulgakov - A Country Doctor's Notebook Bonnie Jo Campbell - American Salvage D. W. Wilson - Once your Break a ...
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Why does the narrator of “Master and Margarita” say that Caribbean are fiction?

Bulgakov describes the appearance of the Archibald Archibaldovich (chief of the security of the MASSOLIT restaurant) in quite a peculiar way: At midnight there appeared a vision in this hell. On ...
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How did Sheymov manage to convince KGB that he and the family were dead?

Closer to the end of the book, Sheymov's contact from CIA refused to go with his plan to fake their family death when defecting. In Chapter 11, "Misha" refuses to help with the plan: Victor nodded, ...
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What is the creative device naming used for text generation in Pelevin's S.N.U.F.F.?

What is the proper, published, translation in the only AFAIK existing English version of the book S.N.U.F.F. by Victor Pelevin? Grim uploaded the germ of his perplexity and sadness in the creative ...
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1answer
1k views

Why did Smerdyakov kill himself in the Brothers Karamazov?

It is being said that he committed suicide out of desperation. the Defense lawyer, Fetyukovich, actually stated Smerdyakov did not kill himself out of guilt and remorse, but because he knew there was ...
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226 views

Did Pilate have a vision of Woland/Satan?

In "Master and Margarita", after hearing from Berlioz that Jesus was a fictional character, Woland starts to describe the meeting between procurator Pilate and prisoner Yeshua Ha-Notsri, saying that "...
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42 views

What exactly happened with the glasses?

The man who wrote the diary displays a very strange reaction to what (for me) appears to be a negligible accident - having his and his friend's (with whom he was kissing) glasses entangle and fall on ...
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57 views

What explains Maxim Kammerer's superhuman physical condition in “Prisoners of Power” (aka “The Inhabited Island”)?

Throughout the novel, Maxim is shown to have an almost superhuman physical condition, easily performing unthinkable feats, which include, but aren't limited to Being able to run for a very long time ...
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1answer
703 views

Is there a contrast between Trofimov and Lopakhin in Anton Chekhov's 'The Cherry Orchard"?

I am an intern who is teaching in high school in India. In the syllabus, I got across Anton Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard" in Hindi. After discussing the book with the students, I found out that there ...