Questions tagged [russian-literature]

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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1answer
495 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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120 views

Can someone help me find the 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 ...
5
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1answer
81 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 ...
5
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1answer
46 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 ...
4
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2answers
799 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 ...
5
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1answer
126 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 ...
5
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1answer
579 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. ...
4
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2answers
101 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
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1answer
31 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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1answer
24 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 ...
4
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2answers
105 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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1answer
465 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. ...
5
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1answer
72 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 '...
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43 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 ...
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0answers
51 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
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2answers
89 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 ...
4
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1answer
78 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 ...
3
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1answer
88 views

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 ...
6
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1answer
151 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
160 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 wonder at ...
4
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2answers
152 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 abhor ...
4
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1answer
118 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
53 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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49 views

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
201 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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1answer
63 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
70 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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1answer
431 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
380 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
169 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
186 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 ...
6
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1answer
90 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
307 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
114 views

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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1answer
74 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
9
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1answer
153 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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0answers
103 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
62 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 ...
4
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0answers
42 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
146 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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1answer
248 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?
4
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1answer
61 views

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 ...
9
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1answer
196 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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0answers
54 views

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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2answers
2k 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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0answers
140 views

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 ...
3
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1answer
56 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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2answers
100 views

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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0answers
40 views

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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0answers
64 views

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 ...