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.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
1
vote
2answers
187 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
131 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
61 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 ...
4
votes
0answers
57 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
1answer
36 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
0answers
22 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
62 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
0answers
50 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
901 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
507 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.
11
votes
1answer
189 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
465 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
votes
1answer
69 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
votes
2answers
834 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
161 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
votes
1answer
636 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
votes
2answers
134 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
1answer
35 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
25 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
votes
2answers
122 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
492 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
1answer
164 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 '...
6
votes
0answers
58 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
0answers
79 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
2answers
431 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
votes
1answer
120 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
votes
1answer
163 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
195 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
votes
1answer
396 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
votes
2answers
215 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
votes
1answer
357 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"...
2
votes
1answer
85 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 ...
4
votes
0answers
62 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
votes
1answer
291 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
66 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
89 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
votes
1answer
745 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
votes
1answer
594 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
votes
1answer
216 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
votes
1answer
265 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
votes
1answer
95 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
votes
1answer
427 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, ...
2
votes
2answers
160 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
85 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
votes
1answer
239 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).
1
vote
0answers
131 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
votes
1answer
63 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
votes
0answers
44 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
votes
1answer
192 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
votes
1answer
314 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?