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Questions tagged [russian-literature]

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

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Was Nabokov's Pale Fire intended to be read non-linearly, i.e. jumping to each line reference?

Did Vladimir Nabokov ever indicate on record whether he intended Pale Fire to be read non-linearly, i.e. jumping to each line reference? A friend and I read the book together last summer. He read the ...
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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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4answers
220 views

Looking for a specific passage by Nabokov

I remember reading this specific (germanophobic, sorry about that) bit in one of Nabokov's works but I just can't find it now. It described several bürgers drinking beer and casually laughing at ...
2
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2answers
70 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 ...
4
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1answer
337 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 ...
12
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1answer
222 views

Is there symbolism in Vronsky going bald in Anna Karenina?

As I am reading Anna Karinina I notice how as the story continues Vronsky is going bald. As characters meet him it is noted how he tries to hid his increasing baldness. For instance when Dolly goes ...
0
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1answer
60 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
2
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1answer
57 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 ...
8
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1answer
93 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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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 ...
7
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1answer
148 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 ...
4
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35 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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114 views

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, ...
7
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3answers
104 views

What does Father Gur mean by “And then you'll be given back!”?

During the dinner at the king's palace, Rumata has a conversation with Father Gur, the poet. Rumata offers him a copy of the poets work, in exchange for a promise to write something new: “Very well ...
4
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1answer
57 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 ...
14
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1answer
765 views

How old was Tatiana during the main events of “Eugene Onegin”?

Eugene Onegin is a novel in verse, by the great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin. The main characters are Eugene Onegin, a young and bored man, and Tatiana, an even younger girl who falls in love with ...
4
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1answer
87 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?
8
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1answer
555 views

Was Dostoyevsky atheist or Christian?

We see atheist and Christian heroes in Dostoyevsky's books. In many cases the works of an author reflect elements of their own life. However, the extent to which this occurs vary by author. Especially,...
9
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1answer
154 views

What parallels can be drawn between Don Reba and Beria?

From the afterword of Hard to be a God: On the advice of I. A. Efremov, we renamed the Minister of the Defense of the Crown Don Reba (he had previously been Don Rebia—an overly simple anagram, in ...
4
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0answers
32 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
125 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? ...
12
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2answers
413 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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46 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-...
6
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58 views

Had people related the work of Gogol before “The Nose”?

In The Nose, an opera by Demitri Shostakovich, Shostakovich combines many of Nikolai Gogol's stories, including The Nose, for which the opera is named, into a single story. Had previous critics or ...
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74 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
44 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 ...
7
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1answer
62 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 ...
10
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1answer
123 views

Did Strugatsky brothers ever comment on “predicting” the Kasparov-Karpov World Chess rivalry?

In the foundational novel of their Noon universe, "Noon, XXII century" ("Полдень, XXII век"), published in 1961, Strugatsky brothers "predicted" the notorious Kasparov-Karpov World Chess rivalry and ...
5
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0answers
36 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, ...
4
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0answers
47 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 ...
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37 views

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 ...
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Why is Pechorin a hero of our time?

In Mikhail Lermontov's A Hero of Our Time (Герой нашего времени), the main hero is Grigory Pechorin, a cynical noble army man, an example of superfluous Byronic hero. The title of the novel has to ...
16
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1answer
446 views

What was a “prince” in Dostoevsky's times, i.e. mid-late 19th century?

In Dostoevsky's The Idiot, the main character is Prince Lev Nikolayevich Myshkin. Sometimes the word "prince" almost seems an honorary title, e.g. "Here you all are now," the prince began, "looking ...
6
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1answer
50 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 ...
3
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0answers
88 views

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 ...
13
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1answer
131 views

Political allegory in Lukyanenko's Watch series?

The Watch series by Sergei Lukyanenko describes the often bloodless struggle between the Night Watch and the Day Watch. It's a sort of cold war in which each side is only permitted to attack members ...
8
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1answer
372 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 ...
9
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2answers
1k views

In The Bet, why does the lawyer willingly stay fifteen years instead of five years for no extra reward?

In The Bet by Anton Chekhov, the lawyer voluntarily accepts to stay in prison for 15 years, instead of the original agreed upon 5 years. Here's the relevant passage: "The death sentence and the ...
3
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1answer
51 views

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 ...
11
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1answer
133 views

Are any of the countries in Hard to Be a God based specifically on particular real-life countries?

Arkanar, Irukan, Soan, ... there are several countries mentioned and given at least some description and fleshing out in the book. Are any of these intended to be direct parallels of specific real-...
18
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1answer
174 views

How did the Strugatsky Brothers' experience with Soviet literary publishing censorship reflect on their books?

It's well known that the Strugatsky brothers were affected by the censors overseeing the publishing of their work. How did those experiences reflect in their books? The question is about the ...
11
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2answers
232 views

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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54 views

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
537 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 ...
31
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1answer
607 views

Is there anything that definitely confirms that Svidrigailov actually committed murder in “Crime and Punishment?”

Is there any proof that Svidrigailov actually committed murder in Crime and Punishment, of either Philip (his servant) or Marfa Petrovna (his wife)? By proof, I mean either a nuanced passage I might ...
3
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1answer
763 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 ...
6
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1answer
97 views

In the song “Ja is Playing Jazz” (Джа играет джаз), who is Ja?

While listening to Splean's last album Ключ к шифру (The Key to the Cipher) again, I've wondered about a particular line from the song "Джа играет джаз" ("Ja is Playing Jazz"): Сегодня Джа играет ...
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0answers
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121 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 ...