Read e-book online A Window On Russia PDF

By Edmund Wilson

ISBN-10: 0374290946

ISBN-13: 9780374290948

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Russian Language 3
Pushkin 15
Tyutchev 28
Gogol: The Demon within the Overgrown backyard 38
Seeing Chekhov undeniable 52
Turgenev and the Life-Giving Drop 68
Sukhovo-Kobylin: "Who Killed the French Woman?" 148
Notes on Tolstoy 161
Notes on Pushkin 185
A Little Museum of Russian Language 197
The unusual Case of Pushkin and Nabokov 209
Svetlana and Her Sisters 238
Solzhenitsyn 270

The glory of the past due Edmund Wilson, as Frank Kermode remarked, has constantly been "his skill to spot, whether he couldn't thoroughly describe, the master-spirit of an age." different critics are extra analytic or extra systematic, yet none rather fit Wilson's snatch of tradition and historical past, of hobbies and males. In A Window on Russia, which Wilson modestly calls "a handful of disconnected items, written at a variety of instances while I occurred to have an interest within the a number of authors," we come across that infrequent excitement of coming into a dwelling international the place the lifeless hand of academia by no means casts its shadow. real, the essays are asymmetric, the sooner surveys of Gogol and Chekhov, for example, are moderate affairs, with out the variety and poignancy of Wilson's stories of Turgenev and Tolstoy and Pushkin. real, he's no phrasemaker. He tells us that "Gorky rightly stated that Tolstoy and God have been like bears in a single den," and there's not anything in his personal comments on Tolstoy that equals the pithiness of Gorky's comment. but how memorably Wilson builds up a personality, an period; how attention-grabbing are his fussy information and leisurely summaries; how simply he makes his issues: the bureaucrats who flourish lower than the Soviets as they did below the Tsars, the peasants that suffer from one regime to a different, the depression authors who universally depression of Russia but can't undergo to be parted from her. incorporated within the present miscellany is the recognized controversy among Nabokov and Wilson over Evgeni Onegin, which first seemed within the ny evaluation, and fairly perfect chapters on Svetlana and Solzhenitsyn which seemed within the New Yorker.

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Maugham to approve of the precept that Ivan Bunin reports Chekhov's preaching to him: that in writing a short story you should lop off the beginning and the end. But it ought to be obvious to anyone whose notion of storytelling does not stop with the well-oiled plot, with the "wow" in the final paragraph which Chekhov refrained from writing, that the stories and plays of Chekhov are both complex and closely worked out. Mr. Hingley, who sometimes, in retelling Chekhov's stories, suggests that he has not seen their structure, does not bring out Chekhov's sense of form so well as Mr.

Housman and Gerard Manley Hopkins. Tyutchev was four years older than Pushkin and eleven years older than Lermontov, and he is usually ranked by the Russians as one of the three great poets of his period; but, since he wrote no plays or novels or narrative poems as Pushkin and Lermontov did, he has supplied no opera librettos and no translatable stories, and is therefore quite unknown in the West. He was not a professional writer and did not care to be a literary figure. He was a diplomat who lived out of Russia for the better part of twenty-two years and from time to time sent verses to Pushkin, who published them in the quarterly he was editing.

I had to buy another copy of an edition of the poems printed in Germany for the Russian emigres in 1921, in order to read Tyutchev the loyalist. Vladislav Khodasevich has called attention, in an essay on Tyutchev, to the habitual ineptitude of his political judgments. He believed, for example, that the future of Europe would depend on the outcome of a struggle between revolution and orthodox Russia, and that the orthodoxy of Russia was destined to save the day. 1971 GOGOL: THE DEMON IN THE OVERGROWN GARDEN The centenary of Gogol's death, February 21, was celebrated by Russians both here and at home and made the subject of a conference at Columbia, but it has not, so far as I know, brought forth any writing in English except a small book by Janko Lavrin, a professor of Slavonic languages at Nottingham University in England: Nikolai Gogo/: A Centenary Survey.

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A Window On Russia by Edmund Wilson

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