Introduction to Russian Realism

Introduction to Russian Realism

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Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 140 x 200mm
  • United Kingdom
  • New impression
  • 0253200962
  • 9780253200969

Review Text

Columbia's Professor Simmons has already dealt with four of the six authors considered here, namely Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy and Chekhov, in four enthusiastically received and well-rewarding studies, actually critical biographies, the best of which was the long Chekhov volume published a few seasons ago. As for the remaining two, Gogol?? and Sholokhov, they were tackled (in part or in passing) by Simmons in Russian Fiction and Soviet Ideology. All of which is merely to note that this Introduction is not only a resume of past works, but a watered-down one at that. It will fill student needs, for which it was primarily designed-indeed the book is based on Simmons' recent guest lectures at Indiana- but it carries neither Simmons nor the subject of Russian realism to any new heights. Also, the absence of commentary on Turgenev or Babel, among others, is regrettable. Pushkin's verse-novel, Eugene Onegin, is rightly interpreted as the first successful attempt at a national Russian epic. Its influence is traced through Gogol's bitter fantasias of the provinces and bureaucracy, Dostoevsky's psychological probing of the contemporary social revolutionaries, Tolstoy's all-embracing moralism and quest for an historical consciousness that would sum up the meaning of the times, and finally Chekhov's minute, ironic, but by no means condemnatory, observations of the frustrated middle-class. In a concluding chapter, Simmons contends that "socialist realism" as represented by Sholokhov is still in the mainstream of Pushkin & Co., a view which has as much to be said for it as against it. The overall scholarship is impeccable. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

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