A Russian Schoolboy

A Russian Schoolboy

3.65 (20 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , Introduction by  , Illustrated by  , Translated by 

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Reminiscing upon his childhood, a contemporary of Keats and Gogol evokes in intimate detail the daily life and customs of the eighteenth century Russian gentryshow more

Product details

  • Paperback | 174 pages
  • 114 x 186 x 12mm | 99.79g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford Paperbacks
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 019281575X
  • 9780192815750

Review Text

This is one of three volumes of family reminiscences that Aksakov, a friend and disciple of Gogol, wrote in the mid-19th century when such natural expression of feelings and fresh, first-hand observation were rare, especially in Russia. Over the years it has been enjoyed "by young and old alike," as John Bayley notes in his scholarly but straightforward Introduction. We see young Aksakov cosseted by his mother and miserable his first term away at school; his joyful release to the countryside he loves, and his growing recognition (never spelled out) that all is not well at home; his willing return to school, first friendships, and especially his passions - for fishing and then hunting, for literature, for acting and the theater. Aksakova, the family seat, is a pastoral idyll - but not to his cultivated, city-bred mother who scorns the peasants' dances and plays. School and University are a whole other world where youthful idealism "has not yet been clouded over by the claims of society or the petty cares of domestic life." Aksakov behaves foolishly and, looking back, chides himself; but he can still savor his triumphs, still enter into moments of blissful awareness by the mill-stream, on the coach box, at a mummers' play. And he appreciates character, whether in his stern tutor or an aunt who marries late and beneath her, and loves her unprepossessing old husband well. It's a book that, written with an easy grace, could be a revelation to some child - or a pleasure, equally, to the oversated adult. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

20 ratings
3.65 out of 5 stars
5 40% (8)
4 15% (3)
3 20% (4)
2 20% (4)
1 5% (1)
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