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A Window On Russia by Edmund Wilson

By Edmund Wilson

My development of the pdf uploaded by way of chef (despecked b/w, OCR'd, bookmarked, dossier measurement 1/4, his announcemet copied).

Russian Language 3
Pushkin 15
Tyutchev 28
Gogol: The Demon within the Overgrown backyard 38
Seeing Chekhov simple 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 continually 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 relatively fit Wilson's snatch of tradition and background, of hobbies and males. In A Window on Russia, which Wilson modestly calls "a handful of disconnected items, written at quite a few occasions whilst I occurred to have an interest within the a variety of authors," we come across that infrequent excitement of getting into a dwelling international the place the lifeless hand of academia by no means casts its shadow. actual, the essays are asymmetric, the sooner surveys of Gogol and Chekhov, for example, are mild affairs, with out the variety and poignancy of Wilson's reviews of Turgenev and Tolstoy and Pushkin. precise, he's no phrasemaker. He tells us that "Gorky rightly acknowledged that Tolstoy and God have been like bears in a single den," and there's not anything in his personal feedback 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 less than the Soviets as they did below the Tsars, the peasants who are suffering 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 well-known controversy among Nabokov and Wilson over Evgeni Onegin, which first seemed within the big apple evaluate, and quite correct chapters on Svetlana and Solzhenitsyn which seemed within the New Yorker.

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Extra resources for A Window On Russia

Sample text

In this torpid and moldy Russia, something has been set in motion, and Gogol has a moment of exaltation. But where is it going? he asks, and the horizon returns no answer. Nor is he able to escape from this world that is tedious as well as mad; nor has he power to redeem his hero through the Purgatory he plans to succeed this Hell. In the fragments that have come to us of the Second Part, the adventurer Chichikov, though sent to jail, seems to emerge just as much of a scoundrel, and the supposedly virtuous characters are the victims of obsessions like those of the First.

A wild impulse, an unearthly summons, may suddenly upset everything. The cats from the forest have crept in like devils. The widower, walking in the orchard, by whose fruit trees with their succulent fruit he, too, has been overgrown, thinks one day that he hears his wife calling him, and this proves to be an omen of his death. Gogo! tells us here that sometimes in his childhood he has imagined, on a bright and quiet day, that he heard a voice calling his name and has fled to find some other human being who would relieve him of his sense of desolation.

Taras Bulba himself has a good deal in common with the boorish and maniacal landowners encountered by Chichikov in the novel. In spite of the heroic element, in spite of Gogol's interpolation of passages that imitate the language of the folk ballad or the epic, he cannot help making his Cossack chieftain-who gratuitously starts a war in order to give his two sons a field for exhibiting their 44 A WINDOW ON RUSSIA prowess, then unhesitatingly shoots down one of them when, infatuated with a Polish princess, the boy has gone over to the Poles and avenges the death of the other, who has been captured and executed by the enemy, by laying waste the whole of Poland-less a hero than a comic monster.

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