The Russian novel has a reputation that is immense, both in narrative and in length. Unquestionably though the ideas, themes and characters make many novels rightly revered as world class, as icons of literature.
Perhaps an easier way to enjoy a wider selection of the Russian heritage, with its varied and glorious literary talents, is with the short story. These gems sparkle and beguile the mind with their characters and narrative, exploring facets of society and the human condition that more Western authors somehow find more difficult to navigate, or to explore, explain and relate to.
The Russian short story is, in many respects, in a genre of its own. It is at its captivating best whether it’s an exploration of real-life experiences, through fantasy and fables and on to total absurdity.
In a land so vast it is unsurprising that it is a world almost unto itself. Cultures and landscapes of differing hues are packed together bound only by the wilful bonds and force of Empire.
The stories in this collection traverse the decades where one might be a serf under an absolute monarch, and the reality of that was pretty near to slavery, into an emancipation of sorts in the fields, or towns under the despotic will of landowners and the rich into the upheavals of Empire and then the overthrow of the ruling class and its replacement by the communists, who promised equality for all and delivered a society where the down-trodden remained the lowest yet vital cog of the state machine and its will.
Whilst Tolstoy, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Pushkin and Chekhov are a given in any Russian collection we also explore and include Andreyev, Korolenko, Turgenev, Blavatsky and many others to create a world rich and dense across a sprawling landscape of diverse people, riddled with the class and unfairness in perhaps some of the most turbulent times that Russia has ever experienced.
01 - The Russian Short Story - Volume 2 - An Introduction
02 - Diary of a Madman by Nikolai Gogol
03 - Taman by Mikhail Yurievich Lermontov
04 - The Jew by Ivan Turgenev
05 - The Rendezvous by Ivan Turgenev
06 - A Strange Story by Ivan Turgenev
07 - Mumu by Ivan Turgenev
08 - The District Doctor by Ivan Turgenev
09 - The Dream of a Ridiculous Man by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
10 - The Beggar Boy at Christ's Christmas Tree by Fyodor Dostoyevsky