Russian literature exudes an atmosphere of mysticism, which is said to be a natural result of the simplicity of her people. Often, instead of being “about” anything, Russian stories sometimes seem to be the “thing” in itself. Be this as it may, it is an undeniable fact that with hardly any portent of future greatness to come, Russian literature suddenly sprang fully developed into existence in the 19th century. One after another, from Pushkin to Chekhov, some of the greatest writers who have ever lived emerged from the steppes, forests, and cities of Mother Russia.
Selections in Volume I:
- In “The Shot”, by Alexander Pushkin, a duel is postponed so that it may be continued at a more propitious time.
- “The Overcoat”, by Nikolai Gogol, is the hilarious tale of a lowly bureaucrat who suddenly finds himself in need of a new overcoat.
- “The Tryst”, by Ivan Turgenev, is a gorgeous, masterfully written first person narrative of a hunter who overhears two young people: one who loves and one who does not.
- In “The Wedding”, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, when a man is invited to a children’s ball, he witnesses an amazing incident. Five years later, a posh wedding clarifies everything.
- In “A Prisoner in the Caucasus”, by Leo Tolstoy, Tartar rebels take a Russian officer prisoner in order to collect a ransom. But the officer’s one thought throughout his cruel ordeal is to escape.
- In “An Upheaval”, by Anton Chekhov, a young governess accused of theft learns the identity of the real culprit.