By Edmund Wilson
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Russian Language 3
Gogol: The Demon within the Overgrown backyard 38
Seeing Chekhov undeniable 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
The glory of the past due Edmund Wilson, as Frank Kermode remarked, has constantly been "his skill to spot, no matter if he couldn't thoroughly describe, the master-spirit of an age." different critics are extra analytic or extra systematic, yet none rather fit Wilson's seize of tradition and historical past, of pursuits 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 stumble upon that infrequent excitement of coming into a residing international the place the lifeless hand of academia by no means casts its shadow. precise, the essays are asymmetric, the sooner surveys of Gogol and Chekhov, for example, are moderate affairs, with out the variety and poignancy of Wilson's reports 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 interesting are his fussy facts and leisurely summaries; how simply he makes his issues: the bureaucrats who flourish below the Soviets as they did lower than the Tsars, the peasants who are suffering from one regime to a different, the depression authors who universally melancholy of Russia but can't endure to be parted from her. incorporated within the present miscellany is the recognized controversy among Nabokov and Wilson over Evgeni Onegin, which first seemed within the ny evaluate, and rather most excellent chapters on Svetlana and Solzhenitsyn which seemed within the New Yorker.
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Additional resources for A Window On Russia
Himself-the solid Ukrainian background, more or less realistically presented, is certainly very much Gogol's-who is responsible for making his student succumb at the third vigil and fall dead with fright when the vampire calls in the reinforcements of Hell Gust as, in Taras Bulba, the young Andrey is destroyed through the irresistible spell that has been cast on him by the Polish princess). It should be noted that the girl is revenging herself. She had fastened herself first on the student in the shape of an old hag, and he had only got rid of her by beating her to death, at which point she had been forced to reveal herself as the typical Gogolian beauty, intimidating and unattainable.
1971] At the time Mr. Hingley wrote his book, only the first eleven volumes had appeared, but 52 SEEING CHEKHOV PLAIN 53 with these, which included an immense amount of stuff that had been printed in magazines but that Chekhov had never collected- reviews and topical skits and captions for humorous drawings, and even a column of Moscow gossip that Chekhov contributed in his youth-Mr. Hingley was in a better position to give an account of Chekhov's work than anyone else, including Russians, who had ever attempted to do so in English.
The plum cake of Charles Lamb is a typical example; so, in a different field, is the maddeningly impeded narrative style of a Hawthorne or a Herman Melville. This style allows no rapid progression. A paragraph seems a mere clot of words, which might almost as well be read backward as forward and in which the contrived rhythms have the air of being ends in themselves, since they are always forcing the reader to stop and pay attention to them instead of sweeping him on. This style must have been due to some very strong pressures, for it is shared to some extent by a writer who worked on a big scale, like Balzac; and even by a popular writer, like Scott, who did want to tell a story.
A Window On Russia by Edmund Wilson