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Peter Maughan (peter@maughan.screaming.net) (East Sussex, England)

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The Village of Stepanchikovo
The Village of Stepanchikovo
by F. M. Dostoevsky
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is there somebody like this in your life?, 31 Aug. 2001
When I first read The Village of Stepanchikovo I saw Foma Fomich Opiskin as a detestable character and I could hardly turn the pages fast enough to see whether he would get this just deserts.
However, with the passage of time, my judgement of Foma mellowed and I became more sympathetic towards him. I thought the book could do with a second reading to check out this revised opinion. Foma Fomich is a caricature and to some extent I think we all have similar characters in our own lives. It is somebody we initially respect for fulfilling a specific role in our lives. Perhaps it's a schoolmistress or headmaster, a pop star, a football manager, a university language teacher or even an ex-prime-minister. It's somebody with whom our initial contact is quite straightforward, in a clearly defined role, but then we put him or her up onto a sort of pedestal of reverent respect. They let it go to their head and become pompous and arrogant and start making pronouncements well outside their original remit. A sort of surrogate parent-child relationship develops. If we're not careful such people can start to dominate our lives, unless we take a firm stance and let them know their limits.
Well worth a second read. Thanks to Ignat Avsey for his translation.


The Village of Stepanchikovo: And its Inhabitants: from the Notes of an Unknown (Penguin Classics)
The Village of Stepanchikovo: And its Inhabitants: from the Notes of an Unknown (Penguin Classics)
by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dominating influence in all our lives?, 31 Aug. 2001
When I first read The Village of Stepanchikovo I saw Foma Fomich Opiskin as a detestable character and I could hardly turn the pages fast enough to see whether he would get this just deserts.
However, with the passage of time, my judgement of Foma mellowed and I thought the book could do with a second reading. Of course Foma Fomich is a caricature. To some extent, I think we all have similar characters in our own lives. It is somebody we initially give respect for fulfilling a specific role in our lives. Perhaps it's a schoolmistress or headmaster, a pop star, a football manager, a university language teacher or even an ex-prime-minister. It's somebody with whom our initial contact is quite straightforward, in a clearly defined role, but then we put him or her up onto a sort of pedestal of reverent respect. They let it go to their head and become pompous and arrogant and start making pronouncements well outside their original remit. A sort of surrogate parent-child relationship develops. If we're not careful such people can start to dominate our lives, unless we take a firm stance and let them know their limits.
Well worth a second read. Thanks to Ignat Avsey for this translation.


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