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The Village of Stepanchikovo: And its Inhabitants: from the Notes of an Unknown (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 29 Jun 1995

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (29 Jun. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140446583
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140446586
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.3 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 340,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) was a Russian novelist, journalist, short-story writer whose psychological penetration into the human soul had a profound influence on the 20th century novel. Notes from the Underground was followed by Crime and Punishment, (1866) an account of an individual's fall and redemption, The Idiot, (1868) depicting a Christ-like figure, Prince Myshkin, and The Possessed, (1871) an exploration of philosophical nihilism.


Translated with an introduction by Ignat Avsey


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Format: Paperback
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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By Luc REYNAERT TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 10 July 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This highly spirited character comedy turns around an impudent schemer, who became the real master of a household through his `ties' with the mother of an estate owner, `uncle'. The latter is a credulous, irresolute weakling, who is terrorized of giving offense. He is completely mystified by the confident of his mother, who is not more than an arrogant, bullying parasite, but a master in psychological blackmail.
Other important characters are a young heiress, whom the family wants to couple with `uncle' in order to save the estate, and a young girl who is in love with `uncle'.
The whole bunch around them, are mainly intriguers and vipers, who are using `uncle' as a punching ball.

In one of his first novels, Dostoyevsky shows already that he is a master painter of psychological warfare, in depth character sketches, complicated intrigues and hilarious scenes with embarrassing confrontations.
Like in all his earlier work, one can find here the basic brushes of the great characters in his major novels. One thinks here immediately of `The Idiot'.

In his excellent introduction, which should be read as an afterword, the translator I. Avsey explains that the character of `uncle' is a portrait and an attack on Gogol, because of his reactionary comments in `Selected Passages from Correspondence with Friends'.

This book is highly recommended to all lovers of world literature and all fans of Dostoyevsky.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
IGNAT AVSEY HAS ONCE AGAIN PROVED HIS METTLE IN TRANSLATING THIS RUSSIAN NOVELLA IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE; WHEN COMPARED TO THE PREVIOUS TRANSLATION OF BROTHERS KAMARAZOV, THE PRESENT TRANSLATION FALLS UNDER THE CATEGORY OF CONVERSATIONAL ENGLISH; THE CONVERSATIONAL ENGLISH OF THE VARIOUS PERSONALITIES WITH THE FREQUENT FLASHES OF NEGATIVE INTERROGATIVES ENGAGES OUR ATTENTION THROUGHOUT THE STORY ; MOST OF THE CHAPTERS ARE ABSORBING; WHEN WE APPROACH THE END OF EACH CHAPTER A KIND OF SUSPENSE OVERWHELMS US WITH KEEN INQUISITIVENESS TO TURN IMMEDIATELY TO THE NEXT CHAPTER; MORE THAN THE NOVEL I ADMIRE THE CONVERSATIONAL ENGLISH PRESENTED BY IGNAT AVSEY; I NEED RESPONSE FROM MY ENGLISH BROTHERS AND SISTERS REGARDING THIS ASPECT

THANKING YOU

MURALIDHARAN MADRAS
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