Nina; The Comic Actor; An Old Man's Sin

A. F. Pisemskii, Author Ardis Publishers $0 (184p) ISBN 978-0-88233-986-3
After a spectacular early success, Pisemsky's reputation as an author suffered a terrible eclipse. This was partly because of the competition of other mid-19th century Russian writers such as Turgenev and Dostoyevski, and partly because Pisemsky grossly misjudged the taste and mores of his audience. Jenkins seeks to demonstrate that in spite of his failings Pisemsky was a writer of ``consummate skill.'' The short story ``Nina'' is narrated by a dull young man who falls in love with Nina, whom he imagines as a romantic heroine. Years later he discovers she has become a boorish matron and that his earlier impressions were mistaken. In the novella ``The Comic Actor'' a theatrical troupe stages Gogol's The Marriage. During the performance a henpecked drunkard is revealed as the true actor in their midst. Unlike the others, he feels drama emotionally rather than cerebrally. ``An Old Man's Sin'' concerns a civil servant who is duped by a beautiful woman seeking his help to redeem her estate at the price of his career. Translated into English for the first time, these short works are important additions to our store of 19th century Russian literature. Pisemsky's brooding romanticism, coupled with his control as a writer, suffers only in comparison with literary giants. (June)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
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