Russian Short Stories, May Week 1

A few great lines…

Leo Tolstoy The Poor People Jeanne gets up, covers her hair with a   thick shawl, lights a lantern, and goes outside to see if the sea is less   stormy, or the dawn in rising, or if, perhaps, she can see the lighthouse or   maybe the returning boat of her husband.”  trans. Peter Serkin
Vladimir Nabokov “A Matter of Chance” “He had nasty, glassy, protuberant eyes that seemed   filled with dark iodine.” Trans: Dmitri Nabokov
Vladimir Nabokov Conversation Piece, 1945 “I happen to have a disreputable namesake, complete from   nickname to surname, a man whom I have never seen in the flesh but whose   vulgar personality I have been able to deduce from his chance intrusions into   the castle of my life.” Trans: Dmitri Nabokov
Victor Erofeyev “The Parakeet” “And your boy, Yermolai Spiridonovich, he’s gone straight up to   heaven for sure: a martyr will always get to heaven, even if his cause is   wrong.” Trans. Leonard J. Stanton
Victor Pelevin “The Life and Adventures of Shed Number XII” “The dark and obscure life of his neighbors, their sour exhalations,   and obtuse grip on life were a threat to Number XII: the very existence of   these squat structures was enough to negate everything else.” Trans. Andrew Bromfield
Tatyana Tolstaya On the Golden Porch  ”From May to September,   Veronika Vikentievna, who suffered from insomnia, came out into the garden at   night, stood in her long white nightgown holding a pitchfork like Neptune,   listening to the nocturnal birds, breathing jasmine.” Trans. Antonina W. Bouis
Anton Chekov Champagne In the summer the steppe with its solemn calm, the monotonous chur of the   grasshoppers, the ransparent moonlight from which one could not hide, reduced   m to listelss melancholy; and in the winter the irreporachable whiteness of   the steppe, its cold distance, long nights, and howling wolves oppressed me   like a nightmare. Trans. Constance Garnett
Anton Chekov Peasants All seemed suddenly to realize that there was not an empty void between   earth and heaven, that the rigch and the powerful had not taken possession of   everything, that there was still a refuge from injury, from slavish bondage,   from crushing, unendurable poverty, from the terrible vodka.” Trans. Constance Garnett
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn “The New Generation” And, to be sure, poets dlong before the Revolution had foreseen it and   predicted the coming of these new Huns…” Trans. Kenneth Lantz and Stephan Solzhenitsyn
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn No Matter What” Looking into Guskov’s perceptive countenance, his little mobile eyes,   Pouzushan for the first time wondered: That trait, which he so like in   Guskov–his organizational capacity, prudence, and quick resolution of any   difficulties that arose, all of which greatly eased the job of a company   commander–could cheating also be a part of that trait?” Trans. Kenneth Lantz and Stephan Solzhenitsyn
Fyodor Dostoyevsky A Christmas Tree And A Wedding But he stroked them so zealously that, looking at him, one might have   supposed that the whiskers were created first and the gentleman only attached   to them in order to stroke them. Translator: Constance Garnett
Fyodor Dostoyevsky Polzunkov, A Story But that was at moments…. In short, he was a martyr in the fullest   sense of the word, but the most useless and consequently the most comic   martyr. Translator: Constance Garnett
Leonid N. Andreyev A Story Which Will Never Be Finished The great mystery of the night became his mystery, and his little heart   yearned for still more mystery; in its solitude his heart yearned for the   fusion of life and death. Translated by Herman Bernstein

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