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About The Hesperian / (Lincoln, Neb.) 1885-1899 | View Entire Issue (May 21, 1894)
It was quite natural that the realistic
movement should find expression in the
novel. The Russian government with its
eye ever watchful for discontent and menaces
to its power, would not tolerate political
treatises. Nor could the writer thus afford
asm should drag Turgenief 's carriage through
the streets or faint on touching the hem of
It has been said as an explanation of the
fact that American novels are inferior to
Russian novels, that Russian novelists have
to jeopardize his life, while his country great subjects. This seems to me erroneous.
stood in such need of it.
So it came about quite naturally, that
under the guise of a story, telling of the life
of his time, the writer should convey his
message to the people. Can we not in some
The true explanation is that the Russian
author has learned to treat a simple subject
in a great way. He does not spend his
time in searching the world over for a sub
ject worthy of his pen. He has learned
degree realize what an intense feeling of that he need not go outside his own coantry,
hatred the following simple and touching
story of Turgcnief'R would arouse in the
minds of those who had suffered?
There was a deaf and dumb peasant who
had a dog to which he was passionately
attached, and which he called by the only
sound he was able to pronounce, mu-mu.
One night his mistress, the barynia, dis
turbed by the bark of the dog, ordered it to
nay, nor outside his own village, although it
contain only ten houses, to find a theme.
Dostoyevsky's "Crime and Punishment"
is an illustration of this fact. The setting
of the story is essentially Russian. Indeed
we would expect it to be so. But the basis
of the story itself might be found equally
well in any country. It is a world-wide
theme upon which he is writing, simple in
be killed. The peasant, heart-broken, yet itself, yet involving the greatest questions,
fearing to disobey, drowned his one friend With great minuteness he traces the history
with his own hand. of a crime until its fatal accomplishment
It was through such sketches as these, all tnen tne punishment that must inevitably
too real to the Russian people, that Tur
genief pleaded with them for emancipation,
and verily he had his reward.
From the purpose that governs the au
thor's whole life and thought, literature in
Russia has not become a profession as in
France. It is not fame or praise that the
Russian writer seeks, nor does he think
whether this or that will catch the popular
fancy. Righting Russia's wrongs is his
His life is none of the easiest. He must
endure unremitting persecution, often death.
Is it any wonder that worn out by constant
persecution, overwrought by the intensity of
his patriotic ardor, brooding over his coun
try's wrongs without ceasing, he cannot en
dure the strain? Is it stranco that Gotol
became imbitterred, and that Dostoyevsky tbey wisb to complete the time schedule.
should say, his real troubles kept him from f tow g -week ate
, i . . next, borne of the University players may
going mad over his imaginary ones? Or be expected to rank well with any of the
that the Russian youths fired with onthusi- city club.
follow, the agonizing and haunting fear of
What is true of Dostoyevsky's novels is
also true of Count Tolstoi's. They are pic
tures of Russian life. What are "Anna
Karenina" or the "Cossacks" or any other
one of his novels than scenes from the life
he himself has witnessed?
The cqming American writer who will
take his place by the side of Turgonief and
Tolstoi, is the one who can truly describe
American life in its American setting.
The tennic tournament for doubles com
mences the first of next week. Eight
couples have already signed for the tourna
ment and any others wishing to enter (
should let the committee know at once as
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