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Who Can Be Happy and Free in Russia?   By: (1821-1877)

Book cover

First Page:

WHO CAN BE HAPPY AND FREE IN RUSSIA?

BY

NICHOLAS NEKRASSOV

Translated by Juliet M. Soskice

With an Introduction by Dr. David Soskice

1917

[Illustration: Nicholas Nekrassov]

NICHOLAS ALEXEIEVITCH NEKRASSOV

Born, near the town Vinitza, province of Podolia, November 22, 1821

Died, St. Petersburg, December 27, 1877.

'Who can be Happy and Free in Russia?' was first published in Russia in 1879. In 'The World's Classics' this translation was first published in 1917.

CONTENTS:

NICHOLAS NEKRASSOV: A SKETCH OF HIS LIFE

PROLOGUE

PART I.

CHAP.

I. THE POPE II. THE VILLAGE FAIR III. THE DRUNKEN NIGHT IV. THE HAPPY ONES V. THE POMYÉSHCHICK

PART II. THE LAST POMYÉSHCHICK

PROLOGUE I. THE DIE HARD II. KLIM, THE ELDER

PART III. THE PEASANT WOMAN

PROLOGUE I. THE WEDDING II. A SONG III. SAVYÉLI IV. DJÓMUSHKA V. THE SHE WOLF VI. AN UNLUCKY YEAR VII. THE GOVERNOR'S LADY VIII. THE WOMAN'S LEGEND

PART IV. A FEAST FOR THE WHOLE VILLAGE

PROLOGUE I. BITTER TIMES BITTER SONGS II. PILGRIMS AND WANDERERS III. OLD AND NEW

EPILOGUE

NICHOLAS NEKRASSOV: A SKETCH OF HIS LIFE

Western Europe has only lately begun to explore the rich domain of Russian literature, and is not yet acquainted with all even of its greatest figures. Treasures of untold beauty and priceless value, which for many decades have been enlarging and elevating the Russian mind, still await discovery here. Who in England, for instance, has heard the names of Saltykov, Uspensky, or Nekrassov? Yet Saltykov is the greatest of Russian satirists; Uspensky the greatest story writer of the lives of the Russian toiling masses; while Nekrassov, "the poet of the people's sorrow," whose muse "of grief and vengeance" has supremely dominated the minds of the Russian educated classes for the last half century, is the sole and rightful heir of his two great predecessors, Pushkin and Lermontov.

Russia is a country still largely mysterious to the denizen of Western Europe, and the Russian peasant, the moujik , an impenetrable riddle to him. Of all the great Russian writers not one has contributed more to the interpretation of the enigmatical soul of the moujik than Russia's great poet, Nekrassov, in his life work the national epic, Who can be Happy in Russia?

There are few literate persons in Russia who do not know whole pages of this poem by heart. It will live as long as Russian literature exists; and its artistic value as an instrument for the depiction of Russian nature and the soul of the Russian people can be compared only with that of the great epics of Homer with regard to the legendary life of ancient Greece.

Nekrassov seemed destined to dwell from his birth amid such surroundings as are necessary for the creation of a great national poet.

Nicholas Alexeievitch Nekrassov was the descendant of a noble family, which in former years had been very wealthy, but subsequently had lost the greater part of its estates. His father was an officer in the army, and in the course of his peregrinations from one end of the country to the other in the fulfilment of his military duties he became acquainted with a young Polish girl, the daughter of a wealthy Polish aristocrat. She was seventeen, a type of rare Polish beauty, and the handsome, dashing Russian officer at once fell madly in love with her. The parents of the girl, however, were horrified at the notion of marrying their daughter to a "Muscovite savage," and her father threatened her with his curse if ever again she held communication with her lover. So the matter was secretly arranged between the two, and during a ball which the young Polish beauty was attending she suddenly disappeared. Outside the house the lover waited with his sledge. They sped away, and were married at the first church they reached... Continue reading book >>




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