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Family of Noblemen

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By: (1826-1889)

Family of Noblemen by Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin is a satirical masterpiece that offers a scathing critique of the Russian aristocracy. The novel follows the dysfunctional and corrupt Poshlinsky family as they navigate their way through high society, facing scandals, betrayals, and ultimately their own downfall.

Saltykov-Shchedrin's sharp wit and biting humor make for a captivating and entertaining read, as he exposes the hypocrisy and moral decay of the nobility. The characters are well-drawn and vivid, each representing a different facet of the decaying system that they inhabit.

The author's keen insight into human nature and society shines through in this novel, as he explores themes of power, wealth, and privilege. Despite being written in the 19th century, the novel's themes are still relevant today, making it a timeless classic that continues to resonate with readers.

Overall, Family of Noblemen is a thought-provoking and engaging novel that offers a telling look at the foibles of the Russian upper class. It is a must-read for anyone interested in classic Russian literature or social satire.

Book Description:
Meet the Golovliovs, the ultimate dysfunctional family. In the difficult transition years before and after the liberation of Russia’s serfs, the Golovliovs are a gentry family ill-equipped to face the adaptations necessary in the new social order. Petty, back-biting, greedy, rigid, ignorant, and cruel, their personalities are captured in the array of nicknames they themselves give each other: The Hag, Little Judas, Simple Simon, Pavel the Sneak, the Orphans, the Blood-Sucker. They hate each other ferociously and utterly despise the peasants around them, who are gradually awakening to the potentialities of their new freedoms. In this most famous of Saltykov-Shchedrin’s novels, there is a keen sympathy toward the plight of women caught in the complexities of social change: Anninka and Lubinka, the aristocratic orphans who, seeking independence, recklessly cast themselves into the bohemian life; the matriarch Arina Petrovna, whose desperately vigorous administration of the estate leads to an exhilarating but only temporary stability; the peasant girl Yevpraksia, who is resistlessly taken by the loathsome Porfiry Vladimirych as his mistress. Far from a piece of social propaganda, A Family of Noblemen shows a subtle portraiture of the complex characters and convoluted circumstances of the time. (Expatriate)

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