Nervous People and Other Satires

ISBN-10: 0253201926

ISBN-13: 9780253201928

Edition: N/A

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Description: Typical targets of Zoshchenko's satire are the Soviet bureaucracy, crowded conditions in communal apartments, marital infidelities and the rapid turnover in marriage partners, and "the petty-bourgeois mode of life, with its adulterous episodes, lying, and similar nonsense." His devices are farcical complications, satiric understatement, humorous anachronisms, and an ironic contrast between high-flown sentiments and the down-to-earth reality of mercenary instincts. Zoshchenko's sharp and original satire offers a marvelous window on Russian life in the 20s and 30s.

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Book details

List price: $22.00
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Publication date: 10/22/1975
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 480
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.00" long x 1.25" tall
Weight: 1.320

His first book of stories appeared in 1921 and became extraordinarily popular. However, he came under political pressure in the 1930s because some of his works, such as Youth Restored (1933), were too slyly ambiguous to fit the socialist realist model. In 1946, together with Akhmatova, he was singled out for an extraordinary attack by culture "boss" Andrei Zhdanov and was expelled from the Union of Soviet Writers. From then on he mostly produced translations. Zoshchenko was an extremely effective satirist who took his subjects from the paradoxes and incongruities of post-Revolutionary Russian society. He showed that human nature, which the new government was trying to change, would assert itself nonetheless. His language is fascinating. He often chooses lower-class narrators who speak in a mixture of the colloquial and of the new Soviet rhetoric---with highly comic results. During the 1930s, Zoshchenko's fiction began to explore philosophical and theoretical problems. A well-known example is Before Sunrise, the first part of which was published in 1943. In it the author analyzes his own psyche, in the process touching on the then-forbidden theories of Freud. Publication of the complete text of this work did not occur until 1972.

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