Russian literature

The Seagull

October 4, 2018

Although Anton Chekhov’s plays were considered radically naturalistic when first performed, they feel like period pieces today. The saving grace is that the period to which they belong was one of the most fertile in world literature, with Chekhov’s brief span of 44 years intersecting with the lives of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Turgenev, Leskov and Bunin, … More

Lady MacBeth

July 7, 2017

Never underestimate the power of boredom. In Nikolai Leskov’s novella, Lady MacBeth of Mtsensk (1865), we hear about “that peculiarly Russian boredom, the boredom which… it is said, makes even the thought of hanging oneself seem a cheerful prospect.” In his debut feature, British director, William Oldroyd, transposes the Leskov’s Gothic tale from provincial Russia … More

The Duel

June 9, 2012

Ivan Andreyevich Laevsky is a superfluous man (lyishniy chelovek) – one of a breed of indolent, selfish characters that haunt the pages of 19th century Russian novels. A minor civil servant by profession, Laevsky has run off to the Caucasus with Nadia, another man’s wife, where their illicit relationship can blossom in close proximity to … More