Keys to Happiness: A Novel

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Indiana University Press, 1999 - Fiction - 300 pages
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Published in six volumes between 1908 and 1913. Keys to Happiness was the most sensationally popular Russian novel of the early 20th century. Against a panorama of Russian society on the eve of World War I, the novel recounts the stormy life of Manya Yeltsova, a Russian "new woman" and free spirit who captivates, among others, a socialist Jewish tycoon and a reactionary Russian nobleman and attains fame and notoriety as a dancer a la Isadora Duncan. In its day, Keys to Happiness crossed the boundaries of gender and class to define a new type of literature in Russian society. Keying in on themes of art, love, politics, and personal freedom, the novel combines the philosophical preoccupations of the age with the era's cult of self-gratification and pleasures of the flesh. This sparkling abridged translation brings Anastasya Verbitskaya's startling bestseller to English readers for the first time. The translators' informative introduction places the novel within its cultural, political, and social context, and illuminates its literary and historical significance for today's readers.
 

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