Nervous People, and Other Satires

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Indiana University Press, 1963 - Fiction - 449 pages
2 Reviews

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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - shawnd - LibraryThing

Zoshchenko was a Russian satirist writing during the Stalinist period in the USSR. His most published pieces were newspaper entries, sort of humorous op-eds, perhaps like a cross between the American ... Read full review

Review: Nervous People and Other Satires

User Review  - Zach - Goodreads

I have not read every single story, nor will I probably until I am officially retired, and not just unemployed. Here are encapsulated the very reason I detest going to the theater, and my frustrations ... Read full review


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About the author (1963)

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.

Leo Tolstoy (18281910) was the author of two of literatures greatest novels, "War and Peace" and "Anna Karenina,"
Ronald Wilks has translated works by Gorky, Gogol, and Chekhov for Penguin Classics.
Hugh McLean has published widely on Russian literature.
Paul Foote was, until his retirement, a university lecturer in Russian and fellow of The Queens College, Oxford.

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