Date of Award
Professor Jett Black
Regardless of what subject the Russian writer is concerned with, there are two things which almost all Russian novels have in common. One is a great emphasis on Russian virtues and frailties which are common to all men. To read a Russian novel is to become Russian for a few hours and realize that Russians and Americans are not very different after all. The other common trait of Russian novels is an interest in the Russian social structure. This preoccupation crops up both before and after the revolution, but the greatest Russian novels are either actually produced before the Revolution or written about periods before or during the Revolution. The five novels reviewed in this paper have these two traits in common in varying degrees. The first, Smoke, by Ivan Turgenev, is concerned primarily with the aristocracy and its shallowness. The Brothers Karamazov by Fedor Dostoyevsky is concerned with man's groping for beliefs and also with man's potential goodness. Resurrection by Count Leo Tolstoy is a novel of both the inhumanity and the compassion of man. Dry Valley by Ivan Bunin is a novel of the past and its class distinctions. And Quiet Flows the Don by Mikhail Sholokhov is a study of the Cossack--his passions, virtues, and philosophy of life.
Shugart, Sharon Luvois, "Review of Five Russian Novels" (1968). Honors Theses. 681.