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Russian Classics From Dark Days FigureRussian Classics From Dark Days Figure

Russian Classics From Dark Days

Curated by Elif Batuman


About the Curator
Elif Batuman is the author of “The Possessed,” a collection of comic interconnected essays about the pursuit of Russian literature, and “The Idiot,” a novel and Pulitzer Prize finalist in fiction. She is also a staff writer at the “New Yorker.”

About the Folio

When the twenty-first century seems terrible, I like to remember the many even worse periods in human history, during which people nonetheless managed to write incredible and illuminating books. Here are three of my favorite Russian classics from days darker than ours.

Book selections

Elif Batuman book recommendations - Fable

Short Fiction

Nikolai Gogol
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Short Fiction

Short Fiction

By Nikolai Gogol
“We all came out of Gogol’s ‘Overcoat,’” Dostoevsky is said to have remarked, and this is the overcoat he may or may not have been talking about. In these stories, absurdities befall members of the insanely hierarchical civil service established by Peter the Great. My personal favorite is “The Nose,” where the guy’s own nose gets promoted to a higher rank than him. Guaranteed to recast your own workplace issues in a new light.

Elif Batuman

Author
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