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Monday, 25 July 2011 12:23

Great reading for your trip

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Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov
A masterpiece by Bulgakov, it was banned by the Soviet authorities. It contrasts the human and soviet nature of the 1930s Moscow. This mystical novel is one of the best pieces of satire in Russian literature and provides an amazingly fun read.

Journey from Moscow to St. Petersburg – Alexander Radishev
One of the first intellectual attacks on the czarist regime, this book inspired an entire generation of Russian authors.

Hero of Our Time – Michail Lermontov
The Napoleonic Wars sent many Russian troops across Europe, a trek that introduced them to a vastly different array of liberal traditions and ideas. The Russian soldiers became inspired to change their society when they returned home, a revolution known as the Decembrist Movement. Their ideals were defeated and a period of intellectual crisis followed. The hero of this book is trapped in this time.

War and Peace – Lev Tolstoi
War and Peace is the saga of the Russian empire, nobles, and peasants during the Napoleonic Wars. Tolstoi originally wanted to write about the Decembrists, but as he sought answers to his questions, he found that he had to look 40 years prior to their radical movement.

Fathers and Sons – Michail Turgenev
This highly-acclaimed work focuses on intergenerational issues. The story takes place in the country estate of a Russian noble. When the noble’s son returns home with a friend, the views of the three men clash as they represent the different epochs and classes of society. Turgenev masterfully explores the causes of the conflict.

Eugeniy Onegin – Alexander Pushkin
This is the most well-known piece of Russia’s famous poet. He skillfully shows the life of St. Petersburg’s nobility two centuries ago and foretells his own death. Pushkin developed so many rhyming techniques that he is considered the father of modern Russian poetic rules.

Doctor Zhivago – Boris Pasternak
Boris Pasternak won a noble prize in literature for this piece, but was banned from receiving it by the Soviets. The movie based on this novel is fantastic, but nothing compares to the original.

Heart of a Dog – Michail Bulgakov
A master of allegories, Bulgakov argues that you cannot put a dog in a human body and hope that it becomes human. This book was also banned in the Soviet Union.

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