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How the Two Ivans Quarrelled: And Other Russian Comic Stories
Synopses & Reviews
Too short to be a novel, too long to be a short story, the novella is generally unrecognized by academics and publishers. Nonetheless, it is a form beloved and practiced by literature's greatest writers. In The ART OF THE NOVELLA series, Melville House celebrates this renegade art form and its practitioners with titles that are, in many instances, presented in book form for the first time.
This lesser-known work is perhaps the perfect distillation of Nikolai Gogol's genius: a tale simultaneously animated by a joyful, nearly slapstick sense of humor alongside a resigned cynicism about the human condition.
In a sharp-edged translation from John Cournos, an under-appreciated early translator of Russian literature into English, How The Two Ivans Quarreled is the story of two long-time friends who have a falling out when one of them calls the other a goose. From there, the argument intensifies and the escalation becomes more and more ludicrous. Never losing its generous antic spirit, the story nonetheless transitions from whither a friendship, to whither humanity, as it progresses relentlessly to its moving conclusion.
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