Synopses & Reviews
The centerpiece of this collection , "The Eternal Husband" (1890) is one of Dostoevsky's most perfect works. Classical in form, it presents his most profound exploration of mimetic rivalry and the duality of human consciousness. Told from the point of view of a rich and idle man who is confronted by a younger rival, the husband of his former, and now deceased, mistress, the story portrays the interchanging hatred and love of the two men.
Along with "The Eternal Husband" is "A Nasty Anecdote" (1862), a satire on the "reform period of Russia," which portrays a high-ranking official who is convinced that "humaneness" will unite all people in a regenerated society. The other three stories, "Bobok" (1873), "The Meek One" (1876) and "The Dream of A Ridiculous Man" (1877), are taken from The Diary of a Writer, which Dostoevsky published between the completion of Demons and The Brothers Karamazov. Together they represent the culmination and final synthesis of Dostoevsky's philosophical ideas.
Appearing in a single collection for the first time in mass-market paperback, these five stories have been newly translated by today's foremost translatorsof Dostoevsky: Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.
The Eternal Husband and Other Stories
brings together five of Dostoevskys short masterpieces rendered into English by two of the most celebrated Dostoevsky translators of our time. Filled with many of the themes and concerns central to his great novels, these short works display the full range of Dostoevskys genius. The centerpiece of this collection, the short novel The Eternal Husband,
describes the almost surreal meeting of a cuckolded widower and his dead wifes lover. Dostoevskys dark brilliance and satiric vision infuse the other four tales with all-too-human characters, including a government official who shows up uninvited at an underlings wedding to prove his humanity; a self-deceiving narrator who struggles futilely to understand his wifes suicide; and a hack writer who attends a funeral and ends up talking with the dead.
The Eternal Husband and Other Stories is sterling Dostoevsky—a collection of emotional power and uncompromising insight into the human condition.
About the Author
Fyodor Mikailovich Dostoevskys life was as dark and dramatic as the great novels he wrote. He was born in Moscow in 1821,hroat until he strangled. A short first novel, Poor Folk
(1846) brought him instant success, but his writing career was cut short by his arrest for alleged subversion against Tsar Nicholas I in 1849. In prison he was given the “silent treatment” for eight months (guards even wore velvet soled boots) before he was led in front a firing squad. Dressed in a death shroud, he faced an open grave and awaited execution, when suddenly, an order arrived commuting his sentence. He then spent four years at hard labor in a Siberian prison, where he began to suffer from epilepsy, and he returned to St. Petersburg only a full ten years after he had left in chains.
His prison experiences coupled with his conversion to a profoundly religious philosophy formed the basis for his great novels. But it was his fortuitous marriage to Anna Snitkina, following a period of utter destitution brought about by his compulsive gambling, that gave Dostoevsky the emotional stability to complete Crime and Punishment (1866), The Idiot (1868-69), The Possessed (1871-72), and The Brothers Karamazov (1879-80). When Dostoevsky died in 1881, he left a legacy of masterworks that influenced the great thinkers and writers of the Western world and immortalized him as a giant among writers of world literature.