Essay about Recurring Themes in 19th Century Russian Literature

3530 Words 15 Pages
Just to the east of riotous, industrialising Western Europe sat Imperial Russia, pendent between tradition and modernity, a vast empire of duality. As if trying to vent her frustrations, 19th century Russia produced a selection of history's finest writers; each writer packing their work with themes of duplicity, hope, and heavy social criticism.

Duality was the cardinal theme for Imperial Russia. 19th century Russia was a peasant-filled, agrarian empire rushed through the gawky adolescence of industrialisation. The serfs were only freed in 1861, and by 1900 around 2.3 million Russians worked inside factories: in a century, Russia had moved from a feudal system of serfdom to the shores of modernity. A theme of duplicity was carried
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Svidrigailov has a "propensity for vulgarity" («...и особенно, если к тому и натурально склонность имеешь...»), a philosophical devotion, all-conquering devotion to rationalism (even when he rapes Dounia, Svidrigailov remains rational and emotionless to the end: «Да и не поверит вам никто...так что, если даже и братом пожертвуете, то и тут ничего не докажете: насилие очень трудно доказать,