Sanin: A Novel Mikhail Petrovich Artsybashev

ISBN: 9780801485596

Published: February 8th 2001


280 pages


Sanin: A Novel  by  Mikhail Petrovich Artsybashev

Sanin: A Novel by Mikhail Petrovich Artsybashev
February 8th 2001 | Paperback | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, talking book, mp3, ZIP | 280 pages | ISBN: 9780801485596 | 6.54 Mb

It evoked almost unprecedented discussions, like those at the time of Turgenevs Fathers and Sons. Some praised the novel far more than it deserved, others complained bitterly that it was a defamation of youth. I may, however, without exaggeration assert that no one in Russia took the trouble to fathom the ideas of the novel. The eulogies and condemnations are equally one-sided. Thus did Mikhail Artsybashev (1878 1927), whose novels and short stories are suffused with themes of sex, suicide, and murder, describe the reaction to publication in 1907 of Sanin, his second novel.

The work provoked heated debates among the Russian reading public, and the journal in which it was published serially was soon closed down by the authorities.The hero of Artsybashevs novel exhibits a set of new values to be contrasted with the morality of the older Russian intelligentsia. Sanin is an attractive, clever, powerful, life-loving man who is, at the same time, an amoral and carnal animal, bored both by politics and by religion. During the novel he lusts after his own sister, but defends her when she is betrayed by an arrogant officer- he deflowers an innocent-but-willing virgin- and encourages a Jewish friend to end his self-doubts by committing suicide.

Sanins extreme individualism greatly appealed to young people in Russia during the twilight years of the Romanov regime. Saninism was marked by sensualism, self-gratification, and self-destruction and gained in credibility in an atmosphere of moral and spiritual despondency.Artybashev drew upon a wide range of sources for his inspiration Sanin owes debts to Dostoevskys Notes from Underground, Nietzsches notion of the superman, and the work of the individualist anarchist philosopher Johann Kaspar Schmidt.

Michael R. Katzs translation of this controversial novel is the first into English in almost seventy years.Russian pornography is not plain pornography such as the French and Germans produce, but pornography with ideas. Kornei ChukovskyThose who saw in the much discussed novel only suggestive scenes, shocking their morality or titillating their senses, were mistaken- it was, as usual in Russia, a book with a message, and Sanin slept with all his mistresses to prove a thesis rather than to obey a natural urge.

Marc Slonim

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