R. Hingley, Writers and Society in Nineteenth-Century Russia - A classic book covering the little-known connections between Russian society and its literary figures.

hingley Russian History and Culture and Dostoevsky

R. Hingley, Writers and Society in Nineteenth-Century Russia, Summary and Impressions - A masterful book covering the unknown connections between Russian society and its literary figures.

Today I would like to introduce a book titled "Writers and Society in 19th Century Russia" written by R. Hingley and translated by Kaori Kawabata.

The book explains the connection between 19th century Russian society and its culture and its writers.

Nineteenth-century Russia is often mentioned in literary treatises and philosophy lectures, but its social conditions and cultural aspects are not often discussed. In that sense, this book provides a very interesting perspective.

The author, R. Hingley, is a historian born in Scotland in 1920. He studied Russian at Oxford University and was a lecturer there.

Under the Soviet regime, Soviet researchers were subject to strict censorship and could only publish research that was in line with Soviet ideology, whereas Hingley, who was conducting research in England, was able to do so without such restrictions.

This book, "Writers and Society in Nineteenth-Century Russia," is a study of nineteenth-century Russia from such a perspective.

The translator, Kaori Kawabata, says the following about the book in the translator's afterword

Originally written as part of a university series, this book is intended to provide knowledge of the social and historical background of Russian literature. Beginning with the lives of the writers, the book provides an overview of geography, ethnicity, economics, politics, social status, class, and dissident movements, and through quotations from literary works, gives the reader the knowledge he or she may need to understand Russian writers, their works, and the mood of the times in many areas. In this respect, the author's British-style calm and objective attitude, which seeks to describe and revive the atmosphere of the past rather than to judge and judge it, is invaluable. Starting from a macroscopic arrangement of literary facts, the author's explanation of the connection between political history and literary history is clear and uncluttered.

 In Japan, although there seems to be a great need for a social and ideological understanding of Russian literature in particular, in reality there are no books of this kind, perhaps because of the calls for it (or perhaps because it is considered a self-evident truth, which makes people uninformed), and even among the numerous lovers of Russian literature, there are many who simply use words like "Russian" or "Slavic soul" or "Narodniki" or some other ambiguous term that makes them feel like they know something, Even among the numerous lovers of Russian literature, many of them may have felt as if they understood something simply by using vague, atmospheric terms such as "Russianness," "Slavic soul," or "Narodniki," etc. Russia is not a country to be measured by ordinary scales. In his poems, Chutchev says that Russia cannot be measured or understood on any ordinary scale, but can only be believed. (But it is impossible to ask foreign readers to feel and sense Russia with their bare hands.)

 In seeking knowledge of such life and customs, history textbooks and overviews are too brief, and readers are forced to turn to past works and travelogues such as Nikolai Turgenev's classic "Russia and the Russians," Jules Legras' "Traditional Russian Ethnicity," Alexandre Dumas Pere's "Russian Travels," and Brandes' "Impressions of Russia. Impressions" by Brandes, this book is the kind of book that readers of Russian literature have been hoping for most.

R. Hingley, translated by Kaori Kawabata, Writers and Society in 19th Century Russia, p. 306-307

As the translator, Kaori Kawabata, states, this book explains all aspects of Russian society, which is the background of Russian literature.

The pictures and drawings are also included in the book, making it very easy to visualize and understand.

In this book by Hingley, I was particularly impressed by his description of the characteristics of Russian literary figures.

They thought seriously about man and man's destiny in a new and very Russian way. Some writers had firm views and tried to communicate them clearly, others did not hold so clear a doctrine, but at least they had the intention of revealing the mysteries of Russian life and human existence, even if they could not solve them themselves. It is certainly this seriousness that is one of the reasons why Russian nineteenth-century literature has captured the imagination of people all over the world - especially since it sometimes combines seriousness with a peculiarly Russian humor, as in the case of writers such as Gogol, Dostoevsky, and Chekhov. But humor or no humor, Russian realist writers always saw themselves as more than merely entertaining.

R. Hingley, translated by Kaori Kawabata, Writers and Society in 19th Century Russia, p. 33

Why does Dostoevsky and other Russian literature strike us so?

It was in their seriousness about life.

This is how Hingley puts it.

I see. It is true that they are very serious about life. No, because they are too serious, their works have a weight and complexity that can be called overwhelming. It is understandable that it is this seriousness that makes us feel exhausted when we read Dostoevsky's works.

Reading Dostoevsky is somehow exhausting. I think this is what many people feel. But it is natural to feel tired, and there is nothing wrong with that.

If you want to think seriously about your life, that's exhausting.

It is not a bad thing to be tired from reading Dostoevsky. No, in fact, it is fine to be very tired!

It is refreshing to think that way, isn't it? That is how I felt when I read Mr. Hingley's words above.

The book is very interesting not only for its literature, but also for its insight into the various worlds of 19th century Russian society.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Russian literature.

The above is "R. Hingley, "Writers and Society in Nineteenth-Century Russia," a classic book covering the unknown connections between Russian society and its literary figures.

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