“Diary of a Provincial in Petersburg” by Saltykov-Shchedrin in brief

A diary? Well no! Rather, notes, notes, memories – more correctly, physiology. And now the hero is already on the train, rushing him from the Russian province to the Russian capital, the car is full of the same like him, the provincials, and the provincial complains that nowhere else in the province can hide, thinks about what the hell he pulled into Petersburg, because neither concessions for the construction of railways, nor any other pressing business is in his memory.

However, the environment, as you know, sucks: everyone runs around the ministries and departments, and the hero starts running, if not the same, at least to the oyster hall to Eliseev, to this peculiar exchange where Adam’s apple, head, cap and red cockades, some olive personages – either Greeks, or Jews, or Armenians, – anemopodists timofeichi, who run the court and deal with cognac, balyk, vodka. The cycle of bustling business idleness sucks: everyone aspires to the theater to gawk at

the visiting actress Schneider – and ours there too… They cheat and talk, and everything depresses the idea that there is something else that needs to be got, but what is this something – it’s this that the hero can not formulate and can not. Involuntarily he recalls his grandfather Matvey Ivanych, who was living with his life – he smashed up the police, utensils in the taverns, – and did not get into misanthropy. True, the grandson thinks up what he yearns for, because he has no one to ponder anything over, although he does not regret serfdom, but that, despite his abolition, it lives in our hearts.

Prokop’s friend Prokop does not let him relax: he drags the poor man to all circles and societies where projects write. “A people without religion is like a body without a soul. Agriculture is destroyed, the industry breathes a little, it is stagnant in trade, and why are you being tagged with this scathing literature?” Tell me, where are we going? ” – Democratic circles are extremely concerned about the fate of their homeland. As for the shooting, it

is useful to subject them to the following persons: all those who do not agree; all, in their behavior there is a lack of sincerity; all those who are afflicted by the sullen contour of the heart of well-intentioned inhabitants; zuboskalov and newspapers – and only. From routa to routs, from one society of liberally-frightened people to another, until the provincial with Prokop get drunk to hell and spend the night, for the sake of mercy, at the apartment of the assistant to the district warder. No, apparently, without grandfather’s morality there is no way to escape: only one way to protect your life from unpleasant elements, – having cast aside doubts, again start to beat on the teeth. And in a daze the hero thinks: is it possible that even in the newest progressive times a party is coming to replace the destructive-conservative party from the darkness, which is already to be called the most destructive-conservative?

So, having read the projects, mainly the works of Prokop, the provincial falls into the state of some particularly disturbing and visionary dreams. He dreams that he lonely dies in furnished rooms, having earned a million rubles on pay-off. And then the author describes how the soul of the deceased observes the plunder of the acquired. All that he could – from securities to cambric headscarves – was stolen by a bosom friend Prokop. And in the family manor at the village of the Spilled Sister Mashenka and Dashenka, the nieces of Fotochka and Lyolechka, remembering the deceased with a faint voice, they think how to draw pieces of the inheritance from each other.

Years have flown by – and now the aged Prokop lives under the oppression of the blackmailer Gavryushka, the former licensee, who saw a gentleman run into someone else’s hand. A lawyer comes, the case begins, the guard of the law tries to snatch his legitimate from Prokop, and only because of the intractability of both comes to court. Prokop wins his case, since the reason for the Russian assessors is his own yes to lose! this way and the world will soon go! After such a dream, the hero wants only one thing – to flee! Yes, where? From the province to the capital has already fled, not back again to come back…

The provincial rushes to his old friend Menander Perelestnov, who wrote an essay “Homer, Man and Citizen” at the university, translated the page from some textbook and, as a result, became a liberal and publicist in the daily literary and scientific journalistic publication “The oldest All-Russian Penkosnimatelnitsa “. In fact, our hero can not be called alien to literary work: a copy of the youthful narrative “Malanya”, from peasant life, perfectly rewritten and beautifully intertwined, and dodne is kept by the provincial. Friends agreed that it is now easy to breathe, it’s living lightly, and most importantly, Perelestnov promises to introduce a friend into the almost secret “Union of Penalty Makers”. The hero gets acquainted with the Charter of the Union,

“All-Russian Penkosnimatelnoy Tramp”, where, it seems, under different pseudonyms, the same person polemicizes with himself. And so… which of these penkosnimateley is engaged in the genealogy of Churilka; who proves that the plot of “Chizhika-Pyzhik” is borrowed; who actively works to maintain the “abolition”. In a word, the incompetence of the penitentiary in matters of life is beyond doubt; only in literature that is in a state of necrosis, they can give out their children’s babble for answering questions of life and even for somebody to impress. At the same time, literature wearily wanders about the decayed track and incoherently mutters that it falls first by the hand. The writer does not want to write, the reader – it’s disgusting to read. And I’m glad to escape, but nowhere…

However, the most important event for the provincial, after immersing himself in the world of the foamkeepers, was the mystification of the VIII International Statistical Congress, which attracted Atlantic friends, blown foreigners; credulous Russian delegates, including Kirsanov, Bersenev, Rudin, Lavretzky, Volokhov, they are fed-fed, arrange excursions, are going to show Moscow and the Trinity-Sergius Lavra. Meanwhile, at working sessions it becomes clear on which articles and rubrics in Russia it is generally possible to conduct statistical research. Finally, the love of Russians to open up with foreigners, polybearing before Europeans leads to a seemingly inevitable conclusion: the whole congress was a trap to find out the political views and the degree of loyalty of the misters of Russian delegates. They are rewritten and obliged to appear for interrogation in a secret place. Now the brave ones and the fronts are ready to lay each other, and each one exposes himself, if only to show his trustworthiness and otmazatsya from complicity, God knows in what. All ends with the usual swinishness: the defendants are extorted at least some money, promising to immediately stop the case. A sigh of general relief… However, according to numerous blunders and reservations, it is high time to guess that this is a silly, rude rally for profit.

The deformed provincial sits at home and begins to write articles with great anguish; so the free press is enriched with netlenkami on the themes: ospopivivanie; who was Tibulova Delia? hemorrhoids – is it a Russian disease? customs and customs of bats; the ceremonial burial of Grand Duke Truvor – and a long series of others with subtle hints of current modernity. And again, as a delusion, a dreamy dream comes to the provincial about a million, about his own death, about the trial of the provocated Prokop, whose case, according to the cassation ruling, is decided to be disassembled in turn in all cities of the Russian Empire. And again the unhidden soul flies over the crooked land, above all cities, in alphabetical order, watching everywhere the triumph of the post-reform justice and the imposing quirkiness of Prokop, rejoicing at the incessant ringing of bells, to which projects are easily written, and the reformist undertakings happily combine with the smell of the brew and the favorable attitude toward the scam. Sisterhood also hangs in the Spilled young lawyer Alexander Khlestakov, the son of the same Ivan Alexandrovich. He buys the right to the entire inheritance for five thousand in cash. The soul of the provincial is transferred to St. Petersburg. Alexander Ivanovich ponders where to find absolutely reliable false witnesses in order to overwhelm Prokop? False witnesses are found, but only those whom Prokop himself slipped to inflate the new relatives of the provincial. His soul is again transferred to the very end of the XIX century. Prokop is still suing, triumphantly winning in one hundred and twenty-five cities, giving away almost all the stolen million. Meanwhile, progressive changes in the kingdom state are extraordinary: instead of passports, small cards have been introduced; there is no division into military and state ones; curses, which were the beauty of the polemics of the 70’s, are abolished, although the literature is completely free… The hero is awake in… a hospital for the insane. How he got there, he does not remember and does not know. One comfort – there are both lawyers Prokop and Menander. That ends the year spent by the provincial in St. Petersburg.

In the yellow house, at leisure, the hero sums up all that he has seen and heard, and mainly, he decides who are these “new people” whom he knew in the capital. Here it comes to him that “new people” belong to that kind of mammals, who do not have any virtues according to the state. People who think themselves leaders, have no way to influence the general direction of life because they are vicious in a camp of spiritual poverty. From the average person, too, there is nothing to wait for, for he is a representative of a mass that is not sensitive to the public interest, which is ready to give away their birthright for nothing, but for no reason to sacrifice a spoonful of its lentil soup. And the provincial blames himself as a newly-born liberal, that he shouted at the new forms of old ugliness: shcheche! fuck you!

So, one of the results of the provincial diary is the realization of a vital emptiness and the inability to stumble anywhere, somewhere to play an active role. And in vain the provincial intelligentsia brings down to St. Petersburg with a thought: will it not be easier? whether it will be possible to adhere to the edge of some concession, then to sell its constituent right, and there – abroad, to mineral waters…

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

“Diary of a Provincial in Petersburg” by Saltykov-Shchedrin in brief