About the work
In 1870, after a series of publications of separate chapters, Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin’s The History of a City appeared. This event received a wide public response – the writer was accused of ridiculing the Russian people and denigrating the facts of Russian history. The genre of the work is a satirical story, exposing manners, the relationship of power and the people in an autocratic society.
The story “The history of one city” is saturated with such techniques as irony, grotesque, Aesopian language, allegory. All this allows the author, in separate episodes, bringing to absurdity the described, brightly depict the absolute resignation of the people to any arbitrariness of power. The defects of the modern author of the society have
The main characters of the story are the mayors, each of whom managed to remember something in the history of the town of Glupov. Since the portraits of mayors describe a lot of the story, it is worthwhile to dwell on the most significant characters.
Brudasty – shocked the inhabitants with their categorical, their exclamations on any occasion “I’ll Destroy!” and “I will not tolerate!”.
Dvokurov with its “great” reforms regarding laurel leaves and mustard, seems quite harmless against the backdrop of the subsequent mayors.
Wartkin – fought with his own people “for enlightenment.”
Ferdyshchenko – his greed and lust almost ruined the townspeople.
Pimple – to a ruler like him, the people were not ready – people were too happy to live with him, not interfering in any business.
Ugryum-Burcheev – with all his idiocy, he managed not only to become the mayor, but also to destroy the whole city, trying to implement his delusional idea.
If the main characters are city governors, secondary people are the people with whom they interact. A simple people is shown as a collective image. The author as a whole depicts him as obedient to his ruler, ready to tolerate all oppression and various oddities of his power. Showed by the author as a faceless mass, which rebels only when there is a general death of people from hunger or fires.
From the publisher
“The history of one city” tells about the city of Foolov, its history. Chapter “From the publisher” by the author’s voice assures the reader that the “Chronicler” is authentic. He invites the reader “to catch the city’s physiognomy and to keep track of how its history reflected a variety of changes taking place simultaneously in the higher spheres.” The author emphasizes that the plot of the narrative is monotonous, “almost exclusively exhausted by the biographies of mayors.”
Appeal to the reader from the last chronicler archivist
In this chapter, the author sets himself the task of transmitting “a touching correspondence” between the city authorities, “moderately daring” people, “moderately thankful”. The archivist tells that he will present the history of the government in the city of Foolov, the town governors, one by one, succeeding in the higher office. The storytellers, four local chroniclers, set forth alternately “genuine” events taking place in the city from 1731 to 1825.
About the origin of the Foolovites
This chapter tells about prehistoric time, about how the ancient tribe of the holocausts triumphed over the neighboring tribes of Lucaids, Gushcheeds, Sea Eaters, Frogs, Bullfinches, and so on. After the victory, the bunglers began to think about how to put things in order in their new society, because things were not going well with them: then they “kneaded the Volga with it,” then “the calf was dragged to the bath.” They decided that they needed a ruler. To this end, the holocausts went to look for the prince who would rule them. However, all the princes, to whom they addressed this request, refused, since no one wanted to control stupid people. The princes, having “taught” with a rod, were allowed to shoot with the world and with “honor.” Desperate, they turned to the novice thief, who managed to help find the prince. The prince agreed to rule them,
Golovotyapov renamed the “Foolovites”, and the city accordingly, became known as “Glupov”.
It was quite easy to manage the Foolovites to the novator – this people was distinguished by obedience and unquestioning execution of the orders of the authorities. However, their ruler was not happy, the Novitor wanted riots, which could be pacified. The final of his reign was very sad: the thief-novator was caught up to the point where the prince could not stand it and sent him a noose. But the novtor managed and out of this situation to wriggle out – without waiting for the loop, he “killed a cucumber”.
Then, in Dzhugov began to appear alternately, other rulers, who sent the prince. All of them – odoevets, orlovets, Kalyazinets – turned out to be unscrupulous thieves even worse than the innovator. The prince was tired of such events, personally appeared in the city with a cry: “I’ll lock up!”. With this cry the countdown of “historical time” began.
Inventory to the town governors, at different times to the city of Glupov from the higher authorities delivered
In this chapter, the town governors of Glupov are listed by name, and their “achievements” are briefly mentioned. It is said about twenty-two rulers. So, for example, one of the governors in the document reads: “22) Intercept-Zalikhvatsky, Archistrategist Stratilatovich, Major: I’ll keep silence about that.” He drove to Glupov on a white horse, burned the gymnasium and abolished science. “
1762 was marked by the beginning of the reign of mayor Dementy Varlamovich Brudastoy. The Foolovites were surprised that their new ruler was sullen and did not say anything, except for two phrases: “I will not tolerate!” and “Razor!”. They did not know what to think, until the mystery of Brudasty was revealed: his head was completely empty. The writer accidentally saw a terrible thing: the turban of the mayor was sitting at the table as usual, but his head was lying on the table separately. And there was nothing in it at all. The townspeople did not know what to do now. They remembered Baibakov, the master of watch and organ affairs, who had recently come to Brudastom. After asking Baibakov, the Foolovites found out that the head of the town governor was equipped with a musical organ that performed only two pieces: “I will not tolerate!” and “Razor!”. The organ has failed, dampened on the road. The master could not repair it himself, so he ordered a new head in St. Petersburg, but the order was delayed.
There came anarchy, the finale of which was the unexpected phenomenon of simultaneous two absolutely identical rulers-impostors. They saw each other, “measured each other’s eyes,” and the people watching this scene slowly slowly dispersed. Arrived from the province the messenger took with him both “city governors”, and in Foolov anarchy began, which lasted a whole week.
The legend of the six city governors
This time was very eventful in the sphere of city planning – the city survived as many as six city governors. Residents observed the struggle of Iraida Lukinichna Paleologova, Clementins de Bourbon, Amalia Karlovna Stockfish. The first assured me that she deserves to be a town governor because her husband was engaged in town planning for a while, the second one was occupied by his father, the third one was once a gradonalnichnaya pompadours. In addition to those named, Nelka Lyadokhovskaya, Dunka-Tolstopjataya and Matrenka-nostril also claimed power. The grounds for the latter to claim the role of town governors were not at all. In the city, serious battles broke out. Foolovites stoked and dumped their fellow citizens from the bell tower. The city was tired of anarchy. And then finally there was a new mayor – Semen Konstantinovich Dvokurov.
News of Dvoikurov
The newly-appointed ruler of the Dvokurov ruled by Glupov for eight years. He is noted as a man of progressive views. Dvokurov developed activities that became beneficial for the city. When he began to engage in honey – and brewing, ordered to eat mustard and laurel. His intention was to establish an academy in the city of Foolov.
The Hungry City
Pyotr Petrovich Ferdyshchenko replaced Peter Dvokurov. The city lived for six years in prosperity and prosperity. But in the seventh year the city governor fell in love with Alena Osipova, the wife of coachman Mitka. However, Alenka did not share feelings of Peter Petrovich. Ferdyshchenko took all sorts of actions to get Alenka to love him, even sent Mitka to Siberia. Alenka became supportive of the courtship of the mayor.
In Dzhupov, a drought began, and after it hunger and human death began. Foolovites lost patience and sent a messenger to Ferdyshchenko, but the walker did not return. The application also did not find an answer. Then the residents rebelled and threw Alenka from the bell tower. A company of soldiers came to the city to suppress the rebellion.
The Straw Town
The next love interest of Petr Petrovich was the archer Domashka, whom he recaptured from the “opstvo”. Together with new love, fires caused by drought came to the city. Burned Pushkarskaya Sloboda, then the Swamp and the Wretch. Foolovites accused Ferdyshchenko of a new scourge.
New foolishness Ferdyshchenko hardly brought on a new misfortune on the townspeople: he went on a tour of the urban pasture, forcing the inhabitants to present themselves with edible provisions. The journey ended three days later with the death of Ferdyshchenko from gluttony. The Foolovites were frightened that they would be accused of the intended “brigadier’s care”. However, a week later, the fears of the townspeople were dispersed – a new governor came from the province. The decisive and active Wartkin marked the beginning of the “golden age of Foolov”. People began to live in full abundance.
Wars of Enlightenment
Basilisk Semyonovich Borodavkin, the new mayor of Glupov, studied the history of the city, and decided that the only previous ruler, who should be equaled – Dvokurov, and struck him not even that his predecessor paved the streets of the city and collected arrears, but the fact that he sowed mustard. Unfortunately, people have already forgotten it and even stopped sowing this culture. Wartkin decided to recall the old times, to resume the planting of mustard and its consumption in food. But the inhabitants persistently did not want to return to the past. The Foolovites rebelled on their knees. They were afraid that in the event that they obeyed Borodavkin, in the future he would force them to “still have an abomination”. The mayor undertook a military campaign against Streletskaya Sloboda, “the source of all evil”, in order to suppress the riot. The trip lasted nine days and it was difficult to name it quite successful. In absolute darkness they fought their own. The mayor underwent the betrayal of his supporters: one morning he found that more soldiers were fired, they were replaced by tin soldiers, citing a certain resolution. However, the governor managed to survive by setting up a reserve of tin soldiers. He reached the settlement, but found no one there. Wartkin began to dismantle houses on logs, which forced the settlement to surrender.
The future brought three more wars, which were also fought for “enlightenment.” The first of three subsequent wars was conducted to explain to residents of the city the benefits of stone foundations of houses, the second – due to the refusal of residents to grow Persian daisies, and the third – against the establishment of an academy in the city.
The result of the board of Borodavkin was the impoverishment of the city. The mayor did not become at a time when he once again decided to burn the city.
Age of dismissal from wars
In shortening, the following events look like this: finally the city was depleted with the next ruler Captain Scoundrel, who changed Borodavkin. Scoundrels very soon fired for disagreeing with the imposition of the constitution. However, the chronicler considered this reason formal. The real reason was the fact that the mayor once served as a stoker, which to some extent was regarded as belonging to the democratic principle. And the wars for enlightenment and against it were not needed for the exhausted battles of the city. After the dismissal of the Scoundrel the “Circassian” Mikeladze took the reins in his own hands. However, his reign did not affect the situation in the city: Glupov did not do anything at all, because all his thoughts were connected exclusively with the fair sex.
Benevolensky Theophylact Iryararchovich became the successor of Mikeladze. Another for the seminary of the new governor was Speransky, and from him, evidently, Benevolensky was transferred to the love of legislation. He wrote the following laws: “Everyone has a broken heart,” “Every soul let it tremble,” and “Let every cricket know what corresponds to the title of its poles.” However, Benevolensky had no right to write the laws, he had to publish them secretly, and at night to scatter his works around the city. It did not last long – he was suspected of having links with Napoleon and was fired.
Lieutenant Colonel Pimple was next appointed. It was surprising that when the city lived in abundance, the crops were collected huge, despite the fact that the mayor did not do his direct duties at all. The townspeople again suspected something. And they were right in their suspicions: the leader of the nobility noticed that the head of the governor emits a smell of truffles. He attacked Pimple and ate the stuffed head of the ruler.
Worship of Mammon and Repentance
In Glupov appeared the successor of the eaten Pimple – State Councilor Ivanov. However, he soon died, because “was so small that he could not hold anything extensive.”
He was succeeded by the Viscount de Chariot. This ruler did not know how to do anything, except to have fun all the time, to arrange masquerades. He “did not manage affairs and did not interfere with the administration, this last circumstance promised to prolong the prosperity of the Foolovites without end…” But the emigrant who allowed the inhabitants to turn to paganism was ordered to be sent abroad. It is interesting that he turned out to be a special female.
The State Councilor Erast Andreevich Grustilov appeared next in Glupov. By the time of his appearance, the inhabitants of the city had already become absolute idolaters. They forgot God, immersed in debauchery and laziness. They stopped working, sowing the fields, hoping for some kind of happiness, and as a result – hunger came to the city. Grustilov was concerned with this situation very little, since he was busy with balls. However, soon there were changes. The wife of the druggist Pfeiffer influenced Grustilov, indicating the true path of good. And the main people in the city were miserable and holy fools who, in the era of idolatry, found themselves on the sidelines of life.
Residents of Foolov repented of their sins, but this matter ended – the Foolovites did not begin to work. At nights the city beau monde was going to read the works of Mr. Strakhov. This soon became known to the higher authorities and Grustilov had to say goodbye to the post of governor.
Confirmation of repentance. Conclusion
The last governor of Glupov was Ugryum-Burcheev. This man was a complete idiot – “the purest type of idiot,” as the author writes. For himself, he set a single goal: to make the city of Neppreklons from the city of Glupov, “forever worthy of the memory of Grand Duke Svyatoslav Igorevich.” Nepreklonsk should look like this: city streets must be single-direct, houses and buildings are also identical to each other, people too. Each house should become a “settled unit”, for which it will be watched by Ugryum-Burcheeva, a spy. The townspeople called him “Satan” and felt a vague fear towards his ruler. As it turned out, it was not without reason: the mayor developed a detailed plan and began to implement it. He destroyed the city, leaving no stone unturned. Now the task was to build the city of his dreams. But the river violated these plans, it interfered. Ugryum-Burcheyev started a real war with her, used all the garbage that remained as a result of the destruction of the city. However, the river did not give up, eroding all the dams and dams erected. Ugryum-Burcheev turned around and, leading the people behind him, left the river away. He chose a new place for the construction of the city – a flat lowland, and began to build the city of his dreams. However, something went wrong. Unfortunately, what exactly prevented the construction, it was not possible to find out, since records with details of this history were not preserved. Known was the denouement: “… time stopped its run, at last the earth shook, the sun faded… the Foolovites fell prostrate.” The inscrutable horror came out on all faces, enveloped all hearts… It came… “. What exactly has come, the reader remains unknown. However, the fate of Ugryum-Burcheev is as follows: “The scoundrel disappeared instantly, as if dissolved in the air.” History has ceased its course. “
In the final of the narrative, “Justification documents” are published, which are works by Borodavkin, Mikeladze and Benevolensky, written for edification to other mayors.
A brief retelling of the “History of one city” clearly demonstrates not only the satirical direction of the story, but also points ambiguously to historical parallels. Images of mayors are written off from historical personalities, many events also refer to palace coups. The full version of the story, of course, will give an opportunity to get acquainted with the content of the work.