In the house of an intelligent Narodnik Ivan Akimovich Samgin, a son was born, to whom his father decided to give an “unusual” peasant name to Klim. It immediately singled out the boy among the other children of his circle: the daughter of Dr. Somov Lyuba; the children of the lodger Varavka Varvara, Lydia and Boris; Igor Turoboev (together with Boris studying in the Moscow military school); Ivan Dronov (an orphan, an attendant in the house of the Samghins); Konstantin Makarov and Alina Telepneva (comrades in the gymnasium). Between them are complex relationships, in part because Clim is trying to excel, which is not always possible. The first teacher is Tomilin. Rivalry with Boris. Unexpected death of Boris and Varvara, who fell through the ice during skating. A voice from the
Study in the gymnasium. Erotic anguish of Samghin. Svejka Rita was secretly bribed by Clim’s mother for the “safe” sex life of the young man. She is in love with Dronov; Samghin learns about this and the act of the mother and is disappointed in women. Makarov’s love for Lydia; an unsuccessful suicide attempt. Clim saves him, but then regrets it, because he secretly sympathizes with Lidia and feels that he looks pale against the background of his friend.
Petersburg, the students. Samghin’s new circle of contacts, where he again tries to occupy a special place, exposing “all to himself” all and all to critical analysis and receiving the nickname “clever”. Dmitry’s elder brother (a student who joined the revolutionary struggle), Marina Premirova, Serafima Nekhaeva (in love with everything “decadent”), Kutuzov (active revolutionary, future Bolshevik, reminiscent of Lenin), Elizaveta Spivak with a sick husband-musician, Vladimir Liutov (a student from a merchant family) and others. Liutov’s love for Alina Telepneva, who grew up into a beautiful and whimsical woman. Her consent to be the wife of Liutov and the subsequent refusal, for she falls in love with Turoboev (the subject of a kind of rivalry between the “poor aristocrat” Turoboev and the “rich peasant” Liutov).
Life at the dacha. The symbolic scene of catfish catching a pot of hot porridge (catfish will swallow a pot, it will burst, the catfish will come up) is a muzhik’s gibberish, which nevertheless admires Liutov as an exponent of the mysterious talent of the Russian people. Disputes about the Slavophiles and Westerners, Russia and the West. Lyutov is a Russian anarchist. Clim tries to take a special position, but as a result does not take any. His unsuccessful attempt to explain himself in Lydia’s love. Renouncement. Raising the bells to the village church. The death of a young peasant (the rope swept over his throat). The second “key” phrase of the story, uttered by a village girl: “Why are you mischievous?” – as if addressed to “gentlemen” in general. Without knowing the people, they are trying to decide his fate.
Moscow. The new people Samghin is trying to understand: Semion Diomidov, Varvara Antipova, Peter Marakuev, Uncle Chrysanth is the circle of the Moscow intelligentsia, which differs from the Petersburg underlined “Russianness.” A booze in Lyutov’s apartment. Deacon-rasstraga Yegor Ipatievsky reads his own poems about Christ, Vaska and “indivisible ruble”. The bottom line is that a Russian person serves Christ with hatred. Liutov’s cry: “Brilliant!” Samghin again does not find a place in this environment. The arrival of young Nicholas I and the tragedy on the Khodynka Field, where hundreds of people were crushed during the coronation holiday. Samghin’s glance at the crowd, which resembles “caviar.” The insignificance of personal will in the era of a surge of mass psychosis.
The final break of Samghin with Lydia; her departure to Paris. Clim goes to the Nizhny Novgorod industrial exhibition and gets acquainted with the provincial journalistic environment. Inokov is a bright newsman and a kind of poet (a probable prototype is Gorky himself). Arrival in Nizhny Tsar, similar to “Balzaminov, dressed as an officer…”.
Samghin and the newspaper. Dronov, Inokov, Spivak’s wife. Meeting with Tomilnym, preaching that “the path to true faith lies through the wilderness of unbelief” (Nietzschean thought, close to Samghin). Provincial historian Kozlov – guardian and monarchist, who denies the revolution, including the revolution of the spirit. Meeting with Kutuzov, “outrageously self-assured” and therefore similar to his antipode – Kozlov. Kutuzov on “revolutionaries from boredom”, to which the entire intelligentsia relates. The fall of the constructed barracks as a symbol of the “rotten” order. A parallel scene of the feast of the “fathers of the city” in a restaurant. Search in Samghin’s apartment. Conversation with the gendarme captain Popov, who for the first time gives Samghin to understand that he will never become a revolutionary.
Moscow. Preuss and Tagilsky – the top of the liberal intelligentsia (possible prototypes – “Vekhi”). Kutuzov’s arrival (each appearance reminds Samgin that a genuine revolution is being prepared somewhere aside, and he and his entourage do not take part in it). Arguments of Makarov on the philosophy of NF Fedorov and the role of women in history.
The death of Samgin’s father in Vyborg. Meeting with my brother. The arrest of Samghin and Somova. Interrogation in the police and an offer to become an informant. Samgin’s refusal; strange uncertainty that he did the right thing. Love affair with Varvara Antipova; abortion.
The words of the old servant Anfimievna (expressing the popular opinion) about the young: “The foreign god is children.” Samgin’s trip to Astrakhan and Georgia).
Moscow, student unrest near the Manezh. Samghin in the crowd and his fear of her. Mitrofanov, a police agent, is helping out. Trip to the village; scene of peasant robbery. Samghin’s fear of the peasants. New unrest in Moscow. Love affair with Nikonova (will be a police informant). A trip to Staraya Russa; A look at the king through the lowered curtains of the car.
January 9, 1905 in St. Petersburg. Scenes of Bloody Sunday. Gapon and the conclusion about it: “vile pop”. Samghin in prison on suspicion of revolutionary activity. The funeral of Bauman and the outbursts of the “Black-Hundred” psychology.
Moscow, Revolution of 1905 Somova is trying to organize sanitary points to help the wounded. Thoughts of Samghin about the revolution and Kutuzov: “And right, let the passions flare up, let everything fly to hell, all these houses, flats stuffed with carers about the people, nacchechikami, critics, analysts…” Nevertheless, he realizes that such a revolution will also cancel him, Samghin. Death of Turoboev. Makarov’s thoughts about the Bolsheviks: “Now, Samghin, my question is: I do not want civil war, but I helped and, I think, I will help people who start it.” Then I have something… not right “- recognition of the spiritual crisis of the intelligentsia. Funeral of Turoboev. A crowd of Black Hundreds and a thief Sasha Sudakov, who helps Samghin, Alina Telepnev, Makarov and Liutov.
Barricades. Samghin and the fighting detachments. Comrade Yakov – the leader of the revolutionary crowd. Execution in front of Samghin Detective Mitrofanov. The death of Anfimovna. Samghin understands that events develop beyond his will, and he is their unwitting hostage.
A trip to Rusgorod at the request of Kutuzov for money for the Bolsheviks. Talking on the train with a drunken lieutenant who tells how terrible it is to shoot people on orders. Acquaintance with Marina Zotova – a rich woman with a “people’s” way of thinking. Her reasoning is that the intelligentsia never knew the people, that the roots of the people’s faith go into schism and heretics, and this is a hidden, but true driving force of the revolution. The nightmare of “duplicity”, haunting Samghin and expressing the beginning of the disintegration of his personality. Murder of the governor in front of Samgin. Meeting with Lydia, who came from abroad, Samghin’s final disappointment in her. Philosophy of Valentin Bezbedov, Marina’s acquaintance, who denies any meaning in history. The motto “I do not want” is the third “key” motive of the story, expressing Samghin’s rejection of the entire universe, in which he seems to have no place. Marina and the elder Zachary are a type of “people’s” religious figure. Religious “zeal” at Marina, which peeps Samghin and who finally convince him of their isolation from the people’s element.
Departure abroad. Berlin, boredom. Bosch’s paintings in the gallery, which unexpectedly coincide with Samgin’s world outlook (the fragmentation of the universe, the absence of a clear image of man). Meeting with mother in Switzerland; mutual misunderstanding. Samghin remains in complete solitude. Suicide of Liutov in Geneva; the words of Alina Telepneva: “Volodya ran away…”
Paris. Meeting with Marina Zotova. Popov and Berdnikov, who are trying to bribe Samghin, that he was their secret agent under Zotova and reported on her possible deal with the British. Sharp refusal of Samghin.
Return to Russia. The murder of Marina Zotova. Mysterious circumstances associated with it. Suspicion falls on Bezbedova, who denies everything and strangely dies in prison before the trial begins.
Moscow. Death of Barbara. Kutuzov’s words about Lenin as the only true revolutionary who sees through the future. Samgin and Dronov. An attempt to organize a new newspaper of a liberal-independent kind. Conversations around the collection “Milestones”; Samghin’s thoughts: “Of course, this brave book will cause noise.” The bell strikes in the middle of the night, the socialists will vehemently protest, and not only socialists. “Whistling and ringing from all sides.” A dozen more bubbles on the surface of life. ” The death of Tolstoy. The words of Agafia’s maid: “Lev Nikolaich died… Do you hear how all the doors in the house are slamming?” It was as though people were afraid. “
Samgin’s thoughts about Faust and Don Quixote as a continuation of the thoughts of Ivan Turgenev in the essay “Hamlet and Don Quixote.” Samghin puts forward the principle of not active idealism, but rational activity.
The beginning of the world war as a symbol of the collapse of the collective mind. Samghin’s trip to the front in Borovichi. Acquaintance with Lieutenant Petrov, which symbolizes the disintegration of combat officers. The ridiculous murder of Taghilsky by an angry officer. Nightmares of war.
Return from the front. Evening with Leonid Andreev. His words: “People will feel like brothers only when they understand the tragedy of their being in space, they will feel the horror of their loneliness in the universe, the iron cells of irresolvable secrets of life, the life from which one will exit, into death, come into contact” A feature under Samghin’s spiritual quest.
The February Revolution of 1917 Rodzianko and Kerensky. Unfinished final. Unclear Samghin’s future fate…