The Doll ($14.95 paperback original; Dec. 19, 1996; 704 pp.; 1-85866-065-3): Prus's major novel, originally published in 1890 and now available in a revised English translation, offers a richly detailed panoramic portrait of Warsaw under Russian domination in the 1870s, as well as a Balzacian plot that centers in the wealthy businessman Wokulski's unrequited passion for the aristocratic, emotionless Izabela Lecka (the ``doll''--though not the only one--of Prus's cunning title). Wokulski's downward progression is counterpointed memorably against the expressions of optimism and idealism trumpeted by a brilliantly realized host of secondary characters--one of whom, the elderly clerk Rzecki, comes to life on the page with a positively Dickensian vitality. One of the greatest novels of the 19th century. . . .