SANIN by Mikhail Artsybashev


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The first English translation in nearly 70 years of a once-notorious 1907 novel notable mainly for its eponymous "outsider" and amoralist—a figure perhaps inspired by similar (if less overtly satanic) characters in the fiction of Lermontov, Turgenev, and Dostoevsky. Sanin's louche, sour egotism and misanthropy ("Mankind's a sordid thing") do not avoid monotony, but secondary characters (including the somewhat fussy narrator) are vividly imagined, and there's little doubt that Artsybashev's defiant iconoclasm, even at its most exhaustingly discursive, has genuine literary as well as historical importance. A significant work, for all its flaws, and a more rewarding reading experience than one might initially expect.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-8014-3571-4
Page count: 268pp
Publisher: Cornell Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2001