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In a dilapidated and isolated old house, something peculiar seems to happen whenever the town’s bestial exterminator visits. On a seemingly bucolic country estate, the head of the household is a living corpse obsessed with other corpses. An adolescent boy who passes his days in private dream worlds experiences a sexual awakening spurred by his family’s scandalous tenant. In these and other stories, the modernist writer Alexei Remizov offers a panorama of Russian mythology, the supernatural, rural grotesques, and profound religious faith in fiery revolutionary settings.
Alexei Remizov was one of the greatest writers of the Russian symbolist movement of the early twentieth century. In the thirteen stories collected in this volume, Remizov’s exceptional stylistic achievements are on full display. Equally drawing on rural colloquial speech, the language of Russian fairy tales, and the customs of the Old Believers and Russian Orthodoxy, they transport the reader into a mysterious world in between uncanny folktales and encroaching modernity. The Little Devil and Other Stories includes works from across Remizov’s career encompassing his thematic preoccupations and stylistic experimentation. Antonina W. Bouis’s translation captures Remizov’s many registers to offer English-language readers a sampling of a remarkable Russian writer.
"Antonina W. Bouis gives a generous selection of the shorter prose of Alexei Remizov, a leading exponent of modernist fiction in Russia, whose work has remained largely inaccessible to Anglophone readers. The stories chosen span the more than five decades of his creative career and distill the leading themes of his work—evocation of the Russian city- and landscape, its people’s Christian and pre-Christian beliefs—all rendered with Gogolian verbal humor and Dostoevskian compassion for the insulted and the injured. "
—Roger Keys, University of St. Andrews