Polzunkov (1848) by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

This story felt almost like a proto-”The Idiot” at times, examining a character perhaps too good-natured and honourable to do well in modern (at the time) society. Unfortunately, unlike “The Idiot”, I didn’t find “Polzunkov” to be a particularly impressive or moving work.

As a small character study, or just an April Fools’ Day tale, it works well enough, but it’s just so slight and unassuming that it failed to make much of a landing for me. The story itself is too much like the protagonist in that regard!

Is the story meant to be amusing, tragic, or didactic? I can’t really tell. If the latter, I’m very glad Dostoyevsky strayed away from such clunky didacticism as he matured as a writer.

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I give the story two roubles, and an April Fools’ Day prank.

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