About the Book

A Russian Schoolboy

A Russian Schoolboy

April 2009
Trade Paperback · 200 Pages
$11.95 U.S. · $13.50 CAN
ISBN 9781589880511
Paul Dry Books


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Eight-year-old Sergei lived an idyllic family life in the country, but in the winter of 1799, a terrible calamity occurred: he was sent to boarding school. This memoir beautifully recounts his life as he grows to early manhood.

Though describing a childhood far away and long ago, Sergei Aksakov—an intimate of Nikolai Gogol’s—makes us see and feel the young boy’s life. The English writer John Bayley describes Aksakov’s writing this way: “One of [his] secrets is that he seems to co-exist equally with himself when young and when old, and never to call attention … to the difference between them.”

Thanks to Aksakov’s twofold vision, A Russian Schoolboy pleases both young and old readers, making it a perfect cross-over title.

In his realistic prose, Sergei Aksakov (1791–1859) captured the idyllic outdoor pursuits of his youth. He wrote two other books based on his life, A Russian Gentleman and Years of Childhood. Nikolai Gogol, a friend and correspondent of Aksakov and regarded by many as the father of modern Russian realism, once wrote to Aksakov, “Your birds and fishes are more real than my men and women.”

About the Authors

Sergie Aksakov (1791—1859) too up writing seriously late in life, under the influence of his good friend Gogol. He was widely acknowledged as a master of Russian prose. J. D. Duff (1860—1940) was a classical Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and is best known for his edition of Juvenal. He also translated from the Russian Herzen's My Past and Thoughts.