The Doll by Boleslaw Prus
(Central European Classics)

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 3 Critic Reviews

unrated

Synopsis

Boleslaw Prus is often compared to Chekhov, and Prus’s masterpiece might be described as an intimate epic, a beautifully detailed, utterly absorbing exploration of life in late-nineteenth-century Warsaw, which is also a prophetic reckoning with some of the social forces—imperialism, nationalism, anti-Semitism among them—that would soon convulse Europe as never before. But The Doll is above all a brilliant novel of character, dramatizing conflicting ideas through the various convictions, ambitions, confusions, and frustrations of an extensive and varied cast. At the center of the book are three men from three different generations. Prus’s fatally flawed hero is Wokulski, a successful businessman who yearns for recognition from Poland’s decadent aristocracy and falls desperately in love with the highborn, glacially beautiful Izabela. Wokulski’s story is intertwined with those of the incorrigibly romantic old clerk Rzecki, nostalgic for the revolutions of 1848, and of the bright young scientist Ochocki, who dreams of a future full of flying machines and other marvels, making for a book of great scope and richness that is, as Stanisław Barańczak writes in his introduction, at once “an old-fashioned yet still fascinating love story . . . , a still topical diagnosis of society’s ills, and a forceful yet subtle portrayal of a tragically doomed man.

 

About Boleslaw Prus

See more books from this Author
BOLESŁAW PRUS (1847-1912) was born Aleksander GÅ‚owacki in the provincial town of Hrubieszów, Poland. His mother died in 1850; his father, an estate steward of noble birth (the author's pen name is a reference to the family's origin near the Prussian border), died six years later, leaving him in the care of relatives in PuÅ‚awy and Lublin. In 1862, he moved to Kielce with his older brother Leon, a Polish patriot. The next year, the teenaged Aleksander joined in the January 1863 uprising against Russian rule. Wounded in battle, he was imprisoned in Lublin Castle, but released when he was discovered to be underage. He then finished high school and enrolled in university, but lacked the funds to graduate. Instead, he worked several odd jobs, including a stint in a metallurgical factory, before taking up journalism. Prus eventually made a name for himself as a writer of feuilletons, publishing his much-admired Kroniki in the Kurier Warszawski between 1875 and 1887 and also achieving some success with his short stories. The Outpost, published in 1885, was the first of four novels that secured his literary reputation. It was followed by The Doll (1890), Emancipated Women (1894), and The Pharaoh (1897). A respected but no longer fashionable writer, Prus dedicated his last years to social reform and philanthropic work. STANISŁAW BARAŃCZAK is a poet, translator, and literary critic. He won the 2007 Nike Award for the best work of Polish literature published in the previous year and the 2009 Silesius Poetry Award for lifetime achievement. He is a professor of Polish language and literature at Harvard University. DAVID WELSH'S translations include A Dreambook for Our Time by Tadeusz Konwicki, Cloak of Illusion by Stanislaw Dygat, and Black Torrent by Leopold Buczkowski.
 
Published February 23, 2011 by NYRB Classics. 706 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Doll

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

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 unrequit...

| Read Full Review of The Doll (Central European Cl...

London Review of Books

Boleslaw Prus’s The Doll – first published in 1890, and perhaps the least known major 19th-century novel – stands midway between these tendencies.

| Read Full Review of The Doll (Central European Cl...

The New York Review of Books

He won the 2007 Nike Award for the best work of Polish literature published in the previous year and the 2009 Silesius Poetry Award for lifetime achievement.

Feb 08 2011 | Read Full Review of The Doll (Central European Cl...

Reader Rating for The Doll
77%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 11 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×