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Book Title: The Sins of Childhood and Other Stories|
The author of the book: Bolesław Prus
ISBN 13: 9780810114623
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 897 KB
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Reader ratings: 4.6
Edition: Northwestern University Press
Date of issue: January 30th 1997
Read full description of the books:
These are cynical times. And not for no reason; though unlike most of my fellow world citizens, who have directed their cynicism toward one figure, I prefer a general loathing. My reading tends to follow my mood - (and not the other way around) - with flawed characters, a distortion of language, untidy endings and an overwhelming, reeking hopelessness. On rare occasions, a friend might smile and itemize all the wonderful things in my life, ruining my despond. Bolesław Prus could be such a friend.
I did not expect this. Eastern European literature tends to the dark, with oppressive governments, entrenched social strata, and constant misery. And all that's here, but somehow Prus is able to see through all that to the splendor of the human soul.
And so, a waistcoat is tightened by a wife, so a dying man will have some hope that he is not wasting away. A lost baby makes friends of sworn enemies. A mountaineer's fear drives him to an attempted suicide that instead saves the lives of his party.
One story, 'Shadows', is a mere 3 1/2 pages, and reads more like a poem. A man watches the end of days - the army of night emerges from its refuges, silent and wary. At that time, every day of the year, a lamplighter comes, bringing light. Our observer goes in search of the lamplighter one day, only to find out he has died. He goes to the graveyard, only to find that the lamplighter could be one of many buried that day. It is there, in the graveyard, where my friend Prus smiles and reminds me:
In the darkness of life, where humankind blunders about, unseeing and unhappy; where some crash into obstacles, others fall into the abyss, and no one is sure of the way; where people, hampered by superstition, are prey to accident, destitution, and hatred - in the unlit wilderness of life there are also lamplighters. Each of them carries a tiny flame over his head; each of them brings light along the way; each lives unknown, works unrecognized, and then vanishes like a shadow . . .
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Read information about the authorBolesław Prus (pronounced:[bɔ'lεswaf 'prus]; Hrubieszów, August 20, 1847 – May 19, 1912, Warsaw), whose actual name was Aleksander Głowacki, was a Polish journalist and novelist who is known especially for his novels The Doll and Pharaoh. He was the leading representative of realism in 19th-century Polish literature and remains a distinctive voice in world literature. Głowacki took the pen name "Prus" from the name of his family coat-of-arms.
An indelible mark was left on Prus by his experiences as a 15-year-old soldier in the Polish 1863 Uprising against Imperial Russia, in which he suffered severe injuries and imprisonment.
In 1872 at age 25, in Warsaw, Prus settled into a distinguished 40-year journalistic career. As a sideline, to augment his income and to appeal to readers through their aesthetic sensibilities, he began writing short stories. Achieving success with these, he went on to employ a broader canvas; between 1886 and 1895, he completed four major novels on "great questions of our age."
Of his novels, perennial favorites with readers are The Doll and Pharaoh. The Doll describes the romantic infatuation of a man of action who is frustrated by the backwardness of his society. Pharaoh, Prus' only historical novel, is a study of political power and statecraft, set in ancient Egypt at the fall of its 20th Dynasty and of the New Kingdom.
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