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The Precipice


The Precipice


The Precipice is a Russian novel by Ivan Goncharov, published in 1869, a decade after his masterwork, "Oblomov."

In it, Goncharov seeks to counter the ideas of the new generation of skeptics, nihilists, and dreamers, and presents the conflicts among the different levels of Russian society that would eventually culminate in the Russian revolution.

It is a tale of romantic rivalry among men, with artful portraits of the directionless dreamer artist Boris Raisky, and his friend, the revolutionary, Mark Volokhov.

The Precipice features characters with programmatic names decodable to those with a basic knowledge of Russian (for example, the heroine is "Vera," or "Faith"; the bad-boy is "Volkov," or "Wolf"); and a plot containing seduction, betrayal, (there's more implied sex here than in all of Turgenev); and the serious discussion of ideas that were to set Russia afire within fifty years, much as did Fathers and Sons.

IVAN GONCHAROV (1812-1891) was a major Russian novelist best known for his novels A Common Story, Oblomov, and The Precipice. He was one of the leading members of the great circle of Russian writers including Turgenev, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Byelinsky, and Herzen.


"Ivan Goncharov is ten heads above me in talent.”

—Anton Chekhov


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