Question: Who wrote the 1859 novel Oblomov, whose lazy, daydreaming titular character satirizes the contemporary Russian nobility?
Answer: Ivan Goncharov is best known for Oblomov, a novel that was so influential it spawned the term oblomovshchina, which epitomizes the backwardness and futility of 19th-century Russian society.
Question: What is the famous opening line of Leo Tolstoy’s novel Anna Karenina?
Answer: Tolstoy’s iconic novel opens with the line “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way,” which sets up the themes of the two marital narratives in the work.
Question: What novel written by Nikolai Gogol traces the adventures of the landless social-climbing Pavel Ivanovich Chichikov, a dismissed civil servant out to seek his fortune?
Answer: One of the most significant works in the history of Russian literature, Dead Souls was one of the foundational texts of 19th-century Russian realism.
Question: Which of the following Vladimir Nabokov works was originally written in his native Russian?
Answer: While his most famous novels, such as Lolita and Pale Fire, were written in English, Vladimir Nabokov composed a number of works in Russian before he relocated to the United States in 1941, including this piece concerning the surreal final days of the prisoner Cincinnatus C.
Question: What is the name of the central character in Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment?
Answer: One of the classics of Russian literature, Crime and Punishment follows the evolution of guilt within Raskolnikov, a poor student who kills two elderly women at the outset of the novel.
Question: Which of the following is not a play written by famed Russian dramatist Anton Chekhov?
Answer: Chekhov wrote a number of classic plays but not The Lower Depths, which was written by Maxim Gorky.
Question: One of the few outspoken writers to survive Stalin’s regime, which poet was nevertheless prevented by the Soviet government from publishing any work from 1923 to 1940?
Answer: While she did manage to survive the many purges of intellectuals that Stalin undertook, political pressure still kept Akhmatova from publishing any of her work for 17 years.
Question: Which philosophy does Bazarov, the central character of Ivan Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons, subscribe to?
Answer: Bazarov is one of the first and best-known literary characters who is a nihilist, denying the validity of all laws save those of the natural sciences.
Question: Which 19th-century poet, novelist, and playwright is widely considered the father of modern Russian literature?
Answer: Behind the diverse landmark works such as the poem Ruslan and Ludmila, the play Boris Godunov, and the novel in verse Yevgeny Onegin, Pushkin launched Russian literature into its golden era during the 1800s.
Question: Which historical pair are the subjects of the novel that “the Master” is writing in Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita?
Answer: The main plot of The Master and Margarita concerns the devil showing up in the atheistic Soviet Union, but a parallel plot is found in the novel that the Master (himself a Christ symbol) is writing during that action, which follows Pontius Pilate and Jesus.
Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership - Now 30% off.
Learn More!