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From the reign of the Tsars in the early 19th century to the collapse of the Soviet Union and beyond, the short story has long occupied a central place in Russian culture. Included are pieces from many of the acknowledged masters of Russian literature - including Pushkin, Turgenev, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, and Solzhenitsyn - alongside tales by long-suppressed figures such as the subversive Kryzhanowsky and the surrealist Shalamov. Whether written in reaction to the cruelty of the bourgeoisie, the bureaucracy of communism or the torture of the prison camps, they offer a wonderfully wide-ranging and exciting representation of one of the most vital and enduring forms of Russian literature.

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