Saint Julian The Hospitaller by Gustave Flaubert, 1877 Continue reading
A Bundle Of Letters by Henry James, 1878 Continue reading
God Sees The Truth, But Waits by Leo Tolstoy, 1872 Continue reading
The Sire de Maletroit’s Door by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1878 Continue reading
The Dream Of A Ridiculous Man by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 1877 Continue reading
Master Eustace by Henry James, 1871 Continue reading
The Peasant Marey by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 1876 Continue reading
Bobok by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 1873 Continue reading
A Presidential Candidate by Mark Twain, 1879 Continue reading
The Beggar Boy At Christ’s Christmas Tree by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 1876
The magic trick:
The brief, first-person frame narration
It isn’t much. Two sentences at the start. Three sentences at the end. But it’s an interesting technique. Dostoyevsky eschews the standard third-person narration by inserting himself (or some unnamed writer) as the storyteller. This lends the story a bit more authority, a bit more truth somehow. As the story develops and the reader learns of the tragic subject matter, this “real-life” assertion in the frame further emphasizes the piece’s social conscience. And that’s quite a trick on Dostoyevsky’s part.
I am a novelist, and I suppose I have made up this story. I write “I suppose,” though I know for a fact that I have made it up, but yet I keep fancying that it must have happened on Christmas Eve in some great town in a time of terrible frost.