Ignaty Potapenko

Ignaty Potapenko

Ignaty Potapenko (1856–1929) was a prolific writer known for his ability to capture the zeitgeist of late imperial Russia and address the burning issues of his age.

Not a Hero

A Novel

Translated by Michael R. Katz

Between 1890 and 1893, Ignaty Potapenko published a number of works in which he presented the Russian intelligentsia with a new role model, the “mediocre, but common-sensical man,” whose diligence and steady devotion to the improvement of society are depicted as being more productive than the reckless heroism of the regime’s most outspoken, and sometimes violent, intellectual opponents. Not a Hero introduces the twenty-first-century reader to an important debate of the prerevolutionary period, a debate that is still relevant today: how to bring about social change within an oppressive and ossified political system without resorting to violence.