Not a Hero

A Novel

Deftly introduced by Otto Boele and engagingly translated by Michael Katz, this edition of Ignaty Potapenko’s novel Not a Hero brings non-Russian-speaking readers important perspectives on Russian culture in the age of Chekhov. Highly recommended.
William Mills Todd III, Harry Tuchman Levin Professor of Literature, emeritus, Harvard University

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.

128 Pages, 5.5 x 8.5 in.

October, 2021

isbn : 9780822946984

about the authors

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.

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Ignaty Potapenko
Michael R. Katz

Michael R. Katz is C.V. Starr Professor Emeritus at Middlebury College. He is the author of two monographs and is a renowned translator of Russian literature, including English versions of works by Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Turgenev, and Chekhov.

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Michael R. Katz