Idioma original: russian

Original title: Two Pirates (Two Pirates)

Translation: Irene and Laura Andresco

Year of publication: 1856

Valuation: Highly recommended

I see there that The two hussars It happens to be one of Tolstoy’s most valued works. Man, referring to the author of Anna Karenina, War and peace o The Death of Ivan Ilyich I think that’s a lot to say. The work we bring here today is a work from his youth, with all the appearance of one: the master, who had not yet turned thirty, makes some very interesting points, but in my opinion it is still far from what he would offer a few years later.

We would be in that kind of subgenre, so abundant at the time, which we could call troop literature. Tolstoy, who at that time had some contact with the military establishment, must have known first-hand the type of youngsters who, in order to serve as weapons for the Tsar, moved around strutting their uniforms, especially if they belonged to certain units of singular bearing. Youth, military grace and a prestigious profession allowed them to present themselves in society a few steps above the rest, showing off among women, peasants and gaming tables.

In all this, the following stands out above average: conde Turbinpassionate about everything that involves intense emotions, a haughty guy who enjoys challenging duels and conquering female beauties. Among them Ana Fedorovnasister of a fellow soldier, on whom the count would leave a deeper mark than the reality of that relationship would logically suggest. Years later, the son of the conqueror, also a member of the hussar corps, accidentally comes into contact with the sister herself. Ana Fedorovna and her daughter, and history seems to repeat itself.

Told like this, it certainly gives the impression of a short romance, one more tale of the kind of love that remains hidden for years or decades, impressions of youth that time has not managed to erase or that pass through generations. And in my opinion that is exactly what the book is. Of course, one can always look for deeper and less visible layers, I don’t know, characterization of a certain type of young soldier, contrasts with the more traditional strata of Russian society, historical context. But it is still a simple story about something as common as the relationship between the uniformed man who takes the world in bites and the naive young woman who falls for his charms.

In any case, let us not forget that this was written by Tolstoy, who, although perhaps still somewhat immature, already had genius within him. And so all this banal and often seen story becomes something else that can only be described as a small great pleasure. And the fact is that any story in the hands of a writer with this talent is a gift for the reader. Every word, every phrase, is exactly where it should be, there is no need for tricks or extravagant tools, the story flows with a naturalness that makes it unnecessary to resort to anything else. Characters parade before us, crystal-clearly defined in a couple of lines, we can read their thoughts without them telling us, we are part of the air they breathe, we see them move, evolve, and everything fits together as if it could not be any other way.

In this small and even modest pill we find much of what the author is capable of offering, still embryonic but enough to make us enjoy. That mastery that with the passing of years, and not many, would make possible brutal works like those we point out here below.


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