The Dacha Husband: A Novel
by Ivan Shcheglov
Northwestern University Press, 2009
Paper: 978-0-8101-2635-0
Library of Congress Classification PG3467.L39D313 2009
Dewey Decimal Classification 891.733

In addition to offering fresh editions of well-known works, Northwestern World Classics will also reintroduce to a new generation "lost classics," such as Ivan Shcheglov’ s 1896 The Dacha Husband (Dachnyi muzh). Despite being considered the most interesting writer of the late 1800s by no less a writer than his onetime collaborator Anton Chekhov, Ivan Shcheglov is largely forgotten in the West. In the able hands of Michael Katz, acclaimed translator of Dostoevsky, Turgenev, and Tolstoy, Shcheglov’ s strikingly modern style and biting satire come alive for today’ s readers.

The Dacha Husband
(a term created by Shcheglov) satirizes a type of man who came to prominence in the later part of the nineteenth century in Russia; he was typically upper middle class, was married to a materialistic woman, and commuted to work in St. Petersburg during the summer while his wife and children vacationed at the family’ s dacha in Pavlovsk.

Among the novel’ s highlights is a "Convention of Dacha Husbands," in which a "small group of insulted and injured husbands gathered together, in secret from their wives, . . . for a general discussion of contemporary marital misfortunes and a search for some means to protect their human rights." The convention is unexpectedly interrupted by the wives, who arrive to retrieve their rebellious spouses. A coda informs the reader that at least one of the proposals offered during the meeting survived: the construction of a "shelter for the care of deserted husbands."

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