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Aleksandr Kuprin

Yama: the pit

A novel about prostitution in Moscow.

From the introduction:
It must not be thought, despite its locale, that Kuprin’s “Yama” is a picture of Russian prostitution solely; it is intrinsically universal. All that is necessary is to change the kopecks into cents, pennies, sous or pfennings; compute the versts into miles or metres; Jennka may be Eugenie or Jeannette; and for Yama, simply read Whitechapel, Montmartre, or the Barbary Coast. That is why “Yama” is a “tremendous, staggering, and truthful book— a terrific book.” It has been called notorious, lurid— even oleographic. So are, perhaps, the picaresques of Murillo, the pictorial satires of Hogarth, the bizarreries of Goya…
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    Meredith Louisцитуєторік
    I’m going with forty, going with an ace of spades— a ten-spot, Mannechka, if you
    Meredith Louisцитуєторік
    please. I’m through. Fifty-seven, eleven, sixty-eight. How much have you?”
    Meredith Louisцитуєторік
    herself aloof in the house, does not chum with any one, does not initiate any one into her past life. But in her case there must have been many more adventures besides having been a nun: there is something mysterious, taciturn and criminal in her unhurried speech, in the evasive glance of her deep and dark-gold eyes from under the long, lowered eyelashes, in her manners, her sly smiles and intonations of a modest but wanton would-be saint. There was one occurrence when the girls, with well-nigh reverent awe, heard that Tamara could talk fluently in French and German. She has within her some sort of an inner, restrained power. Notwithstanding her outward meekness and complaisance, all in the establishment treat her with respect and circumspection— the proprietress, and her mates, and both housekeepers, and even the doorkeeper, that veritable sultan of the house of ill-fame, that general terror and hero.
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