Andrey Petrovich Bersenev
Andrey Petrovich Bersenev (ahn-DRAY peh-TROH-vihch behr-SEH-nehv), who is twenty-three years old when he is introduced, tall and swarthy, with a sharp, slightly curved nose, broad lips, and small gray eyes. He speaks with a slight lisp that becomes more marked when he is agitated. His mother died when he was quite young, and under the insistent guidance of his father he received a thorough education. He is a graduate of Moscow University. He is inclined to take an abstract and generalized view of life. Although he tries to win Yelena’s favor, he feels awkward and uneasy in her presence. She admires his intellectual attainments, but once he tells her about Insarov, she turns instead to the other man. Bersenev eventually takes up scholarly pursuits abroad, and research in Germany and France yields ponderous though learned articles of some length.
Pavel Yakovlevich Shubin
Pavel Yakovlevich Shubin (PAH-vehl ya-KOV-leh-vihch SHEW-bihn), a fair-haired and childishly attractive man, twenty-six years old at the beginning of the novel. He is a cousin three times removed of Anna Vasil’yevna. He studied medicine at Moscow University but for academic reasons was forced to leave after one year; instead, he took up art and achieved some recognition for his undeniable talent. He works at sculpture and produces various works, including satirical representations of Insarov, Anna, and himself. He remains a confidant of Bersenev, and they often discuss social and romantic matters. Although he is attracted to Yelena, he places himself in a false position and makes little headway among others who are interested in her. In the end, he settles in Rome, where he is known as a promising young artist.
Yelena Nikolayevna Stakhova
Yelena Nikolayevna Stakhova (yeh-LEH-nah nih-koh-LAH-yehv-nah STAH-khoh-vah), a twenty-year-old woman who becomes Insarov’s wife. She is tall, with a pale complexion, large gray eyes, straight features, and a sharp chin; she has dark brown hair and a delicate neck, as well as slender hands and feet. Shubin complains that her likeness is difficult to recapture in sculpture; indeed, Yelena appears subject to impetuous, almost feverish changes of mood that are not readily comprehensible to others. She has become impatient with her parents’ strictures, and she can be stern...
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