Other Literary Forms
Although the fame of Mikhail Zoshchenko rests almost entirely on his short stories, he produced a few works in other genres that are often discussed as important facets of his opus, most notably longer stories (povesti), which are almost invariably treated as short novels outside Russia. Two of these, Vozrashchennaya molodost’ (1933; Youth Restored, 1935) and Pered voskhodom solntsa (1943, 1972; Before Sunrise, 1974), show a different Zoshchenko from that seen in his short stories—an author who is attempting to rise above the everyday reality of his stories. The first of these novels is a variation on an age-old theme—a desire to regain lost youth, with a humorous twist in that the old professor renounces his restored youth after failing to keep up with his young wife. In Before Sunrise, Zoshchenko probed deeper into his own psyche, trying to discover his origins, going back even to the prenatal time. In order to achieve this, he employed the psychoanalytical methods of Sigmund Freud and Ivan Pavlov, which were and still are a novelty in Russian literature. His other longer stories (a few occasional pieces written at the behest of Soviet authorities in order to conform to the political trends of the time) and playwriting attempts do not enhance his stature; on the contrary, they detract from his reputation so much that they are generally ignored by critics and readers alike.