Dimitry Pavlovich Sanin
Dimitry Pavlovich Sanin (DMIH-tree PAHV-loh-vihch SAH-nihn), a young Russian nobleman and the novel’s aging narrator. The novel, presented as a reminiscence, gives two distinct visions of Sanin: the weak-willed, twenty-one-year-old idealist and the soul-sickened, fifty-two-year-old narrator. The youthful Sanin is a careless nobleman who is accosted by Gemma Rosselli while walking down a street in Frankfurt. She believes that her brother Emilio has stopped breathing, and when Sanin restores the young man, she and her family consider him their savior. Sanin stays on in Frankfurt and discovers that he is infatuated with Gemma. After winning her affection by fighting a duel in her honor, he meets the predatory Maria Nikolayevna and falls under her sexual spell. Sanin’s betrayal of Gemma is worsened by his inability to confess his perfidy to her. After a time in Maria Nikolayevna’s retinue, Sanin is cast aside. It is only as a life-sickened, aging man of the world that Sanin seeks out Gemma and is relieved of his guilt when he hears of her happy married state in the United States. The news fills him with a new sense of life, and he begins to make plans to immigrate.
Gemma Rosselli (GEH-mah roh-SEH-lee), a beautiful Italian girl...
(The entire section is 591 words.)