*St. Petersburg. Capital of Russia and center of its brutally despotic government. In the opening sections of the novel the main character, Razumov, finds himself in settings which illustrate the range and variety of Russian life during the early years of the twentieth century. These range from the slovenly stables and eating-houses of the poor, drunken peasantry to the elaborately decorated, gilded palaces of the nobility. The difference between the extreme misery and poverty of the lower classes and the arrogance and wealth of the aristocracy is displayed most clearly in the contrast between their dwellings and furnishings. When Razumov becomes involved with the revolutionary Haldin, he also becomes well acquainted with the offices of the Russian secret police, that organization totally dedicated to the repression and, if possible, elimination of all expressions of freedom and individual liberty. In a sense, the Russian locations in the novel present a sort of physical argument in favor of revolution.
Razumov’s dwelling. Modest set of rooms in a Russian apartment building. There is an outer room with a couch, table, and similar furnishings and an inner room with a bed. As described by Joseph Conrad, the apartment is small, sparsely furnished but functional; it is a reasonably comfortable place for a student such as Razumov to live and work. In the novel, its major importance is...
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