A Gentle Spirit, from 1876, was released in Dostoyevsky's one-man periodical, A Writer's Diary, which was always eagerly anticipated in his contemporary Russia. The short novel is a despairing man's monologue on the night after his young wife's suicide, and through his incoherent speech by her deathbed the background of the tragedy slowly unfolds. The narrator is a retired officer who now earns his living as a pawnbroker. He feels unappreciated by his peers and marries a young, poor, but proud woman whom he suppresses and dominates in an attempt to gain appreciation and love. His strict demands, however, have the opposite effect.
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