A Spanking Detail

Here’s a fun detail from the cover of a book of translated Russian literature:

spanking detail from cover art

This is bugging me, because I did a lot of Russian lit and Russian history in college. I remember a lot of historical accounts of peasants being beaten with the knout, but I don’t remember any literary spankings.

  1. hypothalamico commented on February 19th, 2006:

    There was no spanking but in the novel “Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle” by Vladimir Nabokov one of the main female characters is threatened with a “vigorous spanking.” I never really read the book but just spied that bit flipping through – amazing how primed a spankophile can be to find their favorite word!

  2. Sassy commented on February 19th, 2006:

    It might not have been “literature” when you were in college, but is considered literary now. Sometimes popular fiction crosses over to literary classics — think Jane Austin. Gosh, you MUST be old!!

  3. Mija commented on February 19th, 2006:

    Hmmm… this looks like a job for the amazing Haron. ;)

  4. Haron commented on February 21st, 2006:

    LOL It appears I’m not as amazing as all that: I have no clue which author out of the ones drawn on the cover the picture might illustrate. Sholokhov’s work had lots of rape, murder and indiscriminate beatings, to be sure, but an OTK spanking isn’t one of the things I recall from reading the classics.

    Perhaps, I should ask a friend of mine who teaches Russian Lit back at home. :)

  5. Haron commented on February 21st, 2006:

    A little update: my clever friend t’Larien, who has a PhD in Russian Lit, has taken this book cover as a personal challenge. He says that some of the short stories listed in the table of contents haven’t been in print since the 1920s!

    The editor who put together this anthology must have been looking really hard for that one OTK scene.

  6. SpankBoss commented on February 21st, 2006:

    Now I don’t feel so bad about failing to recall any spankings in my ill-remembered undergraduate dabblings. Looking forward to hearing what y’all come up with!

  7. Haron commented on February 22nd, 2006:

    You can tell when a real academic is on the trail :)
    Quoting the conversation with the learned t’Larien (translated from Russian):

    “None of the following stories have anything like THAT in them:
    Very Good The Story Of A Hero (M. Gorky)
    Arkhip (A. Tolstoy)
    Mamai (E. Zamyatin)
    The Desert Of Toub-Koy (V. Ivanov)
    In The Basement (I. Babel)
    A Point Of View (M. Zoshchenko)
    Nervous People (M. Zoshchenko)
    The Cherry Stone (I. Olesha)
    The Fate Of A Man (M. Sholokhov)

    I suspect that the rest – Biely, Pasternak, Prishvin – have nothing, either.
    (Biely’s primary perversion – Oedipus complex, which overshadows everything else; Pasternak and Prishvin as a rule wrote about other things.)

    Perhaps, the cover is meant to portray Soviet cruelties on the whole. Or this is something like random Boris Vallejo covers on fantasy books. [Meant to signal the genre without necessarily having anything to do with the plot. – trans.]

    Shame, that.”

    So there you have it: enjoy the cover, but the text doesn’t necessarily deliver on the promise…

  8. SpankBoss commented on February 22nd, 2006:

    Haron, thanks ever so much to you and t’Larien. My money’s on the “Boris Vallejo” theory, now. I half suspected as much, but it’s good to have expert confirmation.

  9. Mija commented on February 22nd, 2006:

    What did I say? Amazing, Haron.

    Thanks to you and t’Larien. And whatever the reasons for it, I think it’s a lovely and sexy cover. :)

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