Mumu is one of Turgenev’s earlier works, and was written in 1854. This short story is the poignant tale of the deaf mute, Gerasim, and his dog, the eponymous Mumu. It is similar in its thematic content to Zapiski okhotnika [A Sportsman’s Sketches, or Sketches from a Hunter’s Album, 1852]. In the same way as this collection of stories, Mumu exposes the cruelty of serfdom, and raises questions about the power and control that landowners exert over their servants.
The story is set on the outskirts of Moscow, in the house of an old widow. The “lady of the house” remains unnamed for the duration of the text, which serves to emphasise her lack of human kindness, and also directs our sympathies towards the plight of Gerasim. It might be argued that the mistress is based on Turgenev’s
Citation: Ambrose, Kathryn. "Mumu". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 09 September 2008 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=24834, accessed 10 December 2023.]