It is not unusual for a writer to be pigeonholed, but few great writers have suffered from this more than Teffi. For all their flashes of wit, many of her best stories are extremely bleak. Nevertheless, she is still commonly thought of as a light humorist; many Russians know only the comic and satirical sketches she wrote during her first years as a professional writer, from 1909 until the First World War.
Teffi was well aware how often her work was misunderstood. Her preface to one of her best collections, Nezhivoi zver’ (The Lifeless Beast, 1916), begins:
I do not like prefaces. […]
I would not be writing a preface now were it not for a sad incident.
In October 1914 I …
Citation: Chandler, Robert. "Nezhivoi zver'". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 September 2019 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=38911, accessed 10 July 2020.]