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copyright 1918; brown leatherette binding; The Modern Library of The World's Best Books; Boni and Liveright, Inc. publishers, New York; quite good condition with minor page ageing; half-title page has original owner's signature (pencil) and has binding edge fray (see pic) - the only page with this issue; four pages have very minor tears.


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The fear of death, the horror and iniquity of capital punishment, is the theme of this powerful study of the character, thoughts, and feelings of men and women condemned to die. Five of the prisoners are revolutionists who have attempted to assassinate a high official in Russia, two are common peasant murderers. They wait in solitary confinement for seventeen days after the judgment, and are finally summoned to ride in the dark to midnight execution. The young soldier, Sergey, fights successfully the fear of death that takes possession of his sound strong body, but he is tortured with dread of the farewell visit from his stricken father and mother. The strong characters, Werner, the leader of the terrorists, and the young girl, Musya, are able to bear the thought of inevitable death, he with enlightened mind, and she by her innocent purity and conception of immortal life. Musya goes to the scaffold supporting the ignorant terrified murderer with her beautiful courage and humanity. The author aims through his art to destroy the “barriers which separate one soul from another,” and helps us to realize sympathetically the humanity of even the lowest criminal.


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