Andreyev Leonid – The seven who were hanged

Versailles, France

The Russian literature does not lack masterpieces around the theme of jails. Memoirs from the house of the dead (Dostoevsky) or Everything flows (Grossman) are journeys through the very depths of the human soul, only visible in the depths of a cell.

The seven who were hanged is one of those marvels of literature that carry you through to the paroxysm of anxiety, fear, existential thoughts, courage, heroism, mysticism and madness as they unravel on the path to the never solved mystery.

They were about to face, within two hours, the great and never solved mystery, to step form life to death, and they were getting to know each other. Life and death were simultaneously present on two planes, and until the end, life remained life, with its utterly trivial and insignificant details.

The seven who were hanged, Leonid Andreyev

The seven who were hanged is the tale of five young persons, with revolutionary inclinations, whose attempt at assassinating a minister is thwarted. The minister who’s aware of the upcoming assassination attempt suffers from the sacred secret being desecrated :

It is not death that is terrifying, but our knowledge of it. It would be absolutely impossible to live if we could know exactly the day and time of our death.

The seven who were hanged, Leonid Andreyev

Two ordinary criminals will join the 5 revolutionaries. These two criminals enrich the masterpiece with everything they have in common or that distinguishes them in their thoughts and anguishes in the cold cell.

This is a dark masterpiece, full of soul, but rich in beautiful poetry…

A lukewarm wind was blowing from the sea in wet gusts : one could be under the impression that he distinguishes the particles of fresh air flying together towards the distance, free and limitless

The seven who were hanged, Leonid Andreyev

… and funny glimpses in the deep Russia :

We, inhabitants of Orel, are all hot-headed daredevils ! He rightfully said in a composed manner. In Kromy and Orel, thieves have a nice life ! In Karatchev et Livny, thieves set their nests. And Elets, when it comes to thieves, it’s the the best !

The seven who were hanged, Leonid Andreyev

A must-read gem of Russian literature.