Beginning this week in 1910, the New York Times Magazine began publishing this short story by Leonid Andreyev, considered the Edgar Allen Poe of Russia. It was published serially over four weeks. A reviewer of the print edition on Amazon says:
“The Man Who Found The Truth” (or “My Memoirs”) is a brilliant diamond that Andreyev purportedly said was his best work. An old man who had been sentenced to virtually a lifetime in prison narrates his experience of incarceration, his dependence upon the routine of prison life, the isolation, and the view of the world through his small cell window. Andreyev effectively captures the personality of a wise but vulnerable old man who comes up with a theory about infinity. When he is released, his theory makes him famous, but he cannot live without being institutionalized. He ends up rich enough to afford a wealthy home, [NOTE: SPOILERS FOLLOW] but instead has a custom jail cell built for himself and pays a servant to act like a jailor; although he is free, he chooses to live as if he is incarcerated. He even alludes to the fact that all of life is one gigantic prison cell.
The Times published it over four weeks, but since we’re in the future, we don’t need to wait to read the whole thing. Instead of doling it out piecemeal, I’m giving you the whole thing now.
If you’d like to read it, you have two options:
1) For the story as it originally appeared in the Sunday Magazine, complete with illustrations, you can download all four weeks in one big pdf. It’s seven broadsheet pages, approximately 20,000 words, and weighs in at around 8.5 megabytes.
2) If you’d rather read it in a mobile reading device, iPhone, nook, Kindle, or even your browser, you can download it for free in various formats from Project Gutenberg in an anthology called The Crushed Flower and Other Stories. It’s a much smaller download but with no illustrations.
“THE MAN WHO FOUND THE TRUTH” By Leonid Andreyev: A Powerful Story of a Prisoner Unjustly Convicted of Murder, Written by the Author of “Anathema,” the Poe of Russia. (PDF)
From August 28, 1910
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