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The plot centres around Laevsky, who is living in a small seaside town in the Caucasus after running away with another man's wife, Nadyezhda Fyodorovna, amid dreams of starting a new life.The dreams have come to nothing as Laevsky idles away his life drinking and playing cards, and Nadyezhda begins to have other affairs.Laevsky's scheme to run away again, this time without his mistress, brings him into conflict with the rationalist Von Koren, who believes in Darwinian principles of natural selection and extinction of the weak and useless.Matters come to a head when an outburst from Laevsky leads to a duel. Von Koren is determined to teach Laevksy a lesson.(Introduction by Phil)
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