Princess Zizi is thwarted in love and takes her lot meekly until she discovers her beloved's deceit, whereupon she embarks on a bittersweet revenge. Princess Mim is bitter and resentful because of her own romantic failures and also takes her revenge, leading those around her to a tragic end. First published in 1834.
'It is not people that kill, but ungovernable passions'. "Princess Mimi" and "Princess Zizi", Odoevsky's complementary society tales from the 1830s, portraying the two diametrically opposed sides of the nature of the Russian Aristocracy, can be seen as precursors to Anna Karenina and the works of Dostoevsky. The eponymous princesses are both spinsters, but there any similarity must end. Zizi, thwarted in love, takes her lot meekly until she comes face to face with her erstwhile lover's perfidy, and her sense of justice and familial devotion rise to claim a bittersweet revenge. Mimi meanwhile, whose own romantic failures have left her bitter and resentful, takes her revenge groundlessly, leading all around her to a tragic end.