From the introduction:
It must not be thought, despite its locale, that Kuprin’s “Yama” is a picture of Russian prostitution solely; it is intrinsically universal. All that is necessary is to change the kopecks into cents, pennies, sous or pfennings; compute the versts into miles or metres; Jennka may be Eugenie or Jeannette; and for Yama, simply read Whitechapel, Montmartre, or the Barbary Coast. That is why “Yama” is a “tremendous, staggering, and truthful book— a terrific book.” It has been called notorious, lurid— even oleographic. So are, perhaps, the picaresques of Murillo, the pictorial satires of Hogarth, the bizarreries of Goya...