The Russian Literature Week is an annual celebration of the translation of classic and contemporary Russian literature into English. From December 1 to 5, a series of live and online events and publications praise the work of the best Russian writers and their translators. In the spirit of the festivities, we remember some of our most notable Russian translation titles.
Ellendea Proffer's major biography of Mikhail Bulgakov, the most widely adored and critically acclaimed writer of the Soviet era. With a dual emphasis on history and criticism, BULGAKOV: LIFE AND WORK, Proffer’s book is a unique and essential work—a gift both to students of literary history and to fans of Bulgakov who simply want a closer look at the man who gave the world The Master and Margarita.
A bestselling sensation in Russia, where it was called “the most significant cultural event of the year,” Lilianna Lungina's memoir WORD FOR WORD is nothing less than the story of a nation’s literary conscience—the history of the twentieth century as seen through the eyes of a single person. A Russian Jew, Lungina's story is the testimony of a World War II exile and a witness of the era's upheavals, all told from the very center of Soviet cultural life.
Praised by The New York Times Book Review as “an Abkhazian Mark Twain,” Fazil Iskander was one of the most acclaimed writers in the Soviet Union—and also one of the funniest. In RABBITS AND BOA CONSTRICTORS, translated from the Russian by Ronald E. Peterson, Iskander tells the story of a struggle between . . . well, rabbits and boa constrictors, which is really a struggle between the manipulators and the manipulated as they try to function in a failed utopia.
Brilliantly translated by Matvei Yankelevich, TODAY I WROTE NOTHING is a comprehensive collection of the prose and poetry of Daniil Kharms, a writer who has long been heralded as one of the most iconoclastic authors of the Soviet era. TODAY I WROTE NOTHING includes dozens of short prose pieces, plays, and poems long admired in Russia, but never before available in English.
Originally published in 1930, Gaito Gazdanov’s AN EVENING WITH CLAIRE is a masterpiece of Russian émigré literature. Written when its author was just twenty-six—with the memories of his harsh years in the Russian civil war still hauntingly vivid in his mind—AN EVENING WITH CLAIRE is a psychological novel that is both grand and introspective. Gazdanov’s fist novel is at once an intimate and sensual account of a young man’s coming-of-age, and a tribute to the shattered dreams of the early twentieth century.
RED SPECTRES, a rare collection of gothic literature from Russia's twentieth century, includes eleven vintage tales by seven writers of the period: Valery Bryusov, Mikhail Bulgakov, Aleksandr Grin and Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, the lesser known but seminal figure Aleksandr Chayanov, whose story "Venediktov" influenced Bulgakov's Master and Margarita, and the émigrés Georgy Peskov and Pavel Perov. Selected and translated form Russian by Muireann Maguire, RED SPECTRES conveys through the traditional gothic repertoire of ghosts, insanity, obsession, retribution and terror, the turbulence and dissonance of life in Russia.
Coinciding with the 75th anniversary of his death, Vladislav Khodasevich's classical precision and solitary voice are resurrected for a new generation of readers in SELECTED POEMS, a new bilingual anthology offering the English-speaking world the first substantial selection of his verse, translated by Peter Daniels and featuring an introduction by Michael Wachtel.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky's THE CROCODILE is an outstanding piece of satire: It is vicious, dreamlike, scatological, and one of the funniest things that Dostoevsky ever wrote. In this brief work, translated by S. D. Cioran, he reveals his hatred of communism and socialism in an unusually direct caricature. The tongue-in-cheek "true story" follows a civil servant who suddenly gets swallowed alive by a crocodile—but he survives, carrying on his duties and preaching socialist theories from within the crocodile's belly.