Try this test: ask a friend to name three Russian authors. No doubt they pass with flying colors (most likely naming Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Gogol, Chekhov, Solzhenitsyn, Nabokov and maybe even Pushkin or Lermontov).
Now ask the same friend to name three German (or French, Italian or Chinese) authors. If they succeed, we're betting they were slower to respond, and less sure of themselves.
The contribution that Russian literature has made to world civilization has been immense, and our quarterly journal Chtenia ("readings," in Russian) is an ongoing homage to that heritage. Each numbered issue (we are now in our fifth year of publication) is a journey of discovery that mixes lesser-known classics with modern marvels in a compact, enjoyable, truly impressive collection of stories, memoirs, essays, poetry and photography.
Don't take our word for it, read what current subscribers to Chtenia have to say about the publication.
And check out Chtenia archives here, to sample contents of past issues.
Chtenia is the only regularly published journal of Russian fiction in English, presenting new or long-forgotten works of classic authors like Pushkin, Gogol and Tolstoy alongside works by contemporary authors like Sorokin, Gelasimov and Slavnikova.
But fiction is only the beginning. Each issue of Chtenia has wonderful photography, memoirs, essays on popular culture, song lyrics, poetry, humor, all centered around a chosen theme.
The result is a vivid snapshot of one aspect of Russian culture, an introduction that is sure to give you insights into new areas of Russian life.
Take our issue, themed “Childhood.” It included original translations of the first-ever Russian children’s story, a memoir of a nineteenth century childhood, poems about how to (mis)behave like a child, stories of orphanage life under Stalin, and a touching modern story about a single mother. It was a vibrant portrait encapsulating 200 years of history, assembled from the work of 13 authors, 1 photographer and 9 translators
“The journal is handsomely but simply produced, privileging the text over fancy graphics, but easy to read and designed for study and enjoyment, which makes it both an excellent classroom resource, as well as fine reading for anyone who appreciates good literary journals... This is an impressive and unusual journal that deserves a space in every university and secondary school's library collection and in the mailboxes of serious readers, no matter their Russian language skills.” New Pages
Of course, it helps that the raw material for Chtenia — Russian literature and experience — is so rich and diverse. Yet Chtenia is not a rehash of the Russian literature or memoirs you will find in bookstores or on the internet. Instead, we present only unpublished and untranslated works, works that have been long neglected or overlooked, works that are little known outside Russia.
As a result, each issue of Chtenia is full of literary gems waiting to be discovered by western readers!
Still, we don’t want Chtenia to overwhelm you. Our focus is on quality, not quantity. So each issue of Chtenia is limited to about 128 pages and bound in a slim, attractive, portable paperback format that’s easy (and extremely impressive) to tote along to the coffee shop or beach.
Chtenia’s stories are translated into fluent, engaging English by some of the best Russian-to-English literary translators working today, making each issue a beautiful collector’s edition. And yet, a one-year subscription (four issues) costs about what you’d expect to pay for a single work of new hardcover fiction.
* If ever Chtenia fails to live up to your expectations, you may cancel your subscription with no obligation and receive a refund for all unmailed issues.
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