Nov/Dec 2018 Current Moscow Time: 01:37:12
18 November 2018

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Language & Literature

Spanning all things related to Russian and Russian literature.

Chtenia 17
Chtenia 17 preview

The next issue of Chtenia, #17, is being laid out this weekend, and as always, there's a deep satisfaction in seeing the whole team's work come to fruition. The theme of the issue is Sport, which at the moment strikes me as a great counterpoint to the winter season, when holidays and cold weather compromise one's fitness routine with such gleeful impunity.

Tags: vasilisa, sport, bylina
Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky and a Few Spies
Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky and a Few Spies

Reviews of some recent books on Tolstoy, Spying and the end of the USSR. And a new translation of an often overlooked work by Dostoyevsky. As published in the November/December 2011 issue of Russian Life.

Review: New Fiction for Russophiles
Review: New Fiction for Russophiles

It should come as no surprise,” writes Vyacheslav Pyetsukh at the beginning of The New Moscow Philosophy, “that where literature goes life follows, that Russians not only write what they live but in part live what they write…”

Review: Three World War Two Histories
Review: Three World War Two Histories

It is the great, cruel paradox of World War II in Russia that heinous, unanswered crimes coexisted with truly heroic, astonishing human achievement. That – be it out of fear or love of the Motherland or self-defense – Soviets fought so bravely to defend a system that treated them like cattle, confiscating from them the land, the bread and the peace that the Revolution had allegedly been all about, shipping them and their relatives off to Siberian labor camps, sentencing soldiers unfortunate enough to have been captured in war into “penal battalions.”

Russian Authors at Book Expo America
Russian Authors at Book Expo America

Listen to the Book Expo America podcast episode with 4 Russian writers who were finalists for the Debut Prize, the prestigious independent literary award for authors under the age of 25 writing in Russian. I am very pleased to point out that Iryna Bogatyreva, one of the writers featured on this panel, is represented in the

On PBS this Month: The Great Famine

Today, Herbert Hoover – the 31st president of the United States (1929-1933) – is probably most associated with the onset and deepening of the Great Depression. Few know that prior to his presidency he was a successful international mining engineer (and had some lucrative investments in Russia before the Revolution), and later headed up the ARA (American Relief Administration), designed to deliver needed foreign aid to Belgium in the aftermath of World War I. 

On PBS next week: Desert of Forbidden Art
Igor Savitsky single-handedly saved over 40,000 works of avant-garde Soviet art by hiding them in plain sight. Well, in plain sight in a completely out of the way museum in Nukus, Karakalpakstan (Uzbekistan).
Review: The Trinity Six

I love a good thriller, and so was excited to get this review copy in the mail last month. The premise is interesting, the characters mainly believable, and the well-layered plot drives you along, just not as intensely as I would have liked. 

Review: The Road & More

This amazing collection of fiction and non-fiction by one of the 20th century's most talented and most overlooked writers re-demonstrates that Grossman was a meticulous documentarian of the Russian soul.

The Little Golden Calf Named Best Translation of 2010

We are EXCITED to announce that Anne O. Fisher's translation of Ilya Ilf and Evgeny Petrov's classic novel, The Little Golden Calf, which we published in 2009, has received the 2010 AATSEEL Book Award for Best Translation into English.

Raise a Glass to Jerome
Raise a Glass to Jerome

This week I came across two excellent articles on the Art of Translation, one in the NY Times, the other in the National Post. The NY Times article, written by Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours, raises some fascinating ideas about how writing itself is an act of translation, from the writer's ideas and perception of what his perfect work might be...

Thoroughbred Post-Horses

Alexander Pushkin famously called translators "the post-horses of literature." Well, two thoroughbreds who have worked with us on Russian Life and Chtenia have just been awarded grants from the National Endowment of the Arts to bring some important works to English. First, Anne Fisher, translator of our book, The Little Golden Calf:

Fish Anyone?

HOT OFF THE PRESSES! Our new novel, Fish: A History of One Migration, written by Peter Aleshkovsky and translated by Nina Shevchuk-Murray, has just arrived from the printer. They did a wonderful job and Fish will start shipping tomorrow morning.

Chtenia 11: Literal Poem Translations
Tags: blok, mayakovsky, poetry
Keep Reading, Dima

President Dmitry Medvedev says he likes the classics, but that,just recently he made a request for buying about 50 books authored by contemporary Russian writers over the past 5-7 years. "I have read some of them and I cannot say I have been excited," he said. "By and large I have to read all sorts of dull papers the presidents normally read. Draft documents, draft decrees, draft instructions, laws, reports...

Tags: medvedev, reading, literature, fiction
A "very bouncy" translation of The Little Golden Calf

The Louisville Courier-Journal has a nice feature this morning on Anne Fisher, the translator and driving force behind our new translation of The Little Golden Calf. It talks about how the book went in and out of favor with the Soviet regime, and how Anne was inspired to bring the work out in English because it had been so instrumental in forging her own understanding of all things Russian.

Translators Just Need to be Loved

A response to another publisher's blog post about our comparative analysis of two competing translations of Ilf and Petrov's Zolotoy Telyonok...

Tags: ilf and petrov, little golden calf, bender, ostap bender, open letter, chad post
Must See Films, Must Read Fiction

In our 100th issue, we have a long feature, "100 Things Everyone Should Know About Russia," with loads of factoids, notes, lists and essays. We figured our list of the "must read" fiction and "must see" movies would be a bit contentious (and certainly foreshortened). So we are posting the lists here for reader comment and supplementation...

Tags: film, fiction, literature, books, movies, arts
Happy Birthday Nikosha Gogol!

Nikolai Vasilevich Gogol is one of Russia's greatest and yet least appreciated writers. Fyodor Dostoyevsky, author of Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov and other classics, said that "we all came out of Gogol's Overcoat." What he meant is that Gogol was completely unlike any Russian writer who preceded him, and that all Russian literature that followed was indebted to him.

Tags: gogol, literature, nabokov, dostoyevsky
Gogol Links
Tags: gogol