March 26, 2020

TBT: Two Births



TBT: Two Births

This week is the anniversary of two important Russian births.

Well, there are plenty of others, of course, but we felt we should highlight these two.

First, there is the writer, memoirist, philosopher, dissident publisher and founder of Russian socialist, Alexander Herzen. Born March 25, 1812, he published much of his most influential work while living abroad, in London exile. We published a bio of him in 2012, the centenary of his birth. In the words of Dostoyevsky, with whom Herzen had many differences, “Without a doubt, this was an extraordinary man, a great wit, and a remarkable conversation partner.”

Second, there is the cellist, humanist, conductor, and human rights activits, Mstislav Rostropovich, who was born March 27, 1927. We did a short article on him back in 2002, when he turned 75, and you can of course find out much more about him on Wikipedia. Like how he not only enthralled audiences with his performances, but sheltered and advocated for those who the Soviet authoritarian state had in its sites.

Non-superflous Sidenote: On this day 20 years ago, Vladimir Putin was first elected Russian President. Yes, it has been 20 years.

Departures
  • November 01, 2019

Departures

Two leading lights of theater and film who passed on this fall.
World Citizen
  • March 01, 2002

World Citizen

Cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich (1927) turns 75 on March 27. Born in Baku (capital of Azerbaidzhan), Rostropovich took his first music lessons from his father—a teacher at the Baku Conservatory.
Alexander Herzen
  • March 01, 2012

Alexander Herzen

He was a poet, revolutionary, memoirist, publisher and emigre. He was a scion of the Bolsheviks, but he would have wanted nothing to do with them. 
Rostropovich, Chechnya and Pushkin
  • January 01, 2008

Rostropovich, Chechnya and Pushkin

A review of recent books on Mstislav Rostropovich, Chechnya and the future of Russia, plus a new translation of Pushkin's The Captain's Daughter.
Galina Vishnevskaya
  • January 01, 2013

Galina Vishnevskaya

A look back at the life and contribution of opera singer, actress and dissident Galina Vishnevskaya, who passed away in December.
Rediscovering Herzen

Rediscovering Herzen

The NY Times looks at Herzen and his connection to the Stoppard play that has been getting buzz in recent years.
Alexander Ivanovich Herzen
  • February 29, 2012

Alexander Ivanovich Herzen

The Russian writer Alexander Ivanovich Herzen was born in Moscow on March 25, 1812 (April 6, New Style). Thanks to a famous phrase from Lenin’s “In Memory of Herzen” – “The Decembrists awakened Herzen. Herzen began the task of revolutionary agitation.” – everyone who grew up in the Soviet Union knew Herzen’s name, whether or not they had ever read a line of his work.
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Some of Our Books

Moscow and Muscovites

Moscow and Muscovites

Vladimir Gilyarovsky's classic portrait of the Russian capital is one of Russians’ most beloved books. Yet it has never before been translated into English. Until now! It is a spectactular verbal pastiche: conversation, from gutter gibberish to the drawing room; oratory, from illiterates to aristocrats; prose, from boilerplate to Tolstoy; poetry, from earthy humor to Pushkin. 
The Best of Russian Life

The Best of Russian Life

We culled through 15 years of Russian Life to select readers’ and editors’ favorite stories and biographies for inclusion in a special two-volume collection. Totalling over 1100 pages, these two volumes encompass some of the best writing we have published over the last two decades, and include the most timeless stories and biographies – those that can be read again and again.
At the Circus

At the Circus

This wonderful novella by Alexander Kuprin tells the story of the wrestler Arbuzov and his battle against a renowned American wrestler. Rich in detail and characterization, At the Circus brims with excitement and life. You can smell the sawdust in the big top, see the vivid and colorful characters, sense the tension build as Arbuzov readies to face off against the American.
Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

A book that dares to explore the humanity of priests and pilgrims, saints and sinners, Faith & Humor has been both a runaway bestseller in Russia and the focus of heated controversy – as often happens when a thoughtful writer takes on sacred cows. The stories, aphorisms, anecdotes, dialogues and adventures in this volume comprise an encyclopedia of modern Russian Orthodoxy, and thereby of Russian life.
A Taste of Russia

A Taste of Russia

The definitive modern cookbook on Russian cuisine has been totally updated and redesigned in a 30th Anniversary Edition. Layering superbly researched recipes with informative essays on the dishes' rich historical and cultural context, A Taste of Russia includes over 200 recipes on everything from borshch to blini, from Salmon Coulibiac to Beef Stew with Rum, from Marinated Mushrooms to Walnut-honey Filled Pies. A Taste of Russia shows off the best that Russian cooking has to offer. Full of great quotes from Russian literature about Russian food and designed in a convenient wide format that stays open during use.
93 Untranslatable Russian Words

93 Untranslatable Russian Words

Every language has concepts, ideas, words and idioms that are nearly impossible to translate into another language. This book looks at nearly 100 such Russian words and offers paths to their understanding and translation by way of examples from literature and everyday life. Difficult to translate words and concepts are introduced with dictionary definitions, then elucidated with citations from literature, speech and prose, helping the student of Russian comprehend the word/concept in context.
Fish: A History of One Migration

Fish: A History of One Migration

This mesmerizing novel from one of Russia’s most important modern authors traces the life journey of a selfless Russian everywoman. In the wake of the Soviet breakup, inexorable forces drag Vera across the breadth of the Russian empire. Facing a relentless onslaught of human and social trials, she swims against the current of life, countering adversity and pain with compassion and hope, in many ways personifying Mother Russia’s torment and resilience amid the Soviet disintegration.
Marooned in Moscow

Marooned in Moscow

This gripping autobiography plays out against the backdrop of Russia's bloody Civil War, and was one of the first Western eyewitness accounts of life in post-revolutionary Russia. Marooned in Moscow provides a fascinating account of one woman's entry into war-torn Russia in early 1920, first-person impressions of many in the top Soviet leadership, and accounts of the author's increasingly dangerous work as a journalist and spy, to say nothing of her work on behalf of prisoners, her two arrests, and her eventual ten-month-long imprisonment, including in the infamous Lubyanka prison. It is a veritable encyclopedia of life in Russia in the early 1920s.
The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

This exciting new trilogy by a Russian author – who has been compared to Orhan Pamuk and Umberto Eco – vividly recreates a lost world, yet its passions and characters are entirely relevant to the present day. Full of mystery, memorable characters, and non-stop adventure, The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas is a must read for lovers of historical fiction and international thrillers.  

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Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

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