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About Marian Schwartz
Marian Schwartz translates Russian classic and contemporary fiction, history, biography, criticism, and fine art. She is the principal English translator of the works of Nina Berberova and translated the New York Times’ bestseller The Last Tsar, by Edvard Radzinsky, as well as classics by Mikhail Bulgakov, Ivan Goncharov, Yuri Olesha, Mikhail Lermontov, and Leo Tolstoy. Her most recent publications are Polina Dashkova's Madness Treads Lightly, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's March 1917: The Red Wheel, Node III, Book 1, and Leonid Yuzefovich’s Horsemen of the Sands. She is a past president of the American Literary Translators Association and the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts translation fellowships and numerous prizes, including the 2014 Read Russia Prize for Contemporary Russian Literature, the 2016 Soeurette Diehl Frasier Award from the Texas Institute of Letters, and the 2018 Linda Gaboriau Award for Translation from the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. https://www.marianschwartz.com/
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White Guard, Mikhail Bulgakov’s semi-autobiographical first novel, is the story of the Turbin family in Kiev in 1918. Alexei, Elena, and Nikolka Turbin have just lost their mother—their father had died years before—and find themselves plunged into the chaotic civil war that erupted in the Ukraine in the wake of the Russian Revolution. In the context of this family’s personal loss and the social turmoil surrounding them, Bulgakov creates a brilliant picture of the existential crises brought about by the revolution and the loss of social, moral, and political certainties. He confronts the reader with the bewildering cruelty that ripped Russian life apart at the beginning of the last century as well as with the extraordinary ways in which the Turbins preserved their humanity.
In this volume Marian Schwartz, a leading translator, offers the first complete and accurate translation of the definitive original text of Bulgakov’s novel. She includes the famous dream sequence, omitted in previous translations, and beautifully solves the stylistic issues raised by Bulgakov’s ornamental prose. Readers with an interest in Russian literature, culture, or history will welcome this superb translation of Bulgakov’s important early work.
This edition also contains an informative historical essay by Evgeny Dobrenko.
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, the University of Notre Dame Press is proud to publish Nobel Prize–winner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s epic work March 1917, Node III, Book 1, of The Red Wheel.
The Red Wheel is Solzhenitsyn’s magnum opus about the Russian Revolution. Solzhenitsyn tells this story in the form of a meticulously researched historical novel, supplemented by newspaper headlines of the day, fragments of street action, cinematic screenplay, and historical overview. The first two nodes—August 1914 and November 1916—focus on Russia’s crises and recovery, on revolutionary terrorism and its suppression, on the missed opportunity of Pyotr Stolypin’s reforms, and how the surge of patriotism in August 1914 soured as Russia bled in World War I.
March 1917—the third node—tells the story of the Russian Revolution itself, during which not only does the Imperial government melt in the face of the mob, but the leaders of the opposition prove utterly incapable of controlling the course of events. The action of book 1 (of four) of March 1917 is set during March 8–12. The absorbing narrative tells the stories of more than fifty characters during the days when the Russian Empire begins to crumble. Bread riots in the capital, Petrograd, go unchecked at first, and the police are beaten and killed by mobs. Efforts to put down the violence using the army trigger a mutiny in the numerous reserve regiments housed in the city, who kill their officers and rampage. The anti-Tsarist bourgeois opposition, horrified by the violence, scrambles to declare that it is provisionally taking power, while socialists immediately create a Soviet alternative to undermine it. Meanwhile, Emperor Nikolai II is away at military headquarters and his wife Aleksandra is isolated outside Petrograd, caring for their sick children. Suddenly, the viability of the Russian state itself is called into question.
The Red Wheel has been compared to Tolstoy’s War and Peace, for each work aims to narrate the story of an era in a way that elevates its universal significance. In much the same way as Homer’s Iliad became the representative account of the Greek world and therefore the basis for Greek civilization, these historical epics perform a parallel role for our modern world.
In 1990s Russia, the wife and stepdaughter of a paralyzed veteran conceal the Soviet Union’s collapse from him in order to keep him—and his pension—alive.
Olga Slavnikova’s The Man Who Couldn’t Die tells the story of how two women try to prolong a life—and the means and meaning of their own lives—by creating a world that doesn’t change, a Soviet Union that never crumbled.
After her stepfather’s stroke, Marina hangs Brezhnev’s portrait on the wall, edits the Pravda articles read to him, and uses her media connections to cobble together entire newscasts of events that never happened. Meanwhile, her mother, Nina Alexandrovna, can barely navigate the bewildering new world outside, especially in comparison to the blunt reality of her uncommunicative husband. As Marina is caught up in a local election campaign that gets out of hand, Nina discovers that her husband is conspiring as well—to kill himself and put an end to the charade.
Masterfully translated by Marian Schwartz, The Man Who Couldn’t Die is a darkly playful vision of the lost Soviet past and the madness of the post-Soviet world that uses Russia’s modern history as a backdrop for an inquiry into larger metaphysical questions.
“Darkly sardonic…oddly timely, for there are all sorts of understated hints about voter fraud, graft, payoffs, and the endless promises of politicians who have no intention of keeping them…. Slavnikova is a writer American readers will want to have more of.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A funhouse mirror worth looking into, especially in today’s United States with its alternative facts, unpoetic assertions, and morbid relationship with the past.”—Leeore Schnairsohn, Los Angeles Review of Books
The first English-language collection of short stories by Russia's greatest contemporary author, Mikhail Shishkin, the only author to win all three of Russia's most prestigious literary awards.
Often included in discussions of Nobel Prize contenders, Shishkin is a master prose writer in the breathtakingly beautiful style of the greatest Russian authors, known for complex, allusive novels about universal and emotional themes. Shishkin's stories read like modern versions of the eternal literature written by his greatest inspirations: Boris Pasternak, Ivan Bunin, Leo Tolstoy, and Mikhail Bulgakov.
Shishkin's short fiction is the perfect introduction to his breathtaking oeuvre, his stories touch on the same big themes as his novels, spanning discussions of love and loss, death and eternal life, emigration and exile.
Calligraphy Lesson spans Shishkin's entire writing career, including his first published story, the 1993 Debut Prize–winning "Calligraphy Lesson," and his most recent story "Nabokov's Inkblot," which was written for a dramatic adaptation performed in Zurich in 2013.
Mikhail Shishkin (b. 1961 in Moscow) is one of the most prominent names in contemporary Russian literature. A former interpreter for refugees in Switzerland, Shishkin divides his time between Moscow, Switzerland, and Germany.
One of the delights of Russian literature, a tour de force that has been compared to the best of Nabokov and Bulgakov, Yuri Olesha’s novella Envy brings together cutting social satire, slapstick humor, and a wild visionary streak. Andrei is a model Soviet citizen, a swaggeringly self-satisfied mogul of the food industry who intends to revolutionize modern life with mass-produced sausage. Nikolai is a loser. Finding him drunk in the gutter, Andrei gives him a bed for the night and a job as a gofer. Nikolai takes what he can, but that doesn’t mean he’s grateful. Griping, sulking, grovelingly abject, he despises everything Andrei believes in, even if he envies him his every breath.
Producer and sponger, insider and outcast, master and man fight back and forth in the pages of Olesha’s anarchic comedy. It is a contest of wills in which nothing is sure except the incorrigible human heart.
Marian Schwartz’s new English translation of Envy brilliantly captures the energy of Olesha’s masterpiece.
Tolstoy’s romantic Anna, long-suffering Karenin, dashing Vronsky, and dozens of their family members, friends, and neighbors are among the most vivid characters in world literature. In the thought-provoking Introduction to this volume, Gary Saul Morson provides unusual insights into these characters, exploring what they reveal about Tolstoy’s radical conclusions on romantic love, intellectual dishonesty, the nature of happiness, the course of true evil, and more. For readers at every stagefrom students first encountering Anna to literary professionals revisiting the novelthis volume will stand as the English reader’s clear first choice.
If you like to read about pink flowers, good fortune, and pleasant people, this book is not for you. This story is about pain, sorrow, and horror of near death. This book is also an extraordinary personal testament, the story of one boy’s triumph in the face of impossible obstacles. What does not kill you will make you stronger. This book can make you stronger. That is if you have enough courage to read it from the beginning to the end.