Tag Archives: Russian literature

Literary roundup: The apartment of Russia’s King Lear and Tolstoy the outrageous

At The Moscow Times, John Freedman writes about discovering that the unassuming Moscow apartment building he passed countless times had belonged to Russian/Soviet/Yiddish theater legend Solomon Mikhoels. As Freedman notes, Mikhoels performance of King Lear was his most famous and celebrated role along with that of Tevye the Milkman (best-known worldwide in adaptation in Fiddler […]

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Literary roundup: Russian canons and man-made dystopias

At Russia Beyond the Headlines Alexander Genis asks whether Russia could have a Norton-like anthology of its literature, in spite of all the debate that surrounds these anthologies and the canons they imply. Russia though, especially in the 20th century, presents some unique challenges: “Perhaps, the solution is to end the list at 1917. As […]

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Literary roundup: Russian decadence, a duel and the man who never wore glasses

Oxford University is the site of a conference on the last two decades of Russian literature titled Decadence or Renaissance? Russian literature since 1991 that starts today. Besides all the academic speakers discussing issues as diverse as the latest wave of Russian and Russian-Jewish emigration, political novels, counter-culture and oil, there are two guest authors […]

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Leonid Tsypkin’s last few kilometers

There is something as poetic as it is sad that one of the great Russian-Jewish writers of the latter half of the 20th century worked as a pathologist (worked, that is, until the powers that be demoted and eventually fired him). The New Yorker has a very short story by the magnificent author of Summer […]

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Russian books and stories, or Tolstoy in a winter landscape

The 25th Moscow International Book Fair wrapped up today and if the scant English-language news coverage is any indication, either this particular event is somewhat backward looking or else the Iron Curtain has redescended across the Continent recently without my noticing. Here are some of the headlines relating to the fair: “Books by Fidel Castro […]

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Literary roundup: Russian women and Russian words

At Russia Beyond the Headlines there is an interview with Boris Pasternak’s nephew Nicolas Pasternak Slater talking about his translation of the correspondence between his family and his famous uncle as well as his current project of preparing a trilingual edition of his mother Lydia Pasternak’s poetry for publication (she wrote poetry in Russian, German […]

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St. Petersburg’s lost poet

Today marks what would have been the 72nd birthday of poet Joseph Brodsky. Two months after his death in January 1996, Czeslaw Milosz wrote in Index on Censorship of what was at stake in Brodsky’s poetry:  “In one of his essays Brodsky reflected that Mandelstam was a poet of culture. He too was a poet […]

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Literary roundup: Rossica Prize for best post-horses of enlightenment

Congratulations to John Elsworth for winning this year’s Rossica Translation Prize for his translation of Andrei Bely’s Petersburg. I don’t remember exactly how he put it but I remember Nabokov writing how untranslatable the novel is. Hopefully, this means he was wrong. The other shortlisted books all sound great – and include Vasily Grossman’s The […]

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Literary roundup: Jerusalem Festival and a publisher’s campaign

“The mist that came from the Mediterranean sea blotted out the city that Pilate so detested. The suspension bridges connecting the temple with the grim fortress of Antonia vanished, the murk descended from the sky and drowned the winged gods above the hippodrome, the crenellated Hasmonaean palace, the bazaars, the caravanserai, the alleyways, the pools […]

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Literary roundup: Russia’s sacred monsters

Big Russian novels are in the air as of late. At The Millions eight experts weigh in on George Steiner’s Tolstoy or Dostoevsky question. I read Steiner’s book a fairly long time ago and don’t remember him actually answering that question, which seems to be the standard reaction among the experts. Actually, I think the […]

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