A book judged so dangerous in the Soviet Union that not only the manuscript but the ribbons on which it had been typed were confiscated by the state, Life and Fate is an epic tale of World War II and a profound reckoning with the dark forces that dominated the twentieth century. Interweaving a transfixing account of the battle of Stalingrad with the story of a single middle-class family, the Shaposhnikovs, scattered by fortune from Germany to Siberia, Vasily Grossman fashions an immense, intricately detailed tapestry depicting a time of almost unimaginable horror and even stranger hope.Life and Fate juxtaposes bedrooms and snipers’ nests, scientific laboratories and the Gulag, taking us deep into the hearts and minds of characters ranging from a boy on his way to the gas chambers to Hitler and Stalin themselves. This novel of unsparing realism and visionary moral intensity is one of the supreme achievements of modern Russian literature.
In April 1942, Hitler and Mussolini meet in Salzburg where they agree on a renewed assault on the Soviet Union. Launched in the summer, the campaign soon picked up speed, as the routed Red Army is driven back to the industrial center of Stalingrad on the banks of the Volga. In the rubble of the bombed-out city, Soviet forces dig in for a last stand. Even as the Germans advance, the Shaposhnikov matriarch, Alexandra Vladimirovna, refuses to leave Stalingrad. Far from the front, her eldest daughter, Ludmila, is unhappily married to the Jewish physicist Viktor Shtrum. Viktor’s research may be of crucial military importance, but he is distracted by thoughts of his mother in the Ukraine, lost behind German lines. -- adapted from back cover
Completed in the late 1950s by its distinguished Russian author, this novel has been recognized as fiction on an epic scale: powerful, deeply moving, and devastating in its depiction of a world mutilated by war and ideological tyranny.
The Road rings together short stories, journalism, essays, and letters by Vasily Grossman, the author of Life and Fate, providing new insight into the life and work of this extraordinary writer. The stories range from Grossman’s first success, “In the Town of Berdichev,” a piercing reckoning with the cost of war, to such haunting later works as “Mama,” based on the life of a girl who was adopted at the height of the Great Terror by the head of the NKVD and packed off to an orphanage after her father’s downfall. The girl grows up struggling with the discovery that the parents she cherishes in memory are part of a collective nightmare that everyone else wishes to forget. The Road also includes the complete text of Grossman’s harrowing report from Treblinka, one of the first anatomies of the workings of a death camp; “The Sistine Madonna,” a reflection on art and atrocity; as well as two heartbreaking letters that Grossman wrote to his mother after her death at the hands of the Nazis and carried with him for the rest of his life. Meticulously edited and presented by Robert Chandler, The Road allows us to see one of the great figures of twentieth-century literature discovering his calling both as a writer and as a man.
Considered Teffi’s single greatest work, Memories: From Moscow to the Black Sea is a deeply personal account of the author’s last months in Russia and Ukraine, suffused with her acute awareness of the political currents churning around her, many of which have now resurfaced. In 1918, in the immediate aftermath of the Russian Revolution, Teffi, whose stories and journalism had made her a celebrity in Moscow, was invited to read from her work in Ukraine. She accepted the invitation eagerly, though she had every intention of returning home. As it happened, her trip ended four years later in Paris, where she would spend the rest of her life in exile. None of this was foreseeable when she arrived in German-occupied Kiev to discover a hotbed of artistic energy and experimentation. When Kiev fell several months later to Ukrainian nationalists, Teffi fled south to Odessa, then on to the port of Novorossiysk, from which she embarked at last for Constantinople. Danger and death threaten throughout Memories, even as the book displays the brilliant style, keen eye, comic gift, and deep feeling that have made Teffi one of the most beloved of twentieth-century Russian writers.
With kaleidoscopic, trenchant, path-breaking insights, Elizabeth D. Samet has produced the most ambitious edition of Ulysses Grant’s Memoirs yet published. One hundred and thirty-three years after its 1885 publication by Mark Twain, Elizabeth Samet has annotated this lavish edition of Grant’s landmark memoir, and expands the Civil War backdrop against which this monumental American life is typically read. No previous edition combines such a sweep of historical and cultural contexts with the literary authority that Samet, an English professor obsessed with Grant for decades, brings to the table. Whether exploring novels Grant read at West Point or presenting majestic images culled from archives, Samet curates a richly annotated, highly collectible edition that will fascinate Civil War buffs. The edition also breaks new ground in its attack on the “Lost Cause” revisionism that still distorts our national conversation about the legacy of the Civil War. Never has Grant’s transformation from tanner’s son to military leader been more insightfully and passionately explained than in this timely edition, appearing on the 150th anniversary of Grant’s 1868 presidential election.
An NYRB Classics Original Alexander Pushkin’s short novel is set during the reign of Catherine the Great, when the Cossacks rose up in rebellion against the Russian empress. Presented as the memoir of Pyotr Grinyov, a nobleman, The Captain’s Daughter tells how, as a feckless youth and fledgling officer, Grinyov was sent from St. Petersburg to serve in faraway southern Russia. Traveling to take up this new post, Grinyov loses his shirt gambling and then loses his way in a terrible snowstorm, only to be guided to safety by a mysterious peasant. With impulsive gratitude Grinyov hands over his fur coat to his savior, never mind the cold. Soon after he arrives at Fort Belogorsk, Grinyov falls in love with Masha, the beautiful young daughter of his captain. Then Pugachev, leader of the Cossack rebellion, surrounds the fort. Resistance, he has made it clear, will be met with death. At once a fairy tale and a thrilling historical novel, this singularly Russian work of the imagination is also a timeless, universal, and very winning story of how love and duty can summon pluck and luck to confront calamity.
Early in her literary career Nadezhda Lokhvitskaya, born in St. Petersburg in 1872, adopted the pen-name of Teffi, and it is as Teffi that she is remembered. In prerevolutionary Russia she was a literary star, known for her humorous satirical pieces; in the 1920s and 30s, she wrote some of her finest stories in exile in Paris, recalling her unforgettable encounters with Rasputin, and her hopeful visit at age thirteen to Tolstoy after reading War and Peace. In this selection of her best autobiographical stories, she covers a wide range of subjects, from family life to revolution and emigration, writers and writing. Like Nabokov, Platonov, and other great Russian prose writers, Teffi was a poet who turned to prose but continued to write with a poet’s sensitivity to tone and rhythm. Like Chekhov, she fuses wit, tragedy, and a remarkable capacity for observation; there are few human weaknesses she did not relate to with compassion and understanding.
Release on 2018-04-19 | by Andrew Kahn,Mark Lipovetsky,Irina Reyfman,Stephanie Sandler
Author: Andrew Kahn,Mark Lipovetsky,Irina Reyfman,Stephanie Sandler
Pubpsher: Oxford University Press
Category: Literary Collections
Russia possesses one of the richest and most admired literatures of Europe, reaching back to the eleventh century. A History of Russian Literature provides a comprehensive account of Russian writing from its earliest origins in the monastic works of Kiev up to the present day, still rife with the creative experiments of post-Soviet literary life. The volume proceeds chronologically in five parts, extending from Kievan Rus' in the 11th century to the present day.The coverage strikes a balance between extensive overview and in-depth thematic focus. Parts are organized thematically in chapters, which a number of keywords that are important literary concepts that can serve as connecting motifs and 'case studies', in-depth discussions of writers, institutions, and texts that take the reader up close and. Visual material also underscores the interrelation of the word and image at a number of points, particularly significant in the medieval period and twentieth century. The History addresses major continuities and discontinuities in the history of Russian literature across all periods, and in particular bring out trans-historical features that contribute to the notion of a national literature. The volume's time-range has the merit of identifying from the early modern period a vital set of national stereotypes and popular folklore about boundaries, space, Holy Russia, and the charismatic king that offers culturally relevant material to later writers. This volume delivers a fresh view on a series of key questions about Russia's literary history, by providing new mappings of literary history and a narrative that pursues key concepts (rather more than individual authorial careers). This holistic narrative underscores the ways in which context and text are densely woven in Russian literature, and demonstrates that the most exciting way to understand the canon and the development of tradition is through a discussion of the interrelation of major and minor figures, historical events and literary politics, literary theory and literary innovation.
A New York Review Books Original Everything Flows is Vasily Grossman’s final testament, written after the Soviet authorities suppressed his masterpiece, Life and Fate. The main story is simple: released after thirty years in the Soviet camps, Ivan Grigoryevich must struggle to find a place for himself in an unfamiliar world. But in a novel that seeks to take in the whole tragedy of Soviet history, Ivan’s story is only one among many. Thus we also hear about Ivan’s cousin, Nikolay, a scientist who never let his conscience interfere with his career, and Pinegin, the informer who got Ivan sent to the camps. Then a brilliant short play interrupts the narrative: a series of informers steps forward, each making excuses for the inexcusable things that he did—inexcusable and yet, the informers plead, in Stalinist Russia understandable, almost unavoidable. And at the core of the book, we find the story of Anna Sergeyevna, Ivan’s lover, who tells about her eager involvement as an activist in the Terror famine of 1932–33, which led to the deaths of three to five million Ukrainian peasants. Here Everything Flows attains an unbearable lucidity comparable to the last cantos of Dante’s Inferno.