Hailed as one of the most important Eastern European writers of the post-Communist era, Pavel Vilikovsky actually began his career in 1965. But the political content of his writing and its straightforward treatment of such taboo topics as bisexuality kept him from publishing the works collected here until after the Velvet Revolution.
The author of several volumes of poetry in Russian and English, Ilya Kutik is also a consummate essayist in the Russian tradition: aphoristic, allusive, deploying unlikely juxtapositions and poetic measures to arrive at surprising and gratifying insights. In this first English-language collection of Kutik's essays, readers encounter one of the best and most original contemporary Russian stylists.
The Life of Arseniev: Youth
Ivan Bunin Northwestern University Press, 1994 Library of Congress PG3453.B9Z213 1994 | Dewey Decimal 891.733
Ivan Bunin was the first Russian writer of the twentieth century to be award the Nobel Prize in literature. Like many other Russian writers, he emigrated after the Revolution and never returned to his homeland; The Life of Arseniev is the major work of his émigré period.
In ways similar to Nabokov's Speak, Memory, Bunin's novel powerfully evokes the atmosphere of Russia in the decades before the Revolution and illuminates those Russian literary and cultural traditions eradicated in the Soviet era. This first full English-language edition updates earlier translations, taking as its source the version Bunin revised in 1952, and including an introduction and annotations by Andrew Baruch Wachtel.
The novella and two short stories that make up this volume were written at three different periods in Makanin's life, yet they are united by their narrative and stylistic invention, their range of human emotion, and the profound humanity of their prose. Though banished and suppressed in the Brezhnev era, Makanin is now recognized as one of Russia's leading writers.
In his celebrated short story "The Prisoner of the Caucasus," two Russian soldiers take a Chechen prisoner during the war, and as events unfold, Makanin reveals the casual brutality of the war but also the secret truths of the character's lives. In the novella The Loss, Pekalov, a drunkard and dreamer obsessed with the idea of building a tunnel under the Ural River, disappears in a ditch while working and is made a saint by the people of his village. "Klyucharyov and Alimushkin" tells the story of what happens when one man becomes remarkably lucky while the other loses all his luck.
In this groundbreaking book, four distinguished scholars offer a detailed exploration of the ballet Petrushka, which premiered in Paris in 1911 and became one of the most important and influential theatrical works of the modernist period. The first book to study every level of a complex theatrical production, this is a work unlike any other in Russian or theater studies.
"The book is a joy to read." --Slavic Review
These newly collected short stories reveal a master at the top of his game. Drago Jancar possesses an acute understanding of the human psyche, enabling his stories to resonate beyond their particular milieu. This collection features seven pieces, drawn from four different collections, that together present the struggle of individuals against powerful forces. The characters try to make sense of a world of shifting borders and changing names that make the idea of a "homeland"—either literal or figurative—a dream rather than a reality.
More than any other art form, literature defined Eastern Europe as a cultural and political entity in the second half of the twentieth century. Although often persecuted by the state, East European writers formed what was frequently recognized to be a "second government," and their voices were heard and revered inside and outside the borders of their countries. This study by one of our most influential specialists on Eastern Europe considers the effects of the end of communism on such writers.
According to Andrew Baruch Wachtel, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the creation of fledgling societies in Eastern Europe brought an end to the conditions that put the region's writers on a pedestal. In the euphoria that accompanied democracy and free markets, writers were liberated from the burden of grandiose political expectations. But no group is happy to lose its influence: despite recognizing that their exalted social position was related to their reputation for challenging political oppression, such writers have worked hard to retain their status, inventing a series of new strategies for this purpose. Remaining Relevant after Communism considers these strategies—from pulp fiction to public service—documenting what has happened on the East European scene since 1989.
The Second Book
Muharem Bazdulj Northwestern University Press, 2005 Library of Congress PG1420.12.A93D7813 2005 | Dewey Decimal 891.8236
The protagonists of The Second Book, are connected vertically and horizontally by their struggles. Nietzsche, on the edge of madness, spends a number of mornings contemplating his sweeping ideas and the tiny details of life through hazes left by "the gluey fingers of sleep." In "The Hot Sun's Golden Circle," the pharaoh Amenhotep IV, discoverer of monotheism, embarks on a search for the only true god of Egypt. Bazdulj's charming and funny "The Story of Two Brothers" examines the lives of William and Henry James from the shadows of the Old Testament and the age-old archetype of conflict between an eldest brother and the "maladjusted impracticality" of the younger.
Muharem Bazdulj has broken from the pack of new Eastern European writers influenced by innovators such as Danilo Kiš, Milan Kundera, and Jorge Luis Borges. Employing a light touch, a daring anti-nationalist tone, and the kind of ambition that inspires nothing less than a rewriting of Bosnian and Yugoslavian history, Bazdulj weaves the imagined realities of history into fiction and fiction into history. To quote one critic, for Bazdulj history "is the sum of interpretations while imagination is the sum of facts."
Although Tolstoy's fame rests on his novels, he was also a prolific dramatist. Because his plays are satirical, didactic, and colored by complex peasant dialect, earlier translations have been seriously flawed. These imperfect translations, coupled with Tolstoy's famous polemics against Shakespeare and Chekhov, have reinforced the general misapprehension that Tolstoy was not a dramatist.
Now noted Slavic philologist Marvin Kantor and Tatiana Tulchinsky have prepared the first complete English translation of the great writer's plays. This volume contains plays written during the years 1894 to 1910, including:
Peter the Breadman And the Light Shineth in Darkness The Living Corpse The Wisdom of Children The Traveler and the Peasant The Cause of It All
Marek Bienczyk Northwestern University Press, 2008 Library of Congress PG7161.I319T913 2008 | Dewey Decimal 891.8538
In Tworki, a village just southwest of Warsaw, there is a psychiatric hospital and in that hospital, the patients and their caretakers are hidden from the war just outside their iron gates. Our hero, Jurek, answers an ad in the paper for a job there and finds himself keeping the books alongside a knockout strawberry blonde named Sonia. They and their group of friends—vital young people like Marcel, an initial rival for Jurek; Olek, Sonia’s chosen love; and Janka, with whom Jurek becomes involved—do their jobs, picnic on the weekends, and dance in the gardens on the grounds of the hospital. Jurek speaks often of, and even in, verse, whether he is talking to his friends or in letters to a distant and admiring cousin. He and his friends live lives that defy the discord and destruction of the war in Europe, striving to rediscover or save whatever beauty they can. Much of this beauty is embodied by Sonia, who is beloved of all the friends and patients at the asylum. But the revitalizing spring they all hope will come for Poland is not to arrive this year. Despite the relative safety of their odd surroundings, the world and the war soon come for the friends. Olek’s absences are longer and unexplained. Marcel is not what he seems, and he and his wife mysteriously disappear, she says, to the gas. And the perfection that Sonia embodies cannot ultimately be kept, by the friends, by the nation, or even by Sonia herself.
A Voice: Selected Poems
Anzhelina Polonskaya Northwestern University Press, 2004 Library of Congress PG3485.2.L59A288 2004 | Dewey Decimal 891.715
Anzhelina Polonskaya is considered one of the freshest voices among young Russian poets. Unlike most of her contemporaries, she was not educated in the classic literary tradition, nor nurtured by the well-known Moscow and Petersburg journals. This has freed her from self-consciously struggling under the weight of her country's literary tradition, and her independent, even idiosyncratic, voice informs poems filled with sharp images, acute observations, and both the pains and joys of personal experience.
Drawn from her most recent Russian collections, A Voice: Selected Poems explores the poet's ongoing fascinations—desolate places, long journeys, a synesthesia of sensory stimulation, and the presence of death. Also on display is her Chekhovian gift for unexpected closure. This is a promising English-language debut from a poet already gaining international attention.