For most of the 20th century Russia existed under some form of dictatorship--with the paradoxical effect that in Russia literature continued to matter as it did in a few other countryes. From Tolystoy and Chekhov to the generation of exiles that includes Nabokov, Sinyavsky, and Solzhenitsyn, the writers of modern Russia have possessed the power to enrage tyrants, to inspire allegiance and devotion in their readers, and to speak for the suffocating conscience of their motherland, even when they are addressing the least political of issues. At their best, their writings is informed by the exhilarated awareness of that potential--and the responsibility that goes with it.
Clarence Brown's marvelous collection introduces readers to the most resonant voices of twentieth-century Russia. It includes stories by Chekhov, Gorky, Bunin, Zamyatin, Babel, Nabokov, Solzhenitsyn, and Voinovich; excerpts from Andrei Bely's Petersburg, Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita, Boris Pasternak's Dr. Zhivago, and Sasha Solokov's A School for Fools; the complete text of Yuri Olesha's 1927 masterpiece Envy; and poetry by Alexander Blok, Anna Akhmatova, and Osip Mandelstam.
Clarence Brown is an acclaimed translator and professor of comparative literature at Princeton University. He is the translator of the Penguin Classics edition of We by Yevgeny Zamyatin.
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