Russians, war, and literature

Russian novels seem to be a hot topic lately.

A month ago, there was a brief story about the publication of the “original” version of Tolstoy’s epic, War and Peace. For those of you who have read this blog, you know that I was anxiously awaiting the most recent Pevear and Volokhonsky translation of the novel (and let me tell you, its beauty warms my shallow reading heart: it’s a fat book, with rough-cut pages and a pretty cover–once the semester winds down a bit I plan on delving into it and providing a few posts on the translation itself). I’m interested in this “original” version, not because I believe it is the version Tolstoy planned to publish, but I’m interested in it as a draft and as a piece of scholarship (apparently it is the result of one Russian scholar’s painstaking research and attempts to piece it together).

However, there appears to be a bit of a brouhaha over the whole affair. The Guardian has an article about it: clickety-click here for more.

In addition, Scott Esposito of Conversational Reading posted a link to an interesting article in the London Review of Books about Vassily Grossman’s Life and Fate and the impact that Tolstoy’s War and Peace had on Grossman.  I definitely have Life and Fate on my list for the Russian Reading Challenge (starting in January), and now I want to add Anthony Beevor and Luba Vinogradova’s non-fiction work about Grossman, A Writer At War: A Soviet Journalist with the Red Army, 1941-1945, to the list.  For a review of Beevor and Vinogradova’s book, check out A Quarterly Conversation’s review here.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. I had no idea this book (the “original”) was being published. I look forward to your future posts on it. I read the Anthony Briggs translation. I’d like to read the new Pevear translation as well, but maybe next year.

    Reply

  2. Excellent post. Thought you might be interested in this list of classic Russian novels.

    Reply

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