Russian Library

The Series

In December of 2016, the Russian Library at Columbia University Press began publishing an expansive selection of Russian literature in English translation, concentrating on works previously unavailable in English and those ripe for new translations. Works of premodern, modern, and contemporary literature will be featured, including recent writing. The series seeks to demonstrate the breadth, surprising variety, and global importance of the Russian literary tradition and will include not only novels but also short stories, plays, poetry, memoirs, creative nonfiction, and works of mixed or fluid genre.

 

Published books

Sentimental Tales, by Mikhail Zoshchenko, translated by Boris Drayluk

Redemption, by Frederich Gorenstein, translated by Andrew Bromfield

Sisters of the Cross, by Alexei Remizov, translated by Roger Keys and Brian Murphy

Found Life: Poems, Stories, Comics, a Play, and an Interview, by Linor Goralik, edited by Ainsley Morse, Maria Vassileva, and Maya Vinokour

Writings from the Golden Age of Russian Poetry, by Konstantin Batyushkov, presented and translated by Peter France

City Folk and Country Folk, by Sofia Khovshchinskaya, translated by Nora Seligman Favorov

Rapture: A Novel, by Iliazd, translated by Thomas J. Kitson

Strolls with Pushkin, by Andrei Sinyavsky, translated by Catharine Theimer Nepomnyashchy and Slava I. Yastremski

Fourteen Little Red Huts and Other Plays, by Andrei Platonov, edited by Robert Chandler, translated by Robert Chandler, Jesse Irwin, and Susan Larsen

Between Dog and Wolf, by Sasha Sokolov, translated and annotated by Alexander Boguslawski

Forthcoming books

We are pleased to announce the following forthcoming books in the Russian Library series at Columbia University Press:

Selected Prose, by Alexei Remizov, translated by Antonina Bouis

Russian New Drama, edited by  Maksim Hanukai and Susanna Weygandt

Klotsvog, by Margarita Khemlin, translated by Lisa Hayden

Russia at War, edited by Donna Orwin

Journey From St. Petersburg to Moscow, by Aleksander Radishchev, translated by Andrew Kahn and Irina Reyfman

Necropolis, by Vladislav Khodasevich, translated by Sarah Vitali

A Double Life, by Karolina Pavlova, translated by Barbara Heldt

The Man Who Couldn’t Die, by Olga Slavnikova, translated by Marian Schwartz

Fandango and Other Stories, by Alexander Grin, translated by Bryan Karetnyk

Woe from Wit, by Alexander Griboedov, translated by Betsy Hulick

Nikolai Nikolaevich, by Yuz Aleshkovsky, translated by Duffield White, edited by Susanne Fusso

The Nose and Other Stories, by Nikolai Gogol, translated by Sussanne Fusso

Praise for Russian Library Publications and the Series

The New York Times reports on the announcement of the series.

The Russian Library is a new series of Russian literature in translation from Columbia University Press under the editorship of Christine Dunbar. There is a focus on works unavailable in English or overdue for a new translation. The series published its first three volumes in December 2016, and the two discussed here – City Folk and Country Folk and Rapture – comprise its fourth and fifth installments. Together, as I hope this review has shown, the two books speak to the vibrancy of the series, and demonstrate its range and the good service it is performing in making these  works available at last to anglophone audiences. Since its launch, the series has already enhanced the scope of Russian literary texts available in English, and it promises significantly more to come, with planned titles ranging from the eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries, by both new and established translators. – Katherine Bowers, Translation and Literature

For Between Dog and Wolf:

One feels the caliber and creativity of the original. This is a riot of language, invaluable for scholars and fascinating to the curious.Publishers Weekly

Intricate and rewarding—a Russian Finnegans Wake. – Vanity Fair

For Fourteen Little Red Huts and Other Plays:

Part horror story, part ideological stand-up comedy, Platonov’s plays depict an absurd, nightmarish world in which hope and cynicism are inextricable. Their publication in this appropriately clever and meticulously annotated translation serves as an important contribution to our understanding of one of the twentieth century’s most tragic chapters. – Eric Naiman, author of Nabokov, Perversely

This collection of three plays by Andrei Platonov brings still more of his remarkable output tothe attention of an English-language readership. Marginalized by Soviet literary officialdom, Platonov was an instinctive modernist who produced a series of prose works that are by turns hauntingly disturbing and beautiful.  – Thomas Seifrid, author of A Companion to Andrei Platonov’s The Foundation Pit

These vital plays are richly Russian and subversively anti-Stalin. Absurd, horror-laden and even grim, they offer an incomparably vivid porthole into that dark era of Russian history. –  Paul E. Richardson, Russian Life

For Strolls with Pushkin:

Andrei Sinyavsky/Abram Tertz was one of the most gifted Russian writers of the postwar era. Most of his work is now in print in Russia, but most of the English translations seem to have gone out of print. It will be an excellent thing if Strolls with Pushkin leads us back to him. We need his free and welcoming spirit more than ever. – Richard Pevear, The Hudson Review

Given its title, Sinyavsky’s work is appropriately rambling and easygoing, but also brilliantly iconoclastic about this most iconic of Russian writers. – Michael Dirda, Washington Post

Comprised of two separate essays written over a quarter century apart—the first smuggled out of a Soviet labor camp in letters to his wife—Sinyavsky’s writing on Pushkin, here collected in Columbia University Press’s new Russian Library, is a reminder that irreverence has its magic. – Nicholas Dames, Public Books

For Rapture: A Novel:

2018 Read Russia Prize, Special Mention

A fast-paced, mordantly funny yarn that borrows from (and subverts) the adventure genre…. while this novel has taken a long time to find a new audience, there’s nothing musty about Thomas J. Kitson’s excellent translation, which makes the prose of the book seem fresh. – Nick Holdstock, Open Letters Monthly

Rapture is both traditional regional adventure tale—adapted for and  reflecting its times—and experimental fiction, Iliazd taking liberties  with story, style, and language. In upending—in a variety of ways, no  less—readers’ expectations, Iliazd’s variation on this kind of tale  offers very different satisfactions. A vivid, often comic, and always  harsh story it veers between exciting pulp and much more ambitious  mythifying near-poetry; it’s also almost surprisingly accessible—and a fun, if twisted, read. –  M.A. Orthofer, The Complete Review

For City Folk and Country Folk:

Favorov’s brisk translation and helpful notes make the novel very accessible to present-day readers. This consistently delightful satire will introduce readers to a funnier, more female-centric slant on Russian literature than they may have previously encountered. – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

In its first English translation since its publication in Russia in the mid-19th century, City Folk and Country Folkoffers us a fascinating look at gender dynamics in a nation that had just liberated the empire’s serfs. – Rachel Cordasco, BookRiot

Where’s Khvoshchinskaya been all my life? A must-read. – M. Bartley Seigel, Words Without Borders

For Writings from the Golden Age of Russian Poetry

For fans of Russian poetry, and especially for Russophone poets, Batyushkov (1787–1855) is a vital figure who wrote exquisite verse and helped to usher in what is known as the Golden Age of Russian poetry. . . . Writings from the Golden Age of Russian Poetry interweaves translations of poetry (plus excerpts from prose essays and personal letters) with history and biography. . . . Poets and general readers should appreciate this volume as much as teachers and scholars who can now quote elegant translations. – Sibelan Forrester, Los Angeles Review of Books

Writings From the Golden Age of Russian Poetry by Konstantin Batyushkov is far from a straightforward anthology of poems. It is a biographical essay into which are dispersed more than sixty translations, in whole or in part. (The original Russian is not included.) The reader comes to the poetry by way of the prose. The latter ranging from France’s informative narrative to Batyushkov’s own essays and letters. – Jim Kates, The Arts Fuse

For Found Life: Poems, Stories, Comics, a Play, and an Interview

A welcome collection from a writer worth hearing more from—so translators get busy. – Kirkus Reviews

The most engaging pieces, despite their brevity, require concentration, but whatever your attention span, you’ll be rewarded by miniatures such as this: ‘The signature taste of a gun barrel.’ – Times Literary Supplement

For Sisters of the Cross

Dark and beguiling; Remizov is a writer worth knowing about, and this slender volume makes a good start. – Kirkus Reviews

Remizov’s sketches and episodes offer a vividly drawn good cross-section of Russian life at the beginning of the twentieth century. – M.A. Orthofer, The Complete Review

In gorgeous prose, the novel blends together the seemingly disparate narratives of its individual characters to form a harmonious whole. The narrative sings of age-old dichotomies—rich and poor, truth and illusion, love and lust. Phrases, sentences, and even entire paragraphs occasionally resurface throughout, like motifs in a symphony of human suffering. – Foreword Reviews

For Sentimental Tales

A book that would make Gogol guffaw. – Kirkus Reviews

Translators
Those interested in translating for the series should contact Christine Dunbar, editor at Columbia University Press (cd2654@columbia.edu).

Series Board

Vsevolod Bagno

Dmitry Bak

Rosamund Bartlett

Caryl Emerson

Peter B. Kaufman

Mark Lipovetsky

Oliver Ready

Stephanie Sandler