An enchanting collection of the very best of Russian poetry, edited by acclaimed translator Robert Chandler together with poets Boris Dralyuk and Irina Mashinski.
In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, poetry's pre-eminence in Russia was unchallenged, with Pushkin and his contemporaries ushering in the 'Golden Age' of Russian literature. Prose briefly gained the high ground in the second half of the nineteenth century, but poetry again became dominant in the 'Silver Age' (the early twentieth century), when belief in reason and progress yielded once more to a more magical view of the world. During the Soviet era, poetry became a dangerous, subversive activity; nevertheless, poets such as Osip Mandelstam and Anna Akhmatova continued to defy the censors. This anthology traces Russian poetry from its Golden Age to the modern era, including work by several great poets - Georgy Ivanov and Varlam Shalamov among them - in captivating modern translations by Robert Chandler and others. The volume also includes a general introduction, chronology and individual introductions to each poet.
Robert Chandler is an acclaimed poet and translator. His many translations from Russian include works by Aleksandr Pushkin, Nikolay Leskov, Vasily Grossman and Andrey Platonov, while his anthologies of Russian Short Stories from Pushkin to Buida and Russian Magic Tales are both published in Penguin Classics.
Irina Mashinski is a bilingual poet and co-founder of the StoSvet literary project. Her most recent collection is 2013's Ophelia i masterok [Ophelia and the Trowel].
Boris Dralyuk is a Lecturer in Russian at the University of St Andrews and translator of many books from Russian, including, most recently, Isaac Babel's Red Cavalry (2014).
'She turned into a frog, into a lizard, into all kinds of other reptiles and then into a spindle'
In these tales, young women go on long and difficult quests, wicked stepmothers turn children into geese and tsars ask dangerous riddles, with help or hindrance from magical dolls, cannibal witches, talking skulls, stolen wives, and brothers disguised as wise birds. Half the tales here are true oral tales, collected by folklorists during the last two centuries, while the others are reworkings of oral tales by four great Russian writers: Alexander Pushkin, Nadezhda Teffi, Pavel Bazhov and Andrey Platonov.
In his introduction to these new translations, Robert Chandler writes about the primitive magic inherent in these tales and the taboos around them, while in the afterword, Sibelan Forrester discusses the witch Baba Yaga. This edition also includes an appendix, bibliography and notes.
'This is a unique, beautifully edited book: an essential addition to the library of any Russophile' - Spectator
*Longlisted for the Rossica Translation Prize 2014*
Translated by Robert Chandler and Elizabeth Chandler
With Sibelan Forrester, Anna Gunin and Olga Meerson
Robert Chandler is a poet and translator. His translations from Russian include Aleksandr Pushkin's Dubrovsky and The Captain's Daughter, Nikolay Leskov's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and Vasily Grossman's Life and Fate and The Road. With his wife Elizabeth and other colleagues he has co-translated numerous works by Andrey Platonov; Soul won the 2004 American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages award for best translation from a Slavonic language, as did his translation of The Railway by the contemporary Uzbek novelist Hamid Ismailov. His Russian Short Stories from Pushkin to Buida is published in Penguin Classics.