A Calendar of Wisdom Tolstoy Leo Over the last fifteen years of his life, Tolstoy collected and published the maxims of some of the world's greatest masters of philosophy, religion and literature, adding his own contributions to various questions that preoccupied him in old age, such as faith and existence, as well as matters of everyday life. Banned in Russia under Communism, A Calendar of Wisdom was Tolstoy's last major work, and one of his most popular both during and after his lifetime. This new translation by Roger Cockrell will offer today's generation of readers the chance to discover, day by day, these edifying and carefully selected pearls of wisdom.
A Dog's Heart Mikhail Afanasevich Bulgakov When a stray dog dying on the streets of Moscow is taken in by a wealthy professor, he is subjected to medical experiments in which he receives various transplants of human organs. As he begins to transform into a rowdy, unkempt human by the name of Poligraf Poligrafovich Sharikov, his actions distress the professor and those surrounding him, although he finds himself accepted into the ranks of the Soviet state. A parodic reworking of the Frankenstein myth and a vicious satire of the Communist revolution and the concept of the New Soviet man, A Dog's Heart was banned by the censors in 1925 and circulated only in samizdat form. Nowadays this hugely entertaining tale has become very popular in Russia, and has inspired many adaptations across the world.
A Game of Chess and Other Stories Zweig Stefan When it is discovered that the reigning world chess champion, Mirko Czentovic, is on board a cruiser heading for Buenos Aires, a fellow passenger challenges him to a game. Czentovic easily defeats him, but during the rematch a mysterious Austrian, Dr B., intervenes and, to the surprise of everyone, helps the underdog obtain a draw. When, the next day, Dr B. confides in a compatriot travelling on the same ship and decides to reveal the harrowing secret behind his formidable chess knowledge, a chilling tale of imprisonment and psychological torment unfolds.Stefan Zweig's last and most famous story, 'The Game of Chess' was written in exile in Brazil and explores its author's anxieties about the situation in Europe following the rise of the Nazi regime. The tale is presented here in a brand-new translation, along with three of the master storyteller's most acclaimed novellas: Twenty-four Hours in the Life of a Woman, The Invisible Collection and Incident on Lake Geneva.
A Hero Of Our Time Lermontov M. On his travels through the wild mountainous terrain of the Caucasus, the narrator of A Hero of Our Time chances upon the veteran soldier and storyteller Maxim Maximych, who relates to him the dubious exploits of his former comrade Pechorin. Engaging in various acts of duelling, contraband, abduction and seduction, Pechorin, an archetypal Byronic anti-hero, combines cynicism and arrogance with melancholy and sensitivity.
Causing an uproar in Russia when it was first published in 1840, Lermontov's brilliant, seminal study of contemporary society and the nihilistic aspect of Romanticism – accompanied here by the unfinished novel Princess Ligovskaya – remains compelling to this day.
A Nest of the Gentry Turgenev Ivan Coming back to the “nest” of his family home in Russia after years of fruitless endeavours away from his roots, Lavretsky decides to turn his back on the vacuous salons of Paris and his frivolous and unfaithful wife Varvara Pavlovna. On his return he meets Liza, the daughter of one of his cousins, whom he had known when they were children and who rekindles in him long-smothered feelings of love. News of Varvara's death arrive from France, offering Lavretsky the prospect of a new life, but a cruel twist threatens to shatter his dreams and forces him to re-evaluate his plans.
Hailed as a masterpiece of Russian literature, A Nest of the Gentry – Turgenev's most successful and widely read novel, here presented in a new translation by Michael Pursglove – deals with the personal struggles of the individual in a period of turbulent social change.
A Young Doctor's Notebook Bulgakov Mikhail Using a sharply realistic and humorous style, Bulgakov reveals his doubts about his own competence and the immense burden of responsibility, as he deals with a superstitious and poorly educated people struggling to enter the modern age. This acclaimed collection represents some of Bulgakov's most personal and insightful observations on youth, isolation and progress.
Anna Karenina Tolstoy Leo Tolstoy's most personal novel, Anna Karenina scrutinizes fundamental ethical and theological questions through the tragic story of its eponymous heroine. Anna is desperately pursuing a good, "moral" life, standing for honesty and sincerity. Passion drives her to adultery, and this flies in the face of the corrupt Russian bourgeoisie. Meanwhile, the aristocrat Konstantin Levin is struggling to reconcile reason with passion, espousing a Christian anarchism that Tolstoy himself believed in.
Arsène Lupin vs Sherlock Holmes Leblanc M. This volume contains two adventures which pit the gentleman thief Arsene Lupin against Sherlock Holmes, the world's most famous detective. In 'The Blonde Lady', Holmes must discover the identity of a mysterious female thief who is linked to Lupin, while in 'The Jewish Lamp' he finds out that the theft of a lamp containing a precious jewel conceals an astonishing secret. While their tone is at times ironic and firmly tongue-in-cheek, the two stories in Arsene Lupin vs Sherlock Holmes bear all the hallmarks of classic detective fiction, and will put a smile on the lips and set the pulses racing of all fans of mystery and detective fiction.
Babylon Revisited and Other Stories Scott F. Fitzgerald Set in the year after the 1929 crash and incorporating many autobiographical elements, 'Babylon Revisited' tells the story of the widower Charlie Wales, a reformed alcoholic and successful businessman returning to Paris to convince his in-laws to give him back the daughter he abandoned. As the old haunts of the city he used to carouse in seem more and more alien to him, he finds himself assailed by feelings of guilt and regret.
Belkin's Stories Pushkin Alexander First published in 1831, Belkin's Stories was the first completed work of fiction by the founding father of Russian literature. Through a series of interlinked stories purporting to have been told by various narrators to the recently deceased country squire Ivan Belkin, Pushkin offers his own variation on themes and genres that were popular in his day and provides a vivid portrayal of the Russian people. From the story of revenge served cold in 'The Shot' to the havoc wreaked by a blizzard on the life of two young lovers, from the bittersweet tones of 'The Station Master' to the supernatural atmosphere of 'The Undertaker', this collection - presented here in a brand-new translation by Roger Clarke - sparkles with humour and is a testament to the brilliance and versatility of Pushkin's mind.
Black Snow Mikhail Afanasevich Bulgakov After being saved from a suicide attempt by a literary editor, the journalist and failed novelist Sergei Maxudov has a book suddenly accepted for stage adaptation at a prestigious venue and finds himself propelled into Moscow's theatrical world. In a cut-throat environment tainted by Soviet politics, censorship and egomania - epitomized by the arrogant and incompetent director Ivan Vasilyevich - absurdity gradually gives way to tragedy. Unpublished in Bulgakov's own lifetime, Black Snow (also known as A Theatrical Novel) - here presented in a new translation - is peppered with darkly comic set pieces and draws on its author's own bitter experience as a playwright with the Moscow Arts Theatre, showcasing his inimitable gift for shrewd observation and razor-sharp satire.
Boris Godunov and Little Tragedies Pushkin Alexander A drama of ambition, murder, remorse and retribution, Boris Godunov charts the decline of a Russian statesman, whose dynastic aims were foiled by a guilty past and an audacious upstart. Based on history and inspired by Shakespeare, Alexander Pushkin’s daring masterwork is presented here in its rarely published uncensored version of 1825. Set in Vie... A drama of ambition, murder, remorse and retribution, Boris Godunov charts the decline of a Russian statesman, whose dynastic aims were foiled by a guilty past and an audacious upstart. Based on history and inspired by Shakespeare, Alexander Pushkin’s daring masterwork is presented here in its rarely published uncensored version of 1825. Set in Vienna, Flanders, Madrid and London, Pushkin’s celebrated Little Tragedies – Mozart and Salieri, The Mean-Spirited Knight, The Stone Guest and A Feast during the Plague – each focus on a protagonist’s driving obsession – with status, money, sex or risk-taking – and its devastating consequences.
Childhood, Boyhood, Youth Tolstoy Leo This trilogy of short novels, taken as a whole, recounts the young narrator’s early life up to his university days, each episode told through the perceptions, points of view and emotions felt by the protagonist at the time. Based on Tolstoy’s own life and experiences, this fictionalized account of a young man growing into the world combines anecdot... This trilogy of short novels, taken as a whole, recounts the young narrator’s early life up to his university days, each episode told through the perceptions, points of view and emotions felt by the protagonist at the time. Based on Tolstoy’s own life and experiences, this fictionalized account of a young man growing into the world combines anecdote with frank personal assessment and philosophical extrapolation, as the author’s Stendhalian take on the confessional genre confronts and blurs the notions of reality and imagination. Tolstoy’s first published work, which launched him on a successful writing career, Childhood, Boyhood, Youth – besides offering an early display of his storytelling and stylistic abilities – provides the reader with invaluable insight into the personal and literary development of one of the greatest writers of all time.
Dark Avenues Bunin Ivan Considered one of the most influential authors of twentieth century Russian Literature, Ivan Bunin's Dark Avenues is the culmination of a life's work which unrelentingly questioned of the political doxa whilst taking his poetic mastery of language to dark new heights. Written between 1938 and 1944 and set in the context of a disintegrating Russian culture, this collection of short fiction centres around dark, erotic liaisons told with a rich, elegaic poetics which probes the artistic limits of depicting desire. A prolific writer and fierce political activist, Bunin became the first Russian to win the Nobel prize for Literature in 1933 and was highly influential on his contemporary Russian emigres, Checkov and Nabokov. The Dark Avenues is the zenith of his work and one of the most important Russian texts to come out of the twentieth century.
Dead Souls Gogol N. A mysterious stranger named Chichikov arrives in a small provincial Russian town and proceeds to visit a succession of landowners, making each of them an unusual and somewhat macabre proposition. He offers to buy the rights to the dead serfs who are still registered on the landowner's estate, thus reducing their liability for taxes. It is not clear what Chichikov's intentions are with the dead serfs he is purchasing, and despite his attempts to ingratiate himself, his strange behaviour arouses the suspicions of everyone in the town.
A biting satire of social pretensions and pomposity, Dead Souls has been revered
since its original publication in 1842 as one of the funniest and most brilliant novels of nineteenth-century Russia. Its unflinching and remorseless depiction of venality in Russian society is a lasting tribute to Gogol's comic genius.
Death of a Civil Servant Chekhov Anton In The Death of a Civil Servant, an administrative clerk accidentally sneezes on a hierarchical superior at the opera, which results in great embarrassment and hilarious and futile attempts at atonement. The other short stories included in this volume, A Calculated Marriage, The Culprit, The Exclamation Mark, The Speech-Maker, Who Is to Blame? and A Defenceless Creature are in the same absurdly comical vein.This short collection shows Chekhov in an amusing, playful light, poking fun at the greed, sycophancy and ignorance of his characters, with the moral detachment that also characterizes his major, serious works.
Diaboliad and Other Stories Mikhail Afanasevich Bulgakov In Bulgakov's Diaboliad, the modest and unassuming office clerk Korotkov is summarily sacked for a trifling error from his job at the First Central Depot for the Materials for Matches, and tries to seek out his newly assigned superior Kalsoner, responsible for his dismissal. His quest through the labyrinth of Soviet bureaucracy takes on the increasingly surreal dimensions of a nightmare. This early satirical story, reminiscent of Gogol and Dostoevsky, was first published in 1924 and incurred the wrath of pro-Soviet critics. Along with the three other stories in this volume which also feature explorations of the absurd and bizarre, it provides a fascinating glimpse into the artistic development of the author of Master and Margarita.
Diaries and Selected Letters Bulgakov Mikhail The career of Mikhail Bulgakov, the author of The Master and Margarita – now regarded as one of the masterpieces of twentieth-century literature – was characterized by a constant and largely unsuccessful struggle against state censorship. This suppression did not only apply to his art: in 1926 his personal diaries were seized by the authorities. From then on he confined his thoughts to letters to his friends and family, as well as to public figures such as Stalin and his fellow Soviet writer Gorky. This ample selection from the diaries and letters of Mikhail Bulgakov, mostly translated for the first time into English, provides an insightful glimpse into the author’s world and into a fascinating period of Russian history and literature, telling the tragic tale of the fate of an artist under a totalitarian regime.
Dog Stories Kipling Rudyard Throughout his life Rudyard Kipling was fond of dogs, and while they featured prominently in early tales such as 'The Dog Hervey' and 'Garm - a Hostage', he later came up with the innovative idea of writing a story from the perspective of a dog, resulting in the hugely successful 'Thy Servant a Dog', narrated by an Aberdeen terrier named Boots.
Don Quixote Miguel de Cervantes When an ageing, impoverished nobleman decides to style himself Don Quixote and embarks upon a series of daring endeavours, it is clear that his ability to distinguish between reality and the fantasy world of literary romance has broken down. His exploits turn into comic misadventures, in which everyday objects are transformed into the accoutrements of chivalry, peasant girls become princesses and windmills are mistaken for formidable giants, leading the hero and his squire Sancho Panza into the realms of absurdity and humiliation. Renowned for its comical set pieces, Don Quixote is a profound meditation on the relationship between truth and fiction and the morality of deception, as well as the foundation stone of the modern novel.