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.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and Through the Looking Glass Carroll Lewis Originally conceived by its author as an entertaining story for Alice Liddell, the daughter of an Oxford dean, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the fantastic tale of the young Alice's encounters with the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter and the Queen of Hearts, has captured the imaginations of young and old throughout the world since it was first published in 1865. In addition to the vivid and unforgettable characters, it is the book's experimental style, linguistic inventiveness and myriad of jokes and puzzles that account for the timeless fascination it inspires.
Anna Karenina Tolstoy Lео 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.
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.
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.
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.
Diaboliad and Other Stories Bulgakov Mikhail Afanasevich 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.
Eugene Onegin Pushkin Alexander When the world-weary dandy Eugene Onegin moves from St Petersburg to take up residence in the country estate he has inherited, he strikes up an unlikely friendship with his neighbour, the poet Vladimir Lensky. Coldly rejecting the amorous advances of Tatyana and cynically courting her sister Olga - Lensky's fiancee - Onegin finds himself dragged into a tragedy of his own making. Eugene Onegin - presented here in a sparkling translation by Roger Clarke, along with extensive notes and commentary - was the founding text of modern Russian literature, marking a clean break from the high-flown classical style of its predecessors and introducing the quintessentially Russian hero and heroine, which would remain the archetypes for novelists throughout the nineteenth century.
Fathers and Children Turgenev Ivan "Fathers and Children", arguably the first modern novel in the history of Russian literature, shocked readers when it was first published in 1862 - the controversial character of Bazarov, a self-proclaimed nihilist intent on rejecting all existing traditional values and institutions, providing a trenchant critique of the established order. Turgenev's masterpiece investigates the growing nihilist movement of mid-nineteenth-century Russia - a theme which was to influence Dostoevsky and many other European writers - in a universal, and often hilarious, story of generational conflict, and the clash between the old and the new.
Faust Turgenev Ivan In a series of nine letters, the narrator tells his friend how he introduced Vera Nikolayevna, a married woman who had been forbidden as a child to read fiction and poetry, to the intellectual pleasures of Goethe's masterpiece. Opening up in front of Vera's eyes is not only the realm of imagination, but also a world of unbridled feelings and tempestuous passions, which can only shatter the comfort and safety of her existence and force her to set off on a journey of spiritual awakening.
George Silverman's Explanation Dickens Charles After a traumatic early childhood spent living in poverty in a Preston cellar, the suddenly orphaned George Silverman grows up convinced that he is at fault for all the misfortunes in his life. Hoodwinked by hypocritical clergymen and exploited by his employer, he finds himself forsaking love and facing professional ruin. One of Dickens's very last writings, 'George Silverman's Explanation' is a dark and psychologically insightful investigation of failure and guilt. This volume also includes two other lesser-known pieces of fiction: the novella for children 'Holiday Romance' and the detective story 'Hunted Down'.
How the Two Ivans Quarrelled and Other Russian Comic Stories Gogol Nikolai The first story in this volume, How the Two Ivans Quarrelled, is an amusing portrayal of two exceptionally close friends, the mortal insult that drives them apart, and the ensuing chaos that occurs. This is Gogol's humour at it's best, where the most irrelevant-seeming details and turns of phrase take on a bizarre life of their own. Ivan Krylov's Panegyric in Memory of My Grandfather has an ingenuous narrator praise the nobility and modesty of a landowner whose actions prove him to be otherwise. The two tales by Mikhail Saltykov are satirical attacks on civil servants and Russia's autocracy. The final piece, Tolstoy's Ivan the Fool, is a playful and allegorical critique of contemporary Russian society. Together, they represent some of Russia's finest comic writing before the twentieth century.
In the Twilight Chekhov Anton In the Twilight, the third collection of short stories compiled by Anton Chekhov himself, was his first major success and won him the prestigious Pushkin Prize when it was published in 1887. This volume represents a clear milestone in the writer's passage from the youthful Antosha Chekhonte, author of slight comic sketches, to the mature master of the short-story genre.