The Essential Fictions offers contemporary readers seventy-two short stories by one of twentieth-century Russia’s premier storytellers, Isaac Babel. This unique volume, which includes Babel’s famous Red Cavalry series and his Odessa Stories, is translated, edited, introduced, and annotated by Val Vinokur, a 2008 Guggenheim Fellow in Translation, and features illustrations by Yefim Ladyzhensky, a painter known for his depictions of everyday life under Soviet rule in Babel’s native Odessa.
Babel was born in 1894 into multicultural Odessa’s thriving Jewish community. Working as a journalist, he witnessed the Bolshevik Revolution and Civil War, and accompanied the Cossack horsemen of the Red Cavalry during the 1920 Polish-Soviet War, distilling these experiences into his fiction. Vinokur highlights Babel’s “horrified hopefulness” and “doleful and bespectacled Jewish comedy” in the face of the bloody conflicts that plagued his generation.
On the centenary of the revolution that toppled the Romanov tsars, Babel’s fictions continue to absorb and fascinate contemporary readers interested in eastern European and Jewish literature as well as the history and politics of the twentieth century.
|Publisher:||Univ of Chicago Behalf Northwestern Univ Pres|
|Edition description:||New Edition|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
ISAAC BABEL (1894–1940) is best known for his short fiction, especially his tales about the Jewish gangsters of Odessa and the Cossacks of the Red Cavalry. A contemporary, Viktor Shklovsky, once described Babel as writing “in the same tone about the stars and gonorrhea.” Babel was executed on Stalin’s orders in 1940 in the wake of the Great Purge.YEFIM LADYZHENSKY (1911–1982) began his career as a set designer, but devoted his life to painting after encountering Babel’s fiction, which he described as having played for him “the same role that the Bible and myths did for a multitude of artists—a reason and a stimulus for expressing my feelings and experiences.” When he emigrated from Odessa to Jerusalem in 1979, the Soviet government impounded his Babel-inspired paintings. To make up for their loss, he quickly completed the eighteen richly detailed drawings for Red Cavalry that are included in this volume.VAL VINOKUR is an associate professor of literary studies, chair of liberal arts, and director of Jewish culture at The New School, where he also leads workshops in literary translation. He is the author of The Trace of Judaism: Dostoevsky, Babel, Mandelstam, Levinas (Northwestern University Press, 2008), and has translated several novels from the French with Rose-Myriam Réjouis.
Table of Contents
Translators: Forward! (and Backwards) OPENINGSOdessaShabbos NahamuElya Isaakovich and Margarita ProkofyevnaMama, Rimma, and AllaThrough a CrackThe Sin of Jesus Line and ColorBagrat-Ogly and the Eyes of His BullMy First Advance Guy de MaupassantThe Road THE STORY OF MY DOVECOT (CHILDHOOD CYCLE)Childhood. At Grandmothers The Story of My Dovecot First LoveAwakening In the BasementDi Grasso ODESSA STORIESThe KingHow It Was Done in OdessaThe FatherJustice in BracketsLyubka the CossackSunset Froim the Rook The End of the Poorhouse You Missed the Boat, Captain! Karl-Yankel RED CAVALRYThe Crossing of the Zbruch The Church at Novograd A Letter Chief of the Remount Service Pan ApolekThe Sun of Italy Gedali My First Goose The RebbeThe Road to Brody A Teaching on the TachankaDolgushov’s Death Brigcom TwoSashka ChristThe Life Story of Pavlichenko, Matvei RodionychThe Cemetery in KozinPrishchepaThe Story of a Horse Konkin BerestechkoSaltEveningAfonka BidaAt Saint Valentine’s Squadron Commander TrunovThe IvansThe Story of a Horse, ContinuedThe WidowZamosteTreasonChesniki After the BattleThe SongThe Rebbe’s SonRED CAVALRY: ADDITIONSArgamak The Kiss CLOSINGSOur Batko MakhnoThe End of St. Hypatius Dante Street The Trial (from a notebook)The Ivan & Marya Crude SulakGapa Guzhva: The First Chapter from the “Velikaya Krinitsa” Book Kolyvushka (from the “Velikaya Staritsa” book) BIBLIOGRAPHY