From Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, the best-selling, award-winning translators of War and Peace and Anna Karenina, comes a new, beautifully crafted, and eminently readable translation of Tolstoy’s most important short fiction.
Here are eleven incandescent stories from the mature author, some autobiographical, others moral parables, and all imaginative, transcendent, and evocatively drawn. They include The Prisoner of the Caucasus, inspired by Tolstoy’s experiences as a soldier in the Chechen War, and one of only two of his works that Tolstoy himself considered “good art”; Hadji Murat, the novella Harold Bloom called “the best story in the world,” featuring the real-life war hero Hadji Murat, a Chechen rebel who ravaged his Russian occupiers only to defect to the Russian side after a falling-out with his own commander; The Devil, a tale of sexual obsession based on Tolstoy’s relationship with a married peasant woman on his estate in the years before his marriage; and the celebrated The Death of Ivan Ilyich, an intense and moving examination of death and the possibilities of redemption.
Pevear and Volokhonsky’s translation captures the richness, immediacy, and multiplicity of Tolstoy’s language, and reveals the author as a passionate moral guide, an unflinching seeker of truth, and, ultimately, a creator of enduring and universal art.
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Richard Pevear has published translations of Alain, Yves Bonnefoy, Alberto Savinio, Pavel Florensky, and Henri Volohonsky, as well as two books of poetry. He has received fellowships or grants for translation from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the French Ministry of Culture.
Larissa Volokhonsky was born in Leningrad. She has translated works by the prominent Orthodox theologians Alexander Schmemann and John Meyendorff into Russian.
Together, Pevear and Volokhonsky have translated Dead Souls and The Collected Tales by Nikolai Gogol, The Complete Short Novels of Chekhov, and The Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment, Notes from Underground, Demons, The Idiot, and The Adolescent by Fyodor Dostoevsky. They were twice awarded the PEN Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize (for their version of Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov and for Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina), and their translation of Dostoevsky’s Demons was one of three nominees for the same prize. They are married and live in France.