The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry (Paperback)
  • The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry (Paperback)

The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry (Paperback)

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Paperback 592 Pages / Published: 26/02/2015
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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).

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN: 9780141198309
Number of pages: 592
Weight: 404 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 25 mm

It is marvellous -- George Szirtes * New Statesman *
This extraordinary anthology has no precedent or peer ... Finally, a comprehensive collection of fine, often extraordinarily fine, translations, with accurate and acute background and critical information ... Robert Chandler and Boris Dralyuk are not just the editors, they are the chief translators, outstanding in their unerring feel for the sense of the original and ways in which the English language can match it ... This book provides a much-needed entry into Russian poetry -- Professor Donald Rayfield * PN Review *
This anthology is ambitious - in scope, biographical apparatus and in what it expects of its translators [...] As you read through the names which, great and small, form the 20th century's poetic roll of honour, the introductory biographies (excellent throughout) strike repeatedly gloomy notes of censorship, banishment and worse. Times have changed: the uncensored individual voice has lost authority, and the children of the new Russia have yet to be heard. Anthologies such as this should remind them why their country's poetry once so greatly mattered * Observer *
A new poetic world ... The editors have used this anthology to open up exciting new horizons. Russian literature, after Stalin, suddenly looks very different. Surely that is what anthologies are for * Standpoint *
A stunning anthology. It is a treasure house of poetic riches and a monument to the lives of those who created them -- David Cooke * London Grip *
Russia's proud poetic heritage is revived brilliantly in English in this new anthology from Penguin Classics * RTE Ten *
This is a lively collection complete with informative pen portraits ... It embraces the sweep of modern Russian history, including the now somewhat neglected Soviet period, imparting something of the profundity, humanity and suffering of that experience, whilst remaining upbeat and amusing, in the best traditions of Russian art * The Spokesman *

It is tempting to describe this book as encyclopaedic. In as much as it opens only in about 1780 and is able to
cover only a very limited amount of the work of a finite number of poets, of course it is not. But the great quantity and range of material that is included, plus the wonderfully informative Introduction, Bibliography and Notes that we have come to expect of any work in which Robert Chandler has had a hand, do indeed take it a long way towards qualifying for that descriptor

-- Andrew Sheppard * East-West Review *
The glory of Russian literature is its poetic tradition, and it remains little known in the English-speaking world. This ample anthology, a labour of love on the part of its three editors, seeks to rectify that situation ... The ultimate goal of any translation is to inspire. The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry closes with four wonderful English poems by non-Russians (one by Chandler himself), and if immersion in this volume contributes to further creativity of this sort, it will have justified its place on our bookshelves. * TLS *
The appearance of this anthology is a major advance in the appreciation of Russian poetry in the West ... the breadth of coverage is outstanding * Society for Co-operation in Russian and Soviet Studies *
This new anthology is a major and surely lasting achievement that will represent Russian poetry memorably to a new generation of anglophone readers * Translation and Literature *
A lucky find for Slavic scholars, English-speaking Russophiles, and poetry lovers of many stripes ... Even if Russia cannot fully be understood, its poetry, at least, is something to be believed in * Russian Life *
What the three editors have set out to give us is not literary history, but the experience of Russian poetry as a living organism in English ... A lively collection that will be a standard work for years to come * Australian Book Review *
A Keatsian thing of beauty and a joy forever. It is a book that enables us to meet long-dead poets as we read their work ... and an ambitious search for the elusive Russian soul -- Phoebe Taplin * American Book Review *
This book will create many new readers of Russian poetry. The editors' presentation is authoritative and expansive ... Special appeal, though, lies in gorgeous translations that read as stand-alone poems * Slavic Review *
The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry ... dramatically changed the shape of Russian poetry. As you read on, the landscape becomes stranger and more unfamiliar, especially as you come to the late twentieth century. Almost 150 pages of post-war poetry, nearly thirty poets, most of them unfamiliar to many English speaking readers. New names. A new poetic world. Our sense of Russian literature has changed dramatically in recent years -- David Herman

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