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Marian Schwartz

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Marian Schwartz has translated over sixty volumes of Russian classic and contemporary fiction, history, biography, criticism, and fine art. She is the principal English translator of the works of Nina Berberova and translated the New York Times’ bestseller The Last Tsar, by Edvard Radzinsky, as well as classics by Mikhail Bulgakov, Ivan Goncharov, Yuri Olesha, and Mikhail Lermontov. Her most recent book translations are Andrei Gelasimov’s Rachel  (AmazonCrossing) and Yuri Mamleyev's The Sublimes (Haute Culture). Her new translation of Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina will be published by Yale University Press in Fall 2014. She is the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts translation fellowships and a past president of the American Literary Translators Association.



"Harlequin's Costume" Makes Read Russia's Short List

harlequins costumeI'm very pleased to announce that my translation of Leonid Yuzefovich's Harlequin's Costume , a detective novel set in St. Petersburg in the second half of the nineteenth century, has been put on the short list for Read Russia's prize for contemporary (post-1990) Russian fiction.  The novel is the first in a trilogy--based on a real-life figure, Chief Inspector Ivan Putilin--was filmed as an eight-part TV mini-series in 2007.

The winner of all the Read Russia prizes will be announced in Moscow at the closing ceremony of the International Congress of Translators, on Saturday, September 6.


Yale University Press Publishes Venedikt Erofeev's "Walpurgis Night, or the Steps of the Commander"

Walpurgis Night coverYale University Press has just published my new translation of Walpurgis Night, a play by acclaimed Russian writer Venedikt Erofeev, considered a classic in the playwright's homeland.

Erofeev's dark and funny five-act satire of Soviet repression has been called the comic high-water mark of the Brezhnev era. Walpurgis Night dramatizes the outrageous trials of Lev Isakovich Gurevich, an alcoholic half-Jewish dissident poet confined by the state to a hospital for the insane. In "Ward 3"—a microcosm of repressive Soviet society—Gurevich deploys his brilliant wit and ingenuity to bedevil his jailers, defend his fellow inmates, protest his incarceration, and generally create mayhem, which ultimately leads to a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.

Compare and contrast One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.


Prospect Books Publishes "High Society Dinners: Dining in Tsarist Russia," by Yuri Lotman and Elena Pogosjan

High Society Dinners, by the great semiotician Yuri Lotman, with Elena Pogosjan, has been a joint labor of love for me and the amazing Russianist and gastronomic scholar Darra Goldstein for more years than either of us probably cares to count.

But the book found a fabulous publisher, Prospect Books, who has produced a gorgeous edition. Read about the history of dining in Russia and of the aristocratic Durnovo family and peruse their menus for a peek into high society life in immediately pre-Emancipation Russia. Oh, and the visuals--all Darra's doing--are gorgeous, starting with the cover.

To order, click here.


Andrei Gelasimov's Fourth Novel, Rachel, Just Published

Gelasimov Rachel CoverWith very great pleasure, I can announce the publication of  Andrei Gelasimov's Rachel, the fourth of his novels I've translated.

With icons like Chubby Checker and Yuri Gagarin, the Moscow that Svyatoslav Semyonovich inhabits at the onset of the Cold War brims with the flashy visual textures of capitalism. A Jewish teenager on the hunt for black-market tight pants and rock records, Svyatoslav somehow fails to develop his undying love for Lyuba into a happy ending. He finds work in a mental institution, runs off to Kiev with one of the patients, marries a few times, has a son, becomes a professor, and halfheartedly runs interference for the KGB. Always taking great pleasure in the experiences of others, including his patients and lovers, Svyatoslav flounders through his own life but never loses sight of Lyuba, his biblical Rachel, his great love. A professor and close reader of both Russian and American literature, Svyatoslav tries to interpret his eccentric life as if it were a text to be read, only to learn that life happens off the page.

In other Gelasimov news, his novel Thirst has been released as a film, based on his screenplay, to much acclaim at film festivals both in Russia and abroad.