White Guard, by Mikhail Bulgakov


White Guard

by Mikhail Bulgakov

Translated from the Russian by Marian Schwartz

Introduction by Evgeny Dobrenko

Yale University Press, 2008; paperback ed., 2009

Winner of the 2009 Best Translation into English Award given by the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and Eastern European Literature

Winner of the 2009 Sybil Halpern Milton Prize sponsored by the German Studies Association

Finalist for the 2009 Souerette Diehl Fraser Award for Best Translation of a Book, sponsored by the Texas Institute of Letters.

Finalist for the 2008 National Translation Award sponsored by the New Jersey Historical Commission

Finalist for the 2008 National Translators Award sponsored by the American Literary Translators Association

Finalist for the 2010 Lewis Galantiere Award sponsored by the American Translators Association

White Guard, Mikhail Bulgakov's semi-autobiographical first novel, is the story of the Turbin family in Kiev in 1918. Alexei, Elena, and Nikolka Turbin have just lost their mother—their father had died years before—and find themselves plunged into the chaotic civil war that erupted in the Ukraine in the wake of the Russian Revolution. In the context of this family's personal loss and the social turmoil surrounding them, Bulgakov creates a brilliant picture of the existential crises brought about by the revolution and the loss of social, moral, and political certainties. He confronts the reader with the bewildering cruelty that ripped Russian life apart at the beginning of the last century as well as with the extraordinary ways in which the Turbins preserved their humanity.

In this volume Marian Schwartz, a leading translator, offers the first complete and accurate translation of the definitive original text of Bulgakov's novel. She includes the famous dream sequence, omitted in previous translations, and beautifully solves the stylistic issues raised by Bulgakov's ornamental prose. Readers with an interest in Russian literature, culture, or history will welcome this superb translation of Bulgakov's important early work.


"With this edition of "The White Guard," translator Marian Schwartz has done a handsome job of matching Bulgakov's rich Russian vocabulary and attention to meticulous detail." --Joshua Rubenstein, Wall Street Journal

"In the course of their life in translation, the best novels shed their skin more than once. The time for Mikhail Bulgakov's White Guard has been long overdue. Marian Schwartz's excellent translation of Bulgakov's early novel is both timely and elegant, preserving the shape, texture, and richness of the original text. . . . Schwartz sustains careful attention to detail throughout the whole of the translation project. She faithfully reproduces the bewildering kaleidoscope of detail that makes White Guard both difficult and intriguing, capturing the ornamental imagery, tone, pacing and phrasing of the original. Marian Schwartz's new translation of White Guard treats Bulgakov's work honorably and performs a great service to Bulgakov's present and future readers." -- Sidney Eric Dement, Slavic and East European Journal

"Oblomov and White Guard offer readers fresh chances to feel the rhythms of the Russian language pulsating beneath the surface of English texts, and to remember Russia as it was during two very different times. Russian literature is riddled with drama and soulfulness, as well as vibrant displays of language. Two excellent examples of these qualities can be found in Schwartz's new translations." -- Karen Vanuska, Quarterly Conversation

"Mikhail Bulgakov's White Guard is a classic modern novel by one of the greatest Russian avant-garde writers that vividly recreates the chaos of Revolutionary Kiev in 1918. Marian Schwartz's English translation brilliantly reproduces the author's aural and visual montage of a family caught in the deadly whirlpool of multiple warring adversaries."—Charlotte Douglas, New York University

"The scour of the shelves for some new Russian reading unearthed a very nice copy of White Guard . . . incidentally Mikhail Bulgakov's first and most autobiographical novel, and in this edition complete with an incredibly insightful introduction by Evgeny Dobrenko. . . . Hats off to the translator Marian Schwartz, who helpfully explains the difficulties of preserving the language of a text that is something of a 'kaleidoscopic whirl.'"—Dovegreyreader.typepad.com


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