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Pushkin House Russian Book Club: Ukraine Series: Gogol: 'Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka' and 'Mirgorod'

Horror and Humour, Heaven and Hell, - Dr Oliver Ready and Professor Donald Rayfield give a guided tour of some of the most bizarre and brilliant stories by the famous Russian-Ukrainian author, from Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka and Mirgorod. This month's book club affords everyone - regardless of their Russian reading skills - a trip deep into the strange, phantasmagorical, hyper-real world of the Ukrainian countryside as described by Gogol.

If you love Russian literature, and want a reason to go back to old favourites, or read your favourite authors more widely, join us for the first Pushkin House Russian Book Club.  Great speakers and the best specialists will be leading lively and informal  conversation around Russian classics old and new, all available in English translation.   

To explore the historical and cultural context of the current situation in Ukraine, Professor Donald Rayfield and Dr Oliver Ready will be discussing Gogol’s haunting, evocative and sometimes magical tales of the Ukrainian countryside in ‘Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka’ and ‘Mirgorod’.  Oliver Ready acts as consultant on the series as a whole.

To prepare for this event translations of Mirgorod and Dikanka by Constance Garnett and/or Christopher English are most recommended.    

Donald Rayfield is Emeritus Professor of Russian and Georgian at the University of London. In addition to his definitive biography of Chekhov, his books include The Dream of Lhasa: The Life of Nikolay Przhevalsky (1839-88), Explorer of Central Asia and Stalin and His Hangmen. His 'superb new translation' (William Boyd - Guardian) of Gogol's Dead Souls was published in 2008.


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Oliver Ready is a translator and academic, a lecturer and fellow of St Antony's College Oxford. Dr Ready recently completed the new, much-talked-aboit Penguin Classics translation of Crime and Punishment, and has translated numerous works of post-Soviet fiction, notably the The Prussian Bride by Yuri Buida, for which he won the Rossica Translation Prize in 2005.