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History of a Journey: Russia Abroad through the Short Story

History of a Journey: Russia Abroad through the Short Story

The events of 1917 and their immediate aftermath had an unprecedented impact on the legacy of Russian literature, quite literally cleaving it in two. Major writers of the day such as Ivan Bunin, Nadezhda Teffi and Ivan Shmelyov were forced into exile, where in Paris and Berlin they continued the great Russian tradition, while a young new generation of writers poised between the literary currents of East and West, including the likes of Vladimir Nabokov and Gaito Gazdanov, began to emerge.

The interwar years marked a new golden age for the Russian short story in particular; with the power to say so much in so few words, it was one of the main vehicles for these displaced writers to come to terms with the trauma of their past and present. Reflecting the personal tragedy, changing fortunes and harsh realities of their new lives in Western Europe, these authors’ works represent some of the richest writing of the twentieth century.

Join translator Bryan Karetnyk in conversation with Robert Chandler to explore the world of the Russian émigrés through their fiction.

Bryan Karetnyk is an editor and a translator of Russian literature. He read Russian and Japanese at the University of Edinburgh and subsequently worked as a translator with the Civil Service for a number of years. He now lives and works in London, where much of his work focuses on Russian diaspora writing. His translations include Gaito Gazdanov’s The Spectre of Alexander Wolf and The Buddha’s Return, which are both published by Pushkin Press. He is currently compiling an anthology of Russian émigré short fiction for Penguin Classics.