Worlds ApartAn Anthology of Russian Fantasy and Science Fiction: An Anthology of Russian Science Fiction and Fantasy

Worlds ApartAn Anthology of Russian Fantasy and Science Fiction: An Anthology of Russian Science Fiction and Fantasy

by Alexander Levitsky
     
 

A constant thread woven throughout the history of Russian literature is that of an escape from the bounds of realism. Worlds Apart is the first single-volume anthology that explores this fascinating and dominant theme of Russian literature-from its origins in the provincial folk tale, through its emergence in the Romantic period in the tales of Pushkin, Lermontov, and… See more details below

Overview

A constant thread woven throughout the history of Russian literature is that of an escape from the bounds of realism. Worlds Apart is the first single-volume anthology that explores this fascinating and dominant theme of Russian literature-from its origins in the provincial folk tale, through its emergence in the Romantic period in the tales of Pushkin, Lermontov, and Turgenev, to its contemporary incarnation under the clouds of authoritarianism, revolution, mechanization, and modernization-with translations of the key literary masterpieces that reveal the depth and ingenuity of the Russian imagination as it evolved over a period of tumultuous political, social, and technological upheaval.

Alexander Levitsky, perhaps the world's foremost expert on this genre, has provided engaging and informative introductions to the selections that simultaneously represent the works of Russia's best authors and reveal the dominant themes of her history: Myth and the Fairy Tale, Utopianism and Dystopianism, Mechanization and Modernization, Space Flight, and more. The authors range from familiar figures-Gogol, Dostoevsky, Bulgakov, and Bely-to writers practically unknown outside the Slavic world such as Derzhavin, Bulgarin, Kuprin and Pilniak.

Worlds Apart is an awe-provoking anthology with a compelling appeal both to the fantasy enthusiast and anyone with an abiding interest in Russian history and culture.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Quite possibly inspired by a college class (the editor is a professor of Slavic languages and literature at Brown University), this anthology of 19th- and early 20th-century Russian fantasy and science fiction (poetry and prose) is both fascinating and problematic. On one hand, it offers an astonishing number of clearly translated, compelling texts, some of which are available in English for the first time. Along with stories, poems, and novel excerpts from familiar names like Pushkin, Lermontov, Turgenev, Gogol, Chernyshevsky, Dostoevsky, Blok, Bely, Zamiatin, and Bulgakov (whose "The Fatal Eggs" is a timely delight), as well as an introduction to early 19th-century Russian fantasy and poetry, this collection presents amazing work by lesser-known authors like Odoevsky, Briusov, and Kuprin (whose "Liquid Sunshine" is particularly memorable), among others. Indeed, the early 20th century and early Soviet space exploration texts by Bugdanov, Tolstoy, Platonov, and Efremov are a revelation. On the other hand, the anthology, taken as a whole, imagines an unlikely discursive continuum from fantasy tales (especially those involving ghosts, witches, or monsters) to utopian and dystopian narratives, technological fantasies, and space-travel sagas. And it limits its presentation of later 20th-century Soviet and post-Soviet science fiction to a short, concluding essay. In short, it's a wonderful mess: it works, more or less, but much like, say, a Soviet-made car. Recommended to public and academic libraries where interest warrants.-Roger A. Berger, Everett Community Coll., WA


—Roger A. Berger
Kirkus Reviews
Stories, poems and novel fragments dating back to the 1700s, none written much later than the first half of the 20th century. Using broad definitions of fantasy and science fiction, Levitsky selects various tales of the supernatural and the absurd, utopias (usually in warm places, far from Russia's chill) and dystopias of the distant future, and some early stories of space travel. He draws on the work of such towering literary figures as Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Turgenev and Zamyatin, as well as others less familiar to Western readers. The editor intersperses these choices with his own dry, jargon-loaded essays on the pieces' peculiarly Russian nature and their inspirations in folklore, philosophy and politics. Scholars of the fantastic with an interest in literary history will discover some curiosities and some genuinely fascinating, powerfully resonant works. Casual sci-fi fans in search of light entertainment-or contemporary Russian works of speculative fiction-will be disappointed and possibly bored. Uneven.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781585678204
Publisher:
The Overlook Press
Publication date:
07/29/2008
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
576
Sales rank:
1,471,037
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.60(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >