“Over the past hundred years we have had numerous versions . . . of [Tolstoy’s] major works. This volume, however, is arguably the best so far.” —Times Literary SupplementIn the last two days of his own life, Peter Carson completed these new translations of The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Confession before he succumbed to cancer in January 2013. Carson, the eminent British publisher, editor, and translator who, in the words of his author Mary Beard, “had probably more influence on the literary landscape of [England] over the past fifty years than any other single person,” must have seen the irony of translating Ilyich, Tolstoy’s profound meditation on death and loss, “but he pressed on regardless, apparently refusing to be distracted by the parallel of literature and life.” In Carson’s shimmering prose, these two transcendent works are presented in their most faithful rendering in English. Unlike so many previous translations that have tried to smooth out Tolstoy’s rough edges, Carson presents a translation that captures the verisimilitude and psychological realism of the original Russian text.
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About the Author
Peter Carson (1938–2013) was the editor in chief of Penguin UK and Profile Books and the translator of Fathers and Sons by Turgenev and the plays of Anton Chekhov. He lived in London until his death.
A professor of classics at Cambridge University, Mary Beard is the author of the best-selling The Fires of Vesuvius and the National Book Critics Circle Award–nominated Confronting the Classics. A popular blogger and television personality, Beard gave the Mellon Lectures at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books. She lives in England.
Date of Birth:September 9, 1828
Date of Death:November 20, 1910
Place of Birth:Tula Province, Russia
Place of Death:Astapovo, Russia
Education:Privately educated by French and German tutors; attended the University of Kazan, 1844-47