Red Cavalry and Other Stories (Penguin Classics)

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9780140449976: Red Cavalry and Other Stories (Penguin Classics)
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One of the most powerful short-story writers of the twentieth century, Isaac Babel expressed his sense of inner conflict through disturbing tales that explored the contradictions of Russian society. Whether reflecting on anti-Semitism in stories such as "Story of My Dovecote" and "First Love," or depicting Jewish gangsters in his native Odessa, Babel’s eye for the comical laid bare the ironies of history. His masterpiece, "Red Cavalry," set in the Soviet-Polish war, is one of the classics of modern fiction. By turns flamboyant and restrained, this collection of Babel’s best-known stories vividly expresses the horrors of his age. This translation is based on the complete, original text taken from an unexpurgated Russian edition.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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"Amazing not only as literature but as biography."
—Richard Bernstein, The New York Times

"Marvelously subtle, tragic, and often comic."
—James Wood, The New Republic

About the Author:

Isaac Babel was born in Odessa in 1894, the son of a Jewish tradesman. At the age of twenty-one he went to St Petersburg, where he had to avoid the Tsarist police because he lacked the residence certificate required of all Jews. Gorky was the first to encourage Babel by printing two of his stories in his magazine. During the First World War, Babel fought with the Tsarist army and in 1917 went over to the Bolsheviks. In 1923 he returned to literature with a number of short stories printed in periodicals. An instant literary success, these formed the nucleus of the Odessa Stories, a group of vivid sketches of Russian Jewish life, and the unforgettable Red Cavalry (1926), written out of his experiences with Budyonny’s cavalry in the Polish campaign of 1920. Other stories, scenarios and plays followed. Unable to conform to the demands for political conformism that were being made on him, however, Babel was arrested suddenly in 1939. He died, possibly in 1941.

David McDuff was educated at the University of Edinburgh and has translated a number of works for Penguin Classics, including Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov.

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