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Apollon Bezobrazov is a novel by a recovered Surrealist. Making an uncharacteristic detour into prose in the 1920s, the Russian émigré poet Boris Poplavsky presents a novel that reveals the Surrealist influence of prominent Parisian contemporaries like André Breton and Louis Aragon and rebels from it. The hero, and the novel's namesake, embodies the figure of the urban hippie the flâneur of French literature while the narrator, a young Russian, falls under his spell. The story describes in colorful, poetic detail the hand-to-mouth existence of a small band of displaced Russians in Paris and Italy. It chronicles their poverty, their diversions, their intensely played out love affairs, and Bezobrazov's gradual transformation in the eyes of his admiring followers. The novel abounds in allusions to eastern religion, western philosophy, and 19th-century Russian literature. In its experimental mixing of genres, the work echoes Joyce's Ulysses, while in its use of extended metaphors it reveals the stylistic impact of Marcel Proust. Not published in complete form in Russian until 1993, Apollon Bezobrazov significantly broadens our understanding of Russian prose produced in the interwar emigration.
John M. Kopper is Professor of Russian and Comparative Literature at Dartmouth College. He has co-edited Essays in the Art and Theory of Translation (1997) and A Convenient Territory : Russian Literature at the Edge of Modernity (2015), and in addition to articles devoted to Poplavsky, has published on Tolstoy, Gogol, Nabokov, and Bely.
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The real jewel of Apollon Bezobrazov is its style. By turns decadent, surreal, gothic and cinematic, Poplavsky's eclectic novel self-consciously quotes, pastiches and reworks not only the staples of Russian classics, but also the greats of European modernism, including Joyce, Proust, Breton and Aragon.
John Kopper's translation is as vivid as it is sensitive. Retaining Poplavsky's rich and idiosyncratic poetic imagery -- It rained the way a person walks on snow, magisterially and monotonously -- Kopper deftly conveys the lush stylization of the language in eminently readable English. Kopper has also contributed an array of insightful editorial notes that illuminate many of the more obscure literary references and points of émigré life, while his lucid introduction stands as a welcome and fitting counterweight to the Surrealist opulence of Poplavsky's prose. This book is a timely addition to a growing backlist of works by Russian émigrés now finding their voice in English; that Apollon Bezobrazov a work of striking originality, should debut in such a fine translation is nothing short of a literary event. --Bryan Karetnyk, TLS Russian Fiction.
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Book Description Slavica Pub, 2015. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0893574538