Radical Shadows: Previously Untranslated and Unpublished Works by Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Masters

Radical Shadows: Previously Untranslated and Unpublished Works by Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Masters

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Overview

Little-known literary works by Truman Capote, Vladimir Nabokov, and more: “[An] extraordinary collection of inexplicably forgotten treasures.” —New York magazine
 
Radical Shadows collects lost, forgotten, suppressed, rare, or unknown works by major literary writers from the late nineteenth century forward. From previously unpublished work by Djuna Barnes and Truman Capote (his earliest known story), to writing by Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Kawabata, Musil, and other world-class authors, the issue is a celebration both of the art of translation and of the breadth and depth of the many revelatory discoveries that can still be found in the historical literary archive.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781480463882
Publisher: Bard College Publications Office
Publication date: 01/21/2014
Series: Conjunctions , #31
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 381
File size: 14 MB
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About the Author

Bradford Morrow is the editor of Conjunctions and the recipient of the PEN/Nora Magid Award for excellence in literary editing. The author of six novels, his most recent books include the novel The Diviner’s Tale (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) and the fiction collection The Uninnocent (Pegasus Books). He is currently at work on a collaboration with virtuoso guitarist Alex Skolnick, A Bestiary. A Bard Center fellow and professor of literature at Bard College, he lives in New York City.
Conjunctions 
senior editor Peter Constantine’s most recent translations include The Essential Writings of Machiavelli (Modern Library) (a finalist for the 2008 PEN Translation Prize) and Benjamin Lebert’s The Bird Is a Raven (Knopf) (winner of the Helen und Kurt Wolff Translation Prize). He was awarded the PEN Translation Prize for Six Early Stories by Thomas Mann (Sun and Moon), and the National Translation Award for The Undiscovered Chekhov—Thirty-Eight New Stories (Seven Stories). His translation of the complete works of Isaac Babel received the Koret Jewish Literature Award and a National Jewish Book Award citation. He translated Within Four Walls: The Correspondence between Hannah Arendt and Heinrich Blücher, 1936–1968 for Harcourt, and Gogol’s Taras Bulba, Tolstoy’s The Cossacks, and Voltaire’s Candide for Modern Library. Harvill Press has published his translation of Ismail Kadare’s Three Elegies for Kosovoand the Slovenian writer Brina Svit’s novels Con Brio and Death of a Prima Donna. Constantine is co-editor of A Century of Greek Poetry: 1900–2000 (Kosmos) and The Greek Poets: Homer to the Present (W. W. Norton). His translation of Stylianos Harkianakis’s poetry collection, Mother, received the 2007 Hellenic Association of Translators of Literature Prize.

Bradford Morrow (b. 1951) is an award-winning novelist, short story writer, editor, and author of children’s books. He grew up in Colorado and traveled extensively before settling in New York and launching the renowned literary journal Conjunctions. His novel The Almanac Branch was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, and for Trinity Fields, Morrow was the recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Academy Award in Literature. He has garnered numerous other accolades for his fiction, including O. Henry and Pushcart prizes, as well as a Guggenheim Fellowship. Morrow is a professor of literature and Bard Center Fellow at Bard College.


Conjunctions senior editor Peter Constantine’s most recent translations include The Essential Writings of Machiavelli (Modern Library) (a finalist for the 2008 PEN Translation Prize) and Benjamin Lebert’s The Bird Is a Raven (Knopf) (winner of the Helen und Kurt Wolff Translation Prize). He was awarded the PEN Translation Prize for Six Early Stories by Thomas Mann (Sun and Moon), and the National Translation Award for The Undiscovered Chekhov—Thirty-Eight New Stories (Seven Stories). His translation of the complete works of Isaac Babel received the Koret Jewish Literature Award and a National Jewish Book Award citation. He translated Within Four Walls: The Correspondence between Hannah Arendt and Heinrich Blücher, 1936–1968 for Harcourt, and Gogol’s Taras Bulba, Tolstoy’s The Cossacks, and Voltaire’s Candide for Modern Library. Harvill Press has published his translation of Ismail Kadare’s Three Elegies for Kosovoand the Slovenian writer Brina Svit’s novels Con Brio and Death of a Prima Donna. Constantine is co-editor of A Century of Greek Poetry: 1900–2000 (Kosmos) and The Greek Poets: Homer to the Present (W. W. Norton). His translation of Stylianos Harkianakis’s poetry collection, Mother, received the 2007 Hellenic Association of Translators of Literature Prize.
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (1860–1904) was a Russian doctor, playwright, and author. His best known works include the plays The Seagull (1896), Uncle Vanya (1900), and The Cherry Orchard (1904), and the short stories “The Lady with the Dog,” “Peasants,” and “The Darling.” One of the most influential and widely anthologized writers in Russian history, Chekhov spent most of his career as a practicing physician and devoted much of his energy to treating the poor, free of charge. He died of tuberculosis in 1904.
 

Read an Excerpt

Radical Shadows

Previously Untranslated and Unpublished Works by Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Masters Conjunctions, Vol. 31


By Bradford Morrow

Conjunctions

Copyright © 1998 CONJUNCTIONS
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4804-6388-2



CHAPTER 1

Fourteen Stories

Anton Chekhov

Translated from Russian by Peter Constantine

TRANSLATOR'S NOTE

"Don't lick clean, don't polish—be awkward and bold. Brevity is the sister of talent!" —Anton Chekhov to his older brother Alexander, February 1889


Chekhov wrote these fourteen prose works during the early 1880s, his most productive and prolific period. He had just arrived in the big city and was energetically studying medicine, supporting his parents and siblings, and exploring the streets, taverns, markets and brothels of Moscow, absorbing the city's color and commotion and working it into quick, vivid prose. By the time he was twenty-six he had already published over four hundred short stories and vignettes in Moscow and St. Petersburg magazines.

Young Chekhov amazed his audience of the early 1880s. He was particularly interested in the absurd, and repatterned the anecdote and vignette forms of the popular press into innovative forms of writing: pieces in the guise of National Census questions, a test set by a mad mathematician, a proposal to the board of a medical school, the twisted "questions and answers" of popular women's magazines. The story in "After the Fair" is told in fragmented paragraphs—the "torn and tattered papers covered with smudged writing" that a Moscow housewife finds in her husband's pockets after the Nizhgorod fair. As she reads the bits of paper, a story unfolds. "A Lawyer's Romance, A Protocol" uses the gruff legalese of a divorce petition to tell the cynical love story of a Moscow lawyer.

Traditional storytelling with a beginning, middle and end is no longer important. Chekhov aims for effect, an uncommonly pioneering approach for the time.

Almost a century has passed since Chekhov's death, and it is surprising that these masterpieces have not been previously translated into English. Earlier generations of translators overlooked these pieces, which until recently were often considered shocking in terms of literary technique. As the Chekhov specialist Julie de Sherbinin points out in a letter to Harper's Magazine, which had published other previously untranslated stories of Chekhov, "The gaps in English translation of his early work can be attributed to various factors: these stories were long considered products of an 'immature' writer, they are rich in colloquialisms and wordplay and thus are hard to translate, and they often depend on cultural context for their humor."

These remarkable stories do not present the Chekhov that we know in the West. In them, one sees the exuberance, energy and craft of a young writer of genius. They are some of the pieces that made Chekhov famous in his day.


AFTER THE FAIR

A MERCHANT FROM the First Traders Guild of Moscow had just returned from the Nizhgorod Fair, and in his pockets his wife found a bunch of torn and tattered papers covered with smudged writing. She managed to make out the following:

Dear Mr. Semyon Ivanovitch:

Mr. Khryapunov, the artiste you beat up, is prepared to reach an out-of-court settlement of 100 rubles. He will not accept one kopeck less. I await your answer.

Sincerely, your lawyer, N. Erzayev.


To the brute who dares call himself a trader:

Having been insulted by you most grossly, I have relegated my complaint to a court of law. As you seem incapable of appreciating who I am, perhaps the justice of the peace or a public trial will teach you to respect me. Erzayev, your lawyer, said that you were not prepared to pay me a hundred rubles. This being the case, I am prepared to accept 75 rubles in compensation for your brutish behavior. It is only in lenience for your simplemindedness and to what one could call your animalistic instincts that I am prepared to let you off so cheaply. When an educated man insults me, I charge much more.

Khryapunov, artiste

... concerning our demand of 539 rubles and 43 kopecks, the value of the broken mirror and the piano you demolished in the Glukharev Restaurant ...

... anoint bruises morning and evening ...

... after I manage to sell the ruined fabrics as if they were choice merchandise, I plan to get totally soused! Get yourself over to Feodosya's this evening. See to it that we get Kuzma the musician—and spread some mustard on his head—and that we have four mademoiselles. Get plump ones.

... concerning the I.O.U.—you can take a flying jump! I will gladly proffer a ten-kopeck piece, but concerning the fraudulent bankrupter, we'll see what we shall see.

Finding you in a state of feverish delirium due to the excessive intake of alcohol (delirium tremens), I applied cupping glasses to your body to bring you back to your senses. For these services I request a fee of three rubles.

Egor Frykov, Medical Attendant

Dear Semyon, please don't be angry—I named you as a witness in court concerning that rampage when we were being beaten up, even though you said I shouldn't. Don't act so superior—after all, you yourself caught a couple of wallops too. And see to it that those bruises don't go away, keep them inflamed ...

~ BILL ~

1 portion of fish soup 1 ruble, 80 kopecks
1 bottle of Champagne 8 rubles
1 broken decanter 5 rubles
Cab for the mademoiselles 2 rubles
Cabbage soup for the Gypsy 60 kopecks
Tearing of waiter's jacket 10 rubles


... I kiss you countless times, and hope to see you soon at the following address: Fayansov Furnished rooms, number 18. Ask for Martha Sivyagina.

Your ever-loving Angelica


CONFESSION—OR OLYA, ZHENYA, ZOYA: A LETTER

Ma chère, you asked me, among other things, in your sweet letter, my dear unforgettable friend, why, although I am thirty-nine years old, I have to this day never married.

My dear friend, I hold family life in the highest possible esteem. I never married simply because goddamn Fate was not propitious. I set out to get married a good fifteen times, but did not manage to because everything in this world,—and particularly in my life—seems to hinge on chance. Everything depends on it! Chance, that despot! Let me cite a few incidents thanks to which I still lead a contemptibly lonely life.


FIRST INCIDENT

It was a delightful June morning. The sky was as clear as the clearest Prussian blue. The sun played on the waters of the river and brushed the dewy grass with its rays. The river and the meadow were strewn with rich diamonds of light. The birds were singing, as if with one voice. We walked down the path of yellowish sand, and with happy hearts drank in the sweet aromas of the June morning. The trees looked upon us so gently, and whispered all kinds of nice—I'm sure—and tender things. Olya Gruzdofska's hand (she's now married to the son of your chief of police) lay in mine, and her tiny little finger kept brushing over my thumb ... her cheeks glowed, and her eyes ... O ma chère, what exquisite eyes! There was so much charm, truth, innocence, joyousness, childish naiveté, in those blue sparkling eyes of hers! I fell in love with her blond braids, and with the little footprints her tiny feet left in the sand.

"I have devoted my life, Olga Maksimovna, to science!" I whispered, terrified that her little finger would slip off my thumb. "The future will bring with it a professorial chair ... on my conscience there are questions ... scientific ones ... my life is filled with hard work, troubles, lofty ... I mean ... well, basically, I'm going to be a professor ... I am an honest man, Olga Maksimovna ... I'm not rich, but ... I need someone who with her presence ... (Olya blushed and shyly lowered her eyes; her little finger was trembling) who with her presence ... Olya! Look up at the sky! Look how pure it is ... my life is just as boundlessly pure!"

My tongue didn't have time to scramble out of this quagmire of drivel: Olya suddenly lifted her head, snatched her hand away from mine and clapped her palms together. A flock of geese with little goslings was waddling towards us. Olya ran over to them and, laughing out loud, stretched her arms toward them ... O what beauteous arms, ma chère!

"Squawk, squawk, squawk!" the geese called out, craning their necks, peering at Olya from the side.

"Here goosey-goose, here goosey-goose!" Olya shouted, and reached out to touch a little gosling.

The gosling was quite bright for its age. It ran from Olya's approaching fingers straight to its daddy, a very large foolish-looking gander, and seemed to complain to him. The gander spread his wings. Naughty Olya reached out to touch some other goslings. At that moment something terrible happened: the gander lowered his neck to the ground and, hissing like a snake, marched fiercely towards Olya. Olya squealed and retreated, the gander close at her heels. Olya looked back, squealed even louder and went completely white. Her pretty, girlish face was twisted with terror and despair. It was as if she were being chased by three hundred devils.

I rushed to help her, and banged the gander on the head with my walking stick. The damn gander still managed to quickly snap at the hem of her dress. With wide eyes and terror-stricken face, trembling all over, Olya fell into my arms.

"You're such a coward!" I said to her.

"Thrash that goose!" she moaned, and burst into tears.

Suddenly I no longer saw naiveté or childishness in her frightened little face—but idiocy! Ma chère, I cannot abide faint-heartedness! I cannot imagine being married to a faint-hearted, cowardly woman! The gander ruined everything. After calming Olya down, I went home. I couldn't get that expression of hers—cowardly to the point of idiocy—out of my mind. In my eyes, Olya had lost all her charm. I dropped her.


SECOND INCIDENT

As you know, my friend, I am a writer. The gods ignited within my breast the sacred flame, and I have seen it as my duty to take up the pen! I am a high priest of Apollo! Every beat of my heart, every breath I take, in short—I have sacrificed everything on the altar of my muse. I write and I write and I write ... take away my pen, and I'm dead! You laugh! You do not believe me! I swear most solemnly that it is true!

But as you surely know, ma chère, this world of ours is a bad place for art. The world is big and bountiful, but a writer can find no place for himself in it! A writer is an eternal orphan, an exile, a scapegoat, a defenseless child! I divide mankind into two categories: writers and enviers! The former write, and the latter die of jealousy and spend all their time plotting and scheming against them. I have always fallen prey, and always will, to these plotters! They have ruined my life! They have taken over the writing business, calling themselves editors and publishers, striving with all their might to ruin us writers! Damn them!

Anyway ... For a while I was courting Zhenya Pshikova. You must remember her, that sweet, dreamy, black-haired girl ... she's now married to your neighbor, Karl Ivanovitch Wanze. (À propos, in German, Wanze means "bedbug." But please don't tell Zhenya, she'd be very upset.) Zhenya was in love with the writer within me. She believed in my calling as deeply as I did. She cherished my hopes. But she was so young! She had not yet grasped the aforementioned division of humanity into two categories! She did not believe in this division! She did not believe it, and one fine day ... catastrophe!

I was staying at the Pshikovs' dacha. The family looked on me as the groom-to-be and Zhenya as the bride. I wrote—she read. What a critic she was, ma chère! She was as objective as Aristides and as stern as Cato. I dedicated my works to her. One of these pieces she really liked. She wanted to see it in print, so I sent it to one of the magazines. I sent it on the first of July and waited two weeks for the answer. The fifteenth of July came, and Zhenya and I finally received the letter we had been waiting for. We opened it; she went red, I went white. Beneath the address, the following was written: "Shlendovo village.

Mr. M. B. You don't have a drop of talent in you. God knows what the hell you're writing about. Please don't waste your stamps and our time! Find yourself another occupation!"

Ridiculous ... it was obvious that a bunch of idiots had written this.

"I see ...," Zhenya mumbled.

"The damn ... swine!" I muttered. So, ma chère Yevgenia Markovna, are you still smiling at my division of the world into writers and enviers?

Zhenya thought for a while and then yawned.

"Well," she said, "maybe you don't have any talent after all. They surely know best. Last year Fyodor Fyodosevitch spent the whole summer fishing by the river with me. All you do is write, write, write! It's so boring!"

Well! How do you like that! After all those sleepless nights we spent together, I writing, she reading! With both of us sacrificing ourselves to my muse! Ha!

Zhenya cooled to my writing, and by extension to me. We broke up. It had to be.


THIRD INCIDENT

You know, of course, my dear unforgettable friend, that I am a fervent music lover. Music is my passion, my true element. The names Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Gounod are not the names of men—they are the names of giants! I love classical music. I scorn operettas, as I scorn vaudeville! I am a true habitué of the opera. Our stars Khokhlov, Kochetova, Barzal, Usatov, Korsov ... are simply wonderful people! How I regret that I do not know any singers personally. Were I to know one, I would bare my soul in humble gratitude!

Last winter I went to the opera particularly often. I did not go alone—I went with the Pepsinov family. It is such a pity that you do not know this dear family! Each winter the Pepsinovs book a loge. They are devoted to music, heart and soul. The crown of this dear family is Colonel Pepsinov's daughter, Zoya. What a girl, my dear friend! Her pink lips alone could drive someone like me out of his mind! She is shapely, beautiful, clever. I loved her ... I loved her madly, passionately, terribly! My blood was boiling when I sat next to her. You smile, ma chère? You can smile! You cannot comprehend the love a writer feels! A writer's love is—Mount Etna coupled with Mount Vesuvius! Zoya loved me. Her eyes always rested on my eyes, which were constantly seeking out her eyes. We were happy. It was but one step to marriage.

But we foundered.

Faust was playing. Faust, my dear friend, was written by Gounod, and Gounod is one of the greatest musicians on earth. On the way to the theater, I decided to declare my love to Zoya during the first act. I have never understood that act—it was a mistake on the part of the great Gounod to have written that first act!

The opera began. Zoya and I slipped out to the foyer. She sat next to me and, shivering with expectation and happiness, nervously fanned herself. How beautiful she looked in the glittering lights, ma chère, how terribly beautiful!

"The overture," I began my declaration, "led me to some reflections, Zoya Egorovna ... so much feeling, so much ... you listen and you long ... you long for, well, for that something, and you listen ..."

I hiccupped, and continued: "You long for something ... special! You long for something unearthly ... Love? Passion? Yes ... it must be ... love [I hiccupped]. Yes, love!"

Zoya smiled in confusion, and fanned herself harder. I hiccupped. I can't stand hiccups!

"Zoya Egorovna! Tell me, I beg of you! Do you know this feeling? [I hiccupped.] Zoya Egorovna! I am trembling for your answer!"

"I ... I ... don't understand ..."

"Sorry, that was just a hiccup ... It'll pass ... I'm talking about that all-embracing feeling that ... damn!"

"Have some water!"

I'll make my declaration, and then I'll quickly go down to the buffet, I thought to myself, and continued: "In a nutshell, Zoya Egorovna ... you, of course, will have noticed ..."

I hiccupped, and then in my consternation bit my tongue.

"You will, of course, have noticed [I hiccupped] ... you've known me almost a year now ... well ... I'm an honest man, Zoya Egorovna! I am a hard-working man! I am not rich, it's true, but ..."

I hiccupped and leaped up.

"I think you should have some water!" Zoya suggested. I moved a few steps away from the sofa, tapped my finger on my throat and hiccupped again. Ma chère, I was in a terrible predicament! Zoya stood up, and marched off to the loge with me close on her heels. After escorting her, I hiccupped and quickly ran off to the buffet. I drank five or six glasses of water, and the hiccups seemed somehow to quiet down. I smoked a cigarette and returned to the loge. Zoya's brother got up and gave me his seat, the seat next to my darling Zoya. I sat down, and at that very moment ... hiccupped! About five minutes passed, I hiccupped, hiccupped somehow strangely, with a wheeze. I got up and went to stand by the loge door. It is better, ma chère, to hiccup by a door than into the ear of the woman one loves! I hiccupped. A schoolboy from the loge next to ours looked at me and laughed out loud. The joy with which that little brute laughed! And the joy with which I would have gladly ripped the horrible little brat's ear off! He laughed as they were singing the great Faust aria on stage! What blasphemy! No, ma chère! As children we would never have comported ourselves in this manner! Cursing the impertinent schoolboy, I hiccupped again ... laughter broke out in the neighboring loges.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Radical Shadows by Bradford Morrow. Copyright © 1998 CONJUNCTIONS. Excerpted by permission of Conjunctions.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

  • Cover
  • INTRODUCTION
  • Anton Chekhov, Fourteen Stories (translated from Russian by Peter Constantine)
  • Yasunari Kawabata, Silence and The Boat-Women: A Story and a Dance-Drama (translated from Japanese by Michael Emmerich)
  • Djuna Barnes, Eighteen Poems (edited by Phillip Herring and Osias Stutman)
  • C. P. Cavafy, Seven Unfinished Poems (translated from Greek by John C. Davis)
  • George Seferis, Cavafy's Ithaka (translated from Greek by Susan Matthias)
  • Eugène Ionesco, From Black and White (with lithographs by Eugène Ionesco, and translated from French by Esther Allen)
  • Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Life Sentence, A Missing Passage from "The House of the Dead" (translated from Russian by Peter Constantine)
  • Antonia Pozzi, Twelve Poems (translated from Italian with an afterword by Lawrence Venuti)
  • Marcel Proust, The Indifferent One (translated from French by Burton Pike)
  • Truman Capote, Christmas Vacation (edited by Bradford Morrow, with a facsimile of the original manuscript)
  • Mary Butts, Fumerie (edited by Nathalie Blondel and Camilla Bagg)
  • Robert Musil, The Snowstorm (translated from German by Burton Pike)
  • Michel Leiris, 1944 Journal (translated from French by Lydia Davis, with afterword text by Maurice Blanchot, The Instant of My Death, translated from French by Jeff Fort)
  • Thomas Bernhard, Claus Peymann and Hermann Beil on Sulzwiese (translated from German by Gitta Honegger)
  • Paul Van Ostaijen, Hollow Haven (translated from Dutch with an afterword by Duncan Dobbelmann)
  • Anna Akhmatova, Poems and Fragments 1909-1964 (translated from Russian by Roberta Reeder with Volodymyr Dibrova)
  • E. M. Cioran, From Cahiers (selected with an afterword by Norman Manea, translated from French by Richard Howard)
  • Mikhail Bulgakov, Three Stories (translated from Russian by Anneta Greenlee)
  • Hermann Broch, Frana (translated from German by Susan Gillespie)
  • Elizabeth Bishop, Three Poems (edited by Alice Quinn)
  • Louis Couperus, Of Monotony (translated from Dutch by Duncan Dobbelmann)
  • Vladimir Nabokov, The House Was There (with a drawing by Vladimir Nabokov and an afterword by Sarah Funke)
  • Federigo Tozzi, Three Stories (translated from Italian with an afterword by Minna Proctor)
  • Zinaida Gippius, Three Poems (translated from Russian by Anneta Greenlee)
  • Vaslav Nijinsky, From The Unknown Fourth Notebook (edited by Joan Acocella, translated from Russian by Kyril FitzLyon)
  • NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS
  • Copyright

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