Diary, 1901-1969

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Yale University Press, Oct 1, 2008 - History - 630 pages
A perceptive literary critic, a world-famous writer of witty and playful verses for children, a leading authority on children’s linguistic creativity, and a highly skilled translator, Kornei Chukovsky was a complete man of letters. As benefactor to many writers including Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Joseph Brodsky, he stood for several decades at the center of the Russian literary milieu. It is no exaggeration to claim that Chukovsky knew everyone involved in shaping the course of twentieth-century Russian literature. His voluminous diary, here translated into English for the first time, begins in prerevolutionary Russia and spans nearly the entire Soviet era. It is the candid commentary of a brilliant observer who documents fifty years of Soviet literary activity and the personal predicament of the writer under a totalitarian regime.
From descriptions of friendship with such major literary figures as Anna Akhmatova and Isaac Babel to accounts of the struggle with obtuse and hostile censorship, from the heartbreaking story of the death of the daughter who had inspired so many stories to candid political statements, the extraordinary diary of Kornei Chukovsky is a unique account of the twentieth-century Russian experience.


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Diary, 1901-1969

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In his last decades, Russian literary critic, writer, and translator Chukovsky (1888�-1964) repeatedly asked himself why he bothered to maintain a diary and vowed to stop. It is the good fortune ... Read full review


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Excerpts from What I Remember or FiddleFaddle
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About the author (2008)

Kornei Chukovsky was an extraordinary figure: a critic and memoirist of the Silver Age, a literary scholar and editor, a celebrated children's poet, and a noted translator and theoretician of translation. Especially fine were his translations from English, including renderings of Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, and G. K. Chesterton. From Two to Five, first published in 1928 and reissued many times, presents witty, thoughtful observations of children's psychology and verbal creativity, and has been frequently used by linguists. Chukovsky's own verses for children, which are enormously popular, are among the classics of this genre in Russia.

Michael Henry Heim was born in New York on January 21, 1943. He received an undergraduate degree from Columbia University and a doctorate in Slavic languages from Harvard University. He was fluent in Czech, French, German, Italian, Russian and Serbian/Croatian and possessed a reading knowledge of six more languages. He became a professor of Slavic languages at the University California at Los Angeles in 1972 and served as chairman of the Slavic languages department from 1999 to 2003. He was known for his translations of works by Gunter Grass, Milan Kundera, Thomas Mann and Anton Chekhov. He received numerous awards for his work including the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize in 2005, the PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation in 2009, and the PEN Translation Prize in 2010. He died from complications of melanoma on September 29, 2012 at the age of 69.

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