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White Guard

White Guard

Translated from the Russian by MARIAN SCHWARTZ
With an Introduction by Evgeny Dobrenko
Copyright Date: 2008
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 352
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  • Book Info
    White Guard
    Book Description:

    White Guard, Mikhail Bulgakov's semi-autobiographical first novel, is the story of the Turbin family in Kiev in 1918. Alexei, Elena, and Nikolka Turbin have just lost their mother-their father had died years before-and find themselves plunged into the chaotic civil war that erupted in the Ukraine in the wake of the Russian Revolution. In the context of this family's personal loss and the social turmoil surrounding them, Bulgakov creates a brilliant picture of the existential crises brought about by the revolution and the loss of social, moral, and political certainties. He confronts the reader with the bewildering cruelty that ripped Russian life apart at the beginning of the last century as well as with the extraordinary ways in which the Turbins preserved their humanity.

    In this volume Marian Schwartz, a leading translator, offers the first complete and accurate translation of the definitive original text of Bulgakov's novel. She includes the famous dream sequence, omitted in previous translations, and beautifully solves the stylistic issues raised by Bulgakov's ornamental prose. Readers with an interest in Russian literature, culture, or history will welcome this superb translation of Bulgakov's important early work.

    This edition also contains an informative historical essay by Evgeny Dobrenko.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-14819-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Translator’s Note
    (pp. ix-xiv)
    Marian Schwartz
  4. Introduction Writing Judgment Day
    (pp. xv-xlii)
    Evgeny Dobrenko

    If the founder of Russian formalism Viktor Shklovsky (the prototype for the poet Mikhail Shpolyansky in Bulgakov’s novelWhite Guard) was right, and literature does in fact exist for the purpose of “estranging” (or “defamiliarizing”) everyday life, then great literature is foreordained to challenge the great banalities. Among such examples of ancient wisdom, no doubt, is the maxim about thundering guns and silent muses. It might be argued, however, that it is the thundering guns that beget literature. Indirectly, of course: they beget pain, and pain begets literature. The twentieth century was a century of great pain, and thus of...

  5. Part ONE
    (pp. 3-310)

    Great was the year and terrible the Year of Our Lord 1918, the second since the Revolution had begun. Sun had been abundant in the summer, snow in the winter, and two stars had risen particularly high in the sky: Venus, the Evening Star; and Mars, red and quivering.

    But in years of peace and blood alike the days shoot by like arrows, and in the hard frost the young Turbins had not noticed the onset of shaggy white December. Oh, Father Frost, sparkling with snow and happiness! Mama, radiant queen! Where are you now?

    A year after her daughter...