America through Russian Eyes, 1874-1926


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Olga Peters Hasty; Edited by Susanne Fusso

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To view the familiar from a different perspective is always enlightening. This engaging collection of travel accounts by Russian writers who visited America around the turn of the century offers fresh insights into both the American experience and the Russian mind. The documents, most of which appear in English for the first time, and interwoven with explanatory comments by Olga Peters Hasty and Susanne Fusso.
The anthology begins in 1874 with young Machtet, who enthusiastically describes his journey across the prairie to a tiny utopian community in Kansas. Next Vladimir Korolenko gives his impressions of the stockyards of Chicago, and Vladimir Bogoraz observes fellow-passengers coming into New York harbor and traveling on a trans-continental train. With Gorky's visit in 1906, the tone of the Russian visitors' renderings of America changes. Because of the rise of Bolshevism, Russian travelers are inclined to convey negative impressions of America and to focus on its dramatic rise as an industrial power. Gorky's invective is followed by the commentaries of Sergei Esenin and Vladimir Mayakovsky that are also critical of American life but express admiration for American technology and know-how.

"This unusually attractive and informative book is full of striking images: accounts of Indian life on the prairie, mob rule and lynchings, socialistic communities, skyscrapers and urban ghettos. It makes for very lively and exotic reading."—Richard Bridgman, University of California, Berkeley

"The American reader of this anthology will find entertaining vignettes, quaint ideas about the American experience and a profound sense of the difficulties Russians still have in understanding Americans."—Jane E. Good, Washington Post Book World

"[This book is] well-translated and attractively produced."—Conor Cruise O’Brien, Sunday Times

"[This book contains] much curious and fascinating data about American life and Russian attitudes to it."—Douglas Dunn, Glasgow Herald

"An attractively produced anthology of newly translated Russian autobiographical texts, accompanied by lucid and helpful commentaries which provide background information and corrections of occasional factual errors."—Arnold McMillin, The Slavonic Review

"The editors of this collection did an admirable job of preparing these often idiosyncratic texts into a unified sampler of Russian attitudes toward the USA. The volume opens with an excellent brief overview of the cultural interaction between these two nations, supplemented by a sound bibliography."—Halina Stephan, Literary Research

"The editors have done a marvelous job of transforming Mayakovsky’s extraordinary Russian into a meaningful English that is, even so, true to the original."—William Richardson, The Historian

"Here is a book to entertain social and literary historians. After a concise, informative introduction, Olga Peters Hasty and Susanne Fusso offer translations from the American travel-prose of six Russian writers. . . . An elegant, intelligent, and stimulating text, which deserves to be widely studied."—Michael Dunne,

ISBN: 9780300040159
Publication Date: April 27, 1988
228 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
Dead Souls

Nikolai Gogol; Edited by Susanne Fusso; Translated by Berna

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