White Guard


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Mikhail Bulgakov; Translated by Marian Schwartz; With an Introduction by Evgeny Dobrenko

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The first complete and accurate English translation of Bulgakov’s classic novel, accompanied by a substantial historical introduction

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.

Marian Schwartz is a prize-winning translator of Russian who recently received her second Translation Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts to translate Olga Slavnikova’s newest novel, 2017. She has translated classic literary works by Nina Berberova and Yuri Olesha, as well as Edvard Radzinsky’s The Last Tsar. Evgeny Dobrenko is professor in the Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies at the University of Sheffield. He is author, editor, or co-editor of more than fifteen books, including Political Economy of Socialist Realism, published by Yale University Press.





"Mikhail Bulgakov's White Guard is a classic modern novel by one of the greatest Russian avant-garde writers that vividly recreates the chaos of Revolutionary Kiev in 1918. Marian Schwartz's English translation brilliantly reproduces the author's aural and visual montage of a family caught in the deadly whirlpool of multiple warring adversaries."—Charlotte Douglas, New York University

"With this edition of The White Guard, translator Marian Schwartz has done a handsome job of matching Bulgakov's rich Russian vocabulary and attention to meticulous detail. In a thoughtful introduction, the scholar Evgeny Dobrenko observes that, with the Russian Civil war, 'history intruded, suddenly and menacingly.' Bulgakov's novel evokes the suffering of the conflict and the still greater horrors that lay ahead."—Joshua Rubenstein, Wall Street Journal

"The scour of the shelves for some new Russian reading unearthed a very nice copy of White Guard . . . incidentally Mikhail Bulgakov's first and most autobiographical novel, and in this edition complete with an incredibly insightful introduction by Evgeny Dobrenko. . . . Hats off to the translator Marian Schwartz, who helpfully explains the difficulties of preserving the language of a text that is something of a 'kaleidoscopic whirl.'"—Dovegreyreader.typepad.com

"Marian Schwartz's excellent translation of Bulgakov's early novel is both timely and elegant, preserving the shape, texture, and richness of the original text. . . . The close textual relationship between White Guard and Days of the Turbins, the play that would become a standard of early Soviet theater and Stalin's personal favorite, makes Schwartz's White Guard an essential translation for English-speaking scholars and students of Russian literature and theater, Ukrainian history, the Russian Revolution, and the Russian intelligentsia, as well as general readers who appreciate the power of Russian literature."—Sidney Eric Dement, Slavic and East European Journal

Finalist for the 2010 Lewis Galantiere Award sponsored by the American Translators Association

Finalist for the 2009 Sourette Diehl Fraser Award for Best Translation of a Book, sponsored by the Texas Institute of Letters.

Winner of the 2009 Best Translation into English Award given by the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and Eastern European Literature

Finalist for the 2008 National Translation Award sponsored by the New Jersey Historical Commission

Finalist for the 2008 National Translators Award sponsored by the American Literary Translators Association

Winner of the 2009 Sybil Halpern Milton Prize sponsored by the German Studies Association
ISBN: 9780300122428
Publication Date: May 28, 2008
352 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4
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