Tag Archive: 0novels

A tramp abroad

A tramp abroad

17th March 2015

Something for St Patrick’s Day… I’ll admit I’d never heard of Jim Phelan (1895–1966), the Irish tramp, writer, and Republican revolutionary, until I came across this book. Published in 1941, it’s the first edition in Russian, translated by the excellent Vera Toper, of The Green Volcano (1938), a novel set in revolutionary Ireland, 1916–22.  As one might […]

Scottish Gothic

Scottish Gothic

18th February 2015

With the California book fair now behind me, my thoughts turn to Edinburgh, where I shall be exhibiting 6–7 March.  As ever with fairs, what to take?  Here’s a candidate: I’ve written before about Ossian, and the effect it had in Germany (not least, on Goethe), but I’d never heard of this book before: Die eiserne Maske. […]

Crash-landed in North Carolina

Crash-landed in North Carolina

19th September 2014

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a fictitious Boston imprint from 1777.  Here’s something in the same vein, or so I first thought: a German novel from c.1789, written by Johann Wolfgang Andreas Schöpfel (1752–1827).  Inspired by the craze for balloon travel that hit Europe and America in the 1780s, it opens with a balloon flight from Versailles which ends […]

Happy Birthday, Tolstoy!

Happy Birthday, Tolstoy!

9th September 2014

As you may have seen from today’s Google Doodle, 9 September is Lev Tolstoy’s birthday: But where did it all start?  How did Tolstoy become a writer?  It all began in 1852, when Tolstoy was 23 years old, and convalescing in Tiflis after mercury treatment for ‘the venereal sickness’ when he completed the first part of Childhood, his […]

Russia reads America

Russia reads America

9th January 2014

‘At the time of the October Revolution, the Russians based their conception of American culture on a combination of impressions derived from books of fact and fiction …  There was no dearth of facts about the United States, but there were huge quantities of misinformation and myth. ‘American literature in tsarist times had done little to […]

A real horrorshow book

A real horrorshow book

22nd November 2013

Anthony Burgess died 20 years ago today, on 22 November 1993.  I think that happened to be the year I also read A Clockwork Orange for the first time.  As I was studying Russian, I was particularly drawn by Nadtsat, Burgess’s invented teenage slang (from the Russian suffix -nadtsat’, ‘-teen’): ‘horrorshow’ (from khorosho) for ‘good’; […]