I'm having more reading pleasure than can be good for a blogger right now and I'm going to stay with the theme of literature in translation because suddenly my cup runneth over.
I hadn't heard of Angel Classics until I fell into a book evening up at Chagford back on a lovely summer's evening being held to celebrate the 15th edition of Slightly Foxed, the literary magazine with a difference but one that is doing what I love to do.
Flagging up the books we may have missed but which deserve an audience.
It was a perfectly bookish evening and I had a lovely chat with Slightly Foxed editor Hazel Wood and finally the word 'blogging' was uttered. Hazel blanched a fraction but coped well with the onslaught and up came the subject of reading preferences.
Give me some good, solid mittel European melancholy with a bit of crumbling Habsburg, some fin-de-siecle Vienna thrown in and it will keep me quiet for hours.
Literature in translation, yes more more, bring it on.
So I was all ears as Hazel told me about Mr Hazel's (Anthony) independent publishing company Angel Classics who specialize in just that, Russian, German, Czech, Polish, Serbo-Croat, it's all in there.I pleaded for details which Hazel (having taken this long to recover I suspect ) sent last week and I was onto Anthony Wood in a flash.
I'd read Fraulein Else by Arthur Schnitzler in the Pushkin Press edition but hadn't found any more so I'm delighted to have his Selected Short Fiction lined up, "some of the most subtle and haunting twentieth-century explorations of inner lives."
Being incorrigibly nosey I want background on the man too. How could he write such a chillingly revealing little book about a woman as Fraulein Else?
There is a great introduction to Selected Short Fiction by the translator J.M.Q.Davies which will capably inform my reading and hopefully my thinking here when I've read them.
I've dipped in and out of The Good Soldier Svejk by Jaroslav Hasek over the years and how can you not love the only loyal Czech in the Austrian army of 1914, the little man versus the bureaucracy?
'Fighting officialdom with the only weapons available to him - passive resistance, subterfuge, native wit and dumb insolence.'
The Bachura Scandal & other stories and sketches by Jaroslav Hasek a selection of pre-Svejk writing showing quite what a 'humorist and satirist of a rare order' Hasek was.These stories of pre-1914 Czech life look set to impress.
Hugo Hofmannsthal, not only Richard Strauss's librettist but also turning his eye to the restless spirit of fin-de-siecle Vienna and surrounded by a veritable Who's Who host of contemporaries, Mahler, Klimt, Freud et al.Selected Tales a slim volume that I suspect contains a powerful horde of lesser-known writing.
Finally I probably had to give The Silver Dove, by Andrey Bely a whirl, just because.
But also because, published in 1910, it is considered to be the first modern Russian novel and that sounds intriguing. A disillusioned Moscow poet joins a rural mystic set The Silver Doves, led by a bit of a Rasputin-esque figure. This is a culture on the brink and one that knows that to survive it must heed the 'formless strivings and undisciplined imaginings of the common people.' Of course we all know what happened next.
I am intrigued and will be back with early thoughts very soon.
I'm also going to have a foray into the land of Pushkin where I've never been before so all offers of hand-holding welcome, any Pushkin-ites out there?