October 4, 2023
We are pleased to present here an excerpt from Roman Dziarski’s How We Outwitted and Survived the Nazis: The True Story of the Holocaust Rescuers, Zofia Sterner and Her Family, accompanied by a personal introduction from the author. The book tells the story how his family rescued Jews from the Holocaust and survived WWII, against the backdrop of the realities of the Nazi and Soviet occupation of Poland.
August 15, 2023
This excerpt from 18: Jewish Stories Translated from 18 Languages explores the psychological impact of the Holocaust on a survivor and his family after the war, when the narrator is confronted by his two sons, who want to buy a Christmas tree. This short story is by Gábor T. Szántó and translated from Hungarian by Walter Burgess and Marietta Morry.
September 9, 2022
We are pleased to present here an adapted excerpt from Zvi Preigerzon’s Memoirs of a Jewish Prisoner of the Gulag, translated from the Hebrew, accompanied by a personal introduction from editor and translator Alex Lahav. The book tells the story of Zvi Preigerzon’s arrest, interrogation, and imprisonment in the Gulag and describes many of the Jewish prisoners whom he met there.
April 27, 2022
We are pleased to present here an excerpt of Don’t Be a Stranger: Russian Literature and the Perils of Not Fitting In, accompanied by a short personal introduction in which the author, Jason Galie, situates the volume’s analysis of the svoj/chuzhoj dichotomy in Russian society and literature within the larger context of the current war in Ukraine. Don’t Be a Stranger explores the consequences of being marked an outsider in the Russian-speaking world through a close study of several seminal works of Russian literature. The author combines the fields of literary studies, linguistics, and sociology to illuminate what prompted Christof Ruhl, an economist at the World Bank, to comment, about Russia, “On a very broad scale, it’s a country where people care about their family and friends. Their clan. But not their society.”
March 8, 2022
This International Women’s Day, we’d like to not only elevate the experiences and voices of women, but also continue our spotlight on Ukraine and Ukrainian voices by pointing readers towards just a few of the women poets, translators, and authors whose work is found in The White Chalk of Days: The Contemporary Ukrainian Literature Series Anthology and Words for War: New Poems from Ukraine. Both books, unprecedented collections of post-Soviet Ukrainian literature in English translation originally published in 2017, are available to read for free online here and here.
February 24, 2022
We are pleased to present here an excerpt of Death and Love in the Holocaust: The Story of Sonja and Kurt Messerschmidt, accompanied by a short personal introduction from author Steve Hochstadt. The book tells the story of Kurt and Sonja Messerschmidt, who met in Nazi Berlin, married in the Theresienstadt ghetto, and survived Auschwitz. They witnessed the death of Jews every day for two years, but never stopped building their own life together. The words of these survivors, which are contextualized with explanations of historical explanations from the author each chapter, create a direct relationship with the reader, as if they were telling the story in their living room.
Death and Love in the Holocaust is out March 1, 2022 and is available for preorder wherever books are sold. The excerpt published here is from the chapter “Slave Labor.”
May 5, 2021
Lev Fridman and Oksana Rosenblum, editors (with Anzhelika Khyzhnya) of the bilingual volume “Quiet Spiders of the Hidden Soul”: Mykola (Nik) Bazhan’s Early Experimental Poetry, here present four short excerpts from the book, with accompanying comments from the translators.
April 1, 2021
This is an excerpt from Ksana Blank’s forthcoming book, “The Nose”: A Stylistic and Critical Companion to Nikolai Gogol’s Story. This literary guide leads students with advanced knowledge of Russian as well as experienced scholars through the text of Nikolai Gogol’s absurdist masterpiece “The Nose.” Part I focuses on numerous instances of the writer’s wordplay, which is meant to surprise and delight the reader, but which often is lost in English translations. It traces Gogol’s descriptions of everyday life in St. Petersburg, familiar to the writer’s contemporaries and fellow citizens but hidden from the modern Western reader. Part II presents an overview of major critical interpretations of the story in Gogol scholarship from the time of its publication to the present, as well as its connections to the works of Shostakovich, Kafka, Dalí, and Kharms.
The companion is out April 20, 2021 and is now available for preorder wherever books are sold. The excerpt published here is from the chapter “Language Game as the Engine of the Plot.”
December 2, 2020
By October 1922, when the Lloyd George Government fell from power, the British Empire had reached its maximum territorial extent and seemed on the point of stabilizing all its imperial relationships. One of the newest areas to come under direct British control was a large section of the Middle East. The problem presenting itself to the British Government was how to deal with these new territories under the changed world conditions. There are innumerable elements to this problem and to treat the whole subject in equal depth for the whole period—from the acquisition of the Middle East until the end of Lloyd George’s reign—would be a daunting task. The present attempt is more modest.
October 21, 2020
In thinking about the eighty or so texts to include in The New Jewish Canon: Ideas and Debates, 1980-2015, my co-editor Yehuda Kurtzer and I sought the texts that had shaped the larger American Jewish community that we both call home. In some cases, this meant books or articles that for some period of time it seemed that everyone was reading and talking about. In other cases, we chose books and articles whose influence had been less direct—these were often texts that reflected or responded to collective shifts in ritual behavior, political affiliation, or knowledge. And some were texts that few would admit to having read because within the Jewish mainstream these materials were seen as belonging to the fringe; we included these because we believe that acknowledging and seeking to understand dangerous ideas and where they came from is much better than ignoring them.