Disintegration of the Atom/Petersburg Winters

Disintegration of the Atom/Petersburg Winters

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Georgy Ivanov
Translated from the Russian, edited, annotated and with an introduction by Jerome Katsell & Stanislav Shvabrin

Series: Cultural Revolutions: Russia in the Twentieth Century
ISBN: 9781618114549 (hardcover) / 9781618115621 (paper)
Pages: 304 pp.
Publication Date: April 2016

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This book presents translations of two celebrated works by Georgy Ivanov. Disintegration of the Atom (1938) is a prose poem depicting Russian émigré despair on the eve of WWII—a cri de coeur that challenges prevailing concepts of time and space, ending in erotically charged wretchedness. Petersburg Winters (1928/1952) is a portrait of Petersburg swept up in the artistic ferment of late Imperial and Revolutionary Russia. The spirit of the city is conveyed through a series of vignettes of Ivanov’s contemporaries, including Blok, Akhmatova, Esenin, and Mandelstam.

Jerome Katsell was born in Brooklyn and raised Liberty, NY and Palo Alto, CA. He holds a PhD from UCLA, and is an independent scholar and translator.

Stanislav Shvabrin teaches Russian language and literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“A lost man walks the streets of an alien town. Like a high tide, the void gradually begins to engulf him. He does not resist it. As he goes away, he mutters to himself: ‘Pushkinian Russia, why did you deceive us? Pushkinian Russia, why did you betray us?’”

- from Disintegration of the Atom

“They say that at the last moment a drowning man forgets his fear and stops gasping for air. He suddenly feels at ease, free and blissful. And, as he loses consciousness, he sinks to the bottom with a smile.
By 1920 Petersburg was already drowning almost blissfully.
People feared hunger until it established itself ‘for sure and for the long run’ and then stopped noticing it. The same went for executions by firing squads.”

- from Petersburg Winters

Table of Contents

On Transliteration, Sources, and Annotation
“. . . Struck by all the horrors of human disillusionment. . .”: Miseries and Splendors of Georgy Ivanov’s “Citational” Prose