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Northwestern World Classics

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Belmour

A Modern Edition

Anne Damer, Edited and with an Introduction by Jonathan David Gross

Jonathan David Gross is a professor of English at DePaul University and the director of the DePaul Humanities Center. He previously edited The Sylph (Northwestern, 2007) and Emma; or, The Unfortunate Attachment (2004), both by Lady Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. He is the author of Byron: The Erotic Liberal (2001), and edited Byron’s "Corbeau Blanc": The Life and Letters of Lady Melbourne (1997).

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Letters on God and Letters to a Young Woman

Rainer Maria Rilke, Translated from the German by Annemarie S. Kidder

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875–1926) was an avid letter writer, and more than seven thousand of his letters have survived. The best-known collection today is Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet, first published in 1929. Two other letter collections appeared around the same time and gained high acclaim among readers yet are virtually unknown today. They are Letters to a Young Woman (1930) and Letters on God (1933).

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My Sister Life and the Zhivago Poems

Boris Pasternak, Translated from the Russian by James E. Falen

Boris Pasternak is best known in the West for his epic novel Doctor Zhivago, whereas in Russia he is most celebrated as a poet. The two poetry collections offered here in translation are chronological and thematic bookends, and they capture Pasternak’s abiding and powerful vision of life: his sense of its beauty and terror, its precariousness for the individual, and its persistence in time—that vitality of being with which he is on familiar and familial terms.

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Regrowth

Seven Tales of Jewish Life Before, During, and After Nazi Occupation

Der Der Nister

The seven stories that compose Regrowth (Vidervuks) might shock readers familiar with accounts of the Holocaust marked by mournful and sentimental overtones. Although the outcome is often terrible, Der Nister’s characters refuse to accept the role of victim. Likewise, the monstrosity of the perpetrators is not at issue: the Nazis may be abominable, but they do not warrant attention for longer than a savage animal would. Der Nister is drawn to parties capable of moral decision—and their dilemmas often feature an opponent that is inside one’s own people, inside oneself. “Flora,” for example, follows a father and daughter through the Nazi invasion and later Soviet occupation of a Polish-Jewish city. 

Der Nister paints a sympathetic portrait of the father, a member of the Jewish Council, even though he collaborates with the Nazis in a misguided attempt to help his people. To repair the father’s mistake, his daughter joins the resistance, seduces a traitor, and delivers him to his death. Accounts are settled within the Jewish community. The Nazi enemy is largely passed over in the silence his infamy deserves. Der Nister’s characters are crafty, and they do not hesitate to use force when necessary. After the defeat of the Nazis and Soviet takeover, Der Nister suggests, the maneuvering will continue. The morally complex characters and richly layered stories of Regrowth ultimately reclaim a more nuanced view of crimes still not fully reckoned.

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Selected Poems

Translated from the Russian by James H. McGavran III

James McGavran’s new translation of Vladimir Maya­kovsky’s poetry is the first to fully capture the Futurist and Soviet agitprop artist’s voice. Because of his work as a propagandist for the Soviet regime, and because of his posthumous enshrinement by Stalin as “the best and most talented poet of our Soviet epoch,” Mayakovsky has most often been interpreted—and translated—within a political context. McGavran’s translations reveal a more nuanced poet who possessed a passion for word creation and lin­guistic manipulation. Mayakovsky’s bombastic metaphors and formal élan shine through in these translations, and McGavran’s commentary provides vital information on Mayakovsky, illuminating the poet’s many references to the Russian literary canon, his contemporaries in art and culture, and Soviet figures and policies.

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The Twelve Chairs

A Novel

Ilya Ilf and Evgeny Petrov, Translated from the Russian by Anne O. Fisher, Foreword by Alexandra Ilf

Ilya Ilf Fainzilberg (1837 – 1937) and Evgeny Petrovich Kataev (1903 – 1942) met in Moscow in 1925 and wrote this novel from a plot idea suggested to them by Kataev’s famous brother, the novelist Valentin.

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