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Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk

14th July 2004

Dear all,
There is a talk at the Bookshop of the London Review of Books by
one of our members that might be of interest.
Best wishes
Anna

ROBERT CHANDLER ON NIKOLAY LESKOV¹S LADY MACBETH OF MTSENSK

³Nikolay Leskov is Russia¹s best-kept secret. Possibly, if
Anthony Trollope had been merged with Thomas Hardy, England
could have had a comparable writer (…) in its graphic
depiction of lust, murder and punishment Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk
outshines even Dostoevsky.

Donald Rayfield (Literary Review)

Nikolay Leskov is at least as great a writer as Turgenev,
although he still remains largely unknown to English-speaking
readers. This is in part because of the remarkable variety of
his novels, stories and journalism; literary historians tend to
prefer writers who are easier to pigeonhole.
It is also because of the complexity of his language. To
Leskov, according to one critic, ‘language was not simply a
medium of communication, but a potential art object in its own
right, something to be played with, sculpted into interesting
shapes.’ ‘Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk’ is Shakespearean in both its
linguistic vigour and its emotional intensity. The libretto of
Shostakovich’s opera is based on this story.

Robert Chandler will talk about Leskov and read from his recently
published translation of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (Hesperus).
Robert Chandler’s co-translations of Andrey Platonov have twice
been shortlisted for the Weidenfeld European Translation Prize
(HAPPY MOSCOW in 2002, and SOUL in 2004); his co-translation of
Platonov’s ‘The Macedonian Officer’ was awarded joint second
prize in the BCLA’s ‘John Dryden Translation Competition’ this
year.

15 July, 7.0 pm at the LRB Bookshop, 14 Bury Place, London WC1A
2JL. Entry: £3.00. (The London Review Bookshop)

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