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Beyond the Russian Classics: Marian Schwartz

November 11, 2018 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Not all translated Russian literature is a difficult 800-page tome from the 19th century. Marian Schwartz joins us to talk about translating contemporary Russian literature and her latest translation of Leonid Yuzefovich’s Horsemen of the Sands.

Horsemen of the Sands contains two novellas: The Storm, which takes place in a Soviet elementary school, and Horsemen of the Sands, a mystical tale about the real-life warlord R.F. Ungern-Shternberg, who fought both the Chinese and the Bolsheviks for control of Mongolia during the Russian Civil War, which lasted six years after the 1917 Bolshevik revolution.

In The Storm, a bombastic teacher lectures his young students on traffic accidents and family separation, unwittingly stirring an emotional crisis. A lost wallet, an office fling, an upset stomach—the minutiae of life unveil the private tragedies at the heart of a school community.

Horsemen of the Sands takes place a world away. An old herdsman entrances a young tank commander with the legend of Baron Ungern, the real-life White Russian officer who conquered Mongolia. A foggy epic unfolds, a tale of faith and revenge centering on a mysterious amulet, said to make the wearer invincible. From the dim of the classroom to the vast Mongolian steppe, Leonid Yuzefovich’s masterful novellas The Storm and Horsemen of the Sands drill straight to the core of human emotion. These Russian parables illuminate the fears, passions, and ambitions beneath the grandest acts and the tiniest gestures.


Center for the Art of Translation
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San Francisco, CA 94104 United States
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