Andrei Bely, foreword by Olga Matich, translated by Robert A Maguire and John E Malmstad
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 03/30/2018
ISBN: 978-0-253-03552-3
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Andrei Bely's novel Petersburg is considered one of the four greatest prose masterpieces of the 20th century. In this new edition of the best-selling translation, the reader will have access to the translators' detailed commentary, which provides the necessary historical and literary context for understanding the novel, as well as a foreword by Olga Matich, acclaimed scholar of Russian literature.

Set in 1905 in St. Petersburg, a city in the throes of sociopolitical conflict, the novel follows university student Nikolai Apollonovich Ableukhov, who has gotten entangled with a revolutionary terrorist organization with plans to assassinate a government official–Nikolai's own father, Apollon Apollonovich Ableukhov. With a sprawling cast of characters, set against a nightmarish city, it is all at once a historical, political, philosophical, and darkly comedic novel.

Author Bio

Andrei Bely (1880–1934), born Boris Nikolaevich Bugaev, was a Russian novelist, poet, and literary critic. His other works include The Silver Dove and Kotik Letaev.

Robert A. Maguire (1930–2005) was the Boris Bakhmeteff Professor Emeritus of Russian and Eastern European Studies at Columbia University. He was author of Exploring Gogol and Red Virgin Soil: Soviet Literature in the 1920's.

John E. Malmstad is Samuel Hazzard Cross Research Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University. He is author of Andrey Bely: Spirit of Symbolism and Mikhail Kuzmin: A Life in Art.

Olga Matich is Professor Emerita of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of California, Berkeley. She is editor of Petersburg/Petersburg: Novel and City 1900–1921 and author of Erotic Utopia: The Decadent Imagination in Russia's Fin de Siècle.


“A jewel-cutter’s showcase.”
 — Kirkus Reviews

“A translation that captures Bely's idiosyncratic language and the rhythm of his prose, and without doing violence to English, conveys not only the literal meaning of the Russian but also its echoes and implications.”
 — The New York Review of Books

“The most accurate of all the available translations, and certainly the one that facilitates the greatest understanding of the original work.”
 — Michael R. Katz, Middlebury College

“All people who go in for the B's–Breckett, Brecht, Buñuel–better get hold of Bely. He came first, and he's still the best.”
 — Washington Post Book World

“This translation of Petersburg finally makes it possible to recognize Andrei Bely's great novel of 1913 as a crucial Russian instance of European modernist fiction.”
 — Inquiry

“The most important, most influential and most perfectly realized Russian novel written in the 20th century.”
 — The New York Times Book Review

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