For most of the twentieth century Russia existed under some form of dictatorship-with the paradoxical effect that in Russia literature continued to matter as it did in few other countries. From Tolstoy to Nabokov, the writers of modern Russia have possessed the power to enrage tyrants, to inspire allegiance and devotion in their readers, and to speak for the suffocating conscience of their motherland, even when they are addressing the least political of issues. Clarence Brown's marvelous collection introduces us to the most resonant voices of twentieth-century Russia. It includes stories by Chekhov, Gorky, Nabokov, Solzhenitsyn, and Voinovich; excerpts from Andrei Bely's Petersburg, Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita, Boris Pasternak's Dr. Zhivago, and Sasha Sokolov's A School for Fools, as well as the complete text of Yuri Olesha's 1927 masterpiece Envy; and poetry by Alexander Blok, Anna Akhmatova, and Osip Mandelstam - all in authoritative English translations that convey their music as well as their meaning.
Clarence Brown—The Portable Twentieth-Century Russian Reader