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Petersburg [Paperback]

3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Jan 1979
Here is the long-awaited, authoritative, unabridged translation of Petersburg, the Chef d'oeuvre of Symbolist writer Andrei Bely. Nabokov has ranked Petersburg beside Joyce's Ulysses, Kafka's Metamorphosis, and Proust's la recherche du temps perdu as one of the four great works of prose fiction of the twentieth century.

Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons (1 Jan 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0253202191
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253202192
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 15 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 894,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


" ... 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 "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 "All people who go in for the B's - Beckett, Brecht, Bunuel - better get hold of Bely. He came first, and he's still the best." Washington Post Book World " ... a jewel-cutter's showcase." Kirkus Review " ... the most important, most influential and most perfectly realized Russian novel written in the 20th century." Simon Karlinsky

About the Author

Andrei Beley (born Boris Nikolaevich Bugaev) was born 26 October 1880. Beley was educated at Moscow University where he studied science and philosophy, before turning his focus to literature. In 1904 he published his first collection of poems, Gold in Azure, which was followed in 1909 by his first novel, The Silver Dove. Beley's most famous novel, Petersburg, was pubilshed in 1916. His work is considered to have heavily influenced several literary schools, most notably Symbolism, and his impact on Russian writing has been compared to that of James Joyce on the English speaking world.

Adam Thirlwell (b.1978) studied English at New College, Oxford, and was subsequently elected as a fellow of All Souls College, Oxford in 1999. In 2003 his first novel, Politics, won the Betty Trask Award, and Miss Herbert, published in 2007, won the Somerset Maugham Award. Thirlwell's third novel, The Escape, was published in September 2009.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest works of art 11 Jan 2009
By dogme
For 30 years I've proselytized this book, but converted not a single person. In my opinion this is consistently the greatest work of art ever created, greater than 'Tristan and Isolde', 'Ulysses', 'Moby-Dick', 'The Idiot', 'Hamlet', or any of those other works of genius which find profound patterns of beauty in extremes of human chaos. This plunges deeper into the chaos and brings up stranger, wilder, more intimate forms of beauty than any of them, and then weaves them into a more coherent whole. I suppose most people can't get past the narrator being an unreliable, disturbingly schizophrenic prat, out-Gogoling Gogol; but this is a joyful, wonderfully funny subversion of all our comfort zones. Oh well.

Malmstad and Maguire's translation is the one to get, not McDuff's turgid effort.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Catching Up With The Past. 30 Mar 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had not of heard of Andrei Bely until some weeks ago when researching Robert Musil the author of The Man Without Qualities and The Confusions of Young Torless I came across a reviewer who averred that great as Musil was Bely was the one who should be up there with Proust and Joyce as an innovator of Modernism.Such a claim could only be responded to by sending for his novel Petersburg. And I am glad I did.It is an entirely different book from any other book written by a Russian yet is most definitely about Russia and more specifically St Petersburg 1905 with Pushkin's Bronze Horseman supplying the chapter heading rubrics.It is definitely Modern, demands the readers full attention and makes no concessions yet is very entertaining and in in its way enthralling but I will have to read it again.I read it without recourse to the background information the translators provide.I therefore missed a lot of the books import.It is a book that should be on the shelf of anyone who enjoys Modern literature along with Proust, Joyce and Musil.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile Classic 2 Jan 2014
By xxx xxx
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A long slog though beautifully composed if you have the patience of a saint and the concentration of an established reader. Beli is a painter with words massed up thickly. He has clear and nightmarish vision.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars odd but increasingly enjoyable 4 May 2013
By mikeen
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I began reading this having just returned from my first and long anticipated trip to st petersburg and the style of the book is decidedly off-beat, a bit james joyce a bit laurence sterne but the cumulative effect is actually quite absorbing in its recreation of a city and its atmosphere
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unreadable 6 Dec 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have found this book almost unreadable, but I am intrigued to know if it is untranslatable or if there is a better translation somewhere. Maybe I am losing the ability to concentrate on difficult works but it seems to me that either you read this in Russian or you forget about it.
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