An Armenian sketchbook by Vasily Grossman, Robert Chandler, Elizabeth Chandler, Yury

By Vasily Grossman, Robert Chandler, Elizabeth Chandler, Yury Bit-Yunan

An NYRB Classics Original

Few writers needed to confront as the various final century’s mass tragedies as Vasily Grossman, who wrote with terrifying readability concerning the Shoah, the conflict of Stalingrad, and the phobia Famine within the Ukraine. An Armenian Sketchbook, despite the fact that, indicates us a really diversified Grossman, amazing for his tenderness, heat, and feel of fun.
      
After the  Soviet govt confiscated—or, as Grossman continuously positioned it, “arrested”—Life and Fate, he took at the job of revising a literal Russian translation of a protracted Armenian novel. the radical was once of little curiosity to him, yet he wanted cash and used to be obviously blissful of an excuse to commute to Armenia. An Armenian Sketchbook is his account of the 2 months he spent there.
      
This is via a ways the main own and intimate of Grossman’s works, endowed with an air of absolute spontaneity, as if he's easily chatting to the reader approximately his impressions of Armenia—its mountains, its old church buildings, its people—while additionally interpreting his personal innovations and moods. a perfectly human account of trip to a far flung position, An Armenian Sketchbook additionally has the shiny allure of a self-portrait

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His curly hair turned grayer and a bald patch appeared. returned. ”[3] Later that year Grossman agreed to rewrite a clumsy literal translation of a long Armenian war novel—a task that would entail spending two months in Armenia. ”[4] He may also simply have wanted to get away from Moscow; his difficulties at this time included not only the “arrest” of his novel but also the near breakdown of his marriage. He may have hoped that the combination of disciplined work and a trip to somewhere exotic would do him good.

And this need to be myself only gets stronger over the years. ”[12] The self-revelation of An Armenian Sketchbook seems, at least in part, to have been a reaction to the self-effacement required of a translator—even of a translator who treats his original text with considerable freedom. After completing his Armenian memoir in the first half of 1962, Grossman submitted it to the journal Novy Mir. The editor, Aleksandr Tvardovsky, accepted it. [13] By then Grossman had come to feel deeply ashamed of the many compromises he had made in the course of his life and he refused to agree to this demand.

15] Lastly, some of the passages about Grossman’s physical problems are greatly abridged. Until recently, Russian writers have tended to shy away from descriptions of physiological matters. [16] Grossman’s own title for this memoir, Dobro vam, is a strange but effective phrase. ” This is not a Russian idiom but a literal, unidiomatic translation of a standard Armenian greeting, Barev dzez. The phrase works better in Russian than in English, because the Russian dobro is clearly a noun, whereas the English “good” could be either a noun or an adjective.

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