Sasha Sokolov. In the house of the hanged. - University of Toronto Press, translated by Alexander Boguslawski Sasha Sokolov's book of essays (first published in Russian by Azbooka in 2007 as A Perturbed Chrysalis) will be released in Canada in February 2012 by University of Toronto Press as In the House of the Hanged.

Recent studies by Don Barton Johnson and Lisa Wakamiya drew attention to the significance of Sasha Sokolov’s literary essays and validated the idea of making them available to readers of English. The collection published by University of Toronto Press (February 2012) contains fourteen texts written by Sokolov between 1981 and 2010 and published in various papers and journals in Russia and in the West.

Most of the ideas expressed in the texts are extremely important for any reader interested in literary studies, since they concern universal truths about literature, language, the role of the artist, talent, and mastery. Only one of the included texts, ‘Trevozhnaia kukolka,’ has been translated into English before (as ‘Persona non grata’ and ‘The Anxious Chrysalis’; here, it is translated afresh and entitled ‘The Anxious Pupa’); consequently, the new translations will add considerably to our understanding of Sasha Sokolov as an author and literary craftsman, a unique voice in Russian and world literature. The essays demonstrate the development of Sokolov’s shorter forms and reveal more fully his originality and literary gifts. According to Don Barton Johnson, the texts are ‘small, highly concentrated works of art’ written in a ‘style no less ornate than the fiction.’  In this collection, they are presented chronologically, as follows: ‘On Secret Tablets’ (1981); ‘In the House of the Hanged’ (1983); ‘Having Discovered It – Opened It Wide – Given It Wings’ (1984); ‘Palisandre – C’est Moi?’ (1985); ‘A Portrait of an Artist in America: Waiting for the Nobel’ (1985); ‘The Key Word of Belles-Lettres’ (1985); ‘The Anxious Pupa’ (1986); ‘The Shared Notebook or a Group Portrait of SMOG’ (1989); ‘A Mark of Illumination’ (1990); ‘An Abstract’ (1996); ‘About the Other Encounter’ (2006); ‘Discourse’ (2007); ‘Gazebo’ (2009); and ‘Philornist’ (2010).

The first English publication of the texts follows one guiding principle – verity – to Sokolov’s language, to his style, and to the graphic appearance of the texts. In other words, if the author does something unusual or extraordinary in the original, the translation attempts to render this as faithfully as possible (of course, if it can be done at all). Special attention is paid to the choice of words, to puns and word plays, to rhymes, neologisms, and sound similarities. Stylistically, the common literary devices used by the author are rendered as close to the original as possible because they are essential to the preservation of the unique rhythm of the texts.

Finally, the collection is accompanied by an introduction, notes, and the explanatory index of names and places mentioned in the texts.

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