A new edition of the Russian Nobelist's collection of novellas, short stories, and prose poems Stories and Prose Poems collects twenty-two works of wide-ranging style and character from the Nobel Prize–winner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, whose shorter pieces showcase the extraordinary mastery of language that places him among the greatest Russian prose writers of the twentieth century.
When the two superb stories "Matryona's House" and "An Incident at Krechetovka Station" were first published in Russia in 1963, the Moscow Literary Gazette, the mouthpiece of the Soviet literary establishment, wrote: "His talent is so individual and so striking that from now on nothing that comes from his pen can fail to excite the liveliest interest." The novella For the Good of the Cause and the short story "Zakhar-the-Pouch" in particular—both published in the Soviet Union before Solzhenitsyn's exile—fearlessly address the deadening stranglehold of Soviet bureaucracy and the scandalous neglect of Russia's cultural heritage.
But readers who best know Solzhenitsyn through his novels will be delighted to discover the astonishing group of sixteen "prose poems." In these works of varying lengths—some as short as an aphorism—Solzhenitsyn distills the joy and bitterness of Russia's fate into language of unrivaled lyrical purity.
Michael Glenny, who died in Moscow in August 1990, was Britain’s foremost translator of modern Russian literature.