Translating an Epic: Vasily Grossman's Stalingrad
Russian author Vasily Grossman spent four years reporting from the Eastern Front during WWII, where he claimed to read only one book, twice: Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Grossman produced two novels – Stalingrad, and its sequel, Life and Fate – based on his experience of the pitiless Nazi siege of the city. Like War and Peace, this a family saga; it tells the tale of the Shaposhnikov family and their friends as they battle with the brutalities of war and totalitarianism. Robert Chandler has produced a magnificent first translation into English of Grossman’s masterpiece, one of the supreme accomplishments of 20th century literature.
Robert Chandler is the main English translator of both Vasily Grossman and Andrei Platonov. He has also compiled three anthologies for Penguin Classics: of Russian short stories, of Russian magic tales and, with Boris Dralyuk and Irina Mashinski, The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry. He is a co-translator of three volumes of memoirs and stories by Teffi. His short biography of Alexander Pushkin is published by Pushkin Press. He runs a monthly translation workshop at Pushkin House (Bloomsbury).
David Herman was a TV producer for twenty years, working with Jeremy Isaacs and Melvyn Bragg among others, and has been a freelance writer for the past fifteen years writing 700 articles for a number of leading magazines and newspapers including The New Statesman, Prospect, The Guardian and The Independent. He is chief fiction reviewer of The Jewish Chronicle.