Aksakov, Gorky, Herzen, Paustovsky, and Other Autobiography in Russian

Extollager

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Somewhere I have seen some non-Russian reader exclaim with wonder about why Russians write such good autobiography. Here's a place to discuss any such writing, including writing by authors who were born in what's now Ukraine, etc. I'll introduce four of these writers below, but I hope we can discuss others as well.

Sergei Aksakov (1791-1859) wrote a trilogy I recommend warmly (particularly the middle volume): A Russian Gentleman, Years of Childhood, A Russian Schoolboy. My understanding is that J. D. Duff's translations are considered to be remarkably good. These were issued in Oxford World's Classics editions a while ago. In English we also have Notes of a Provincial Wildfowler and Notes on Fishing.


Sergey Aksakov - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Maxim Gorky (1868-1936)

I haven't read much yet by this author, but I enjoyed his Reminiscences of Tolstoy, Chekhov, and Andreyev.


Maxim Gorky - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alexander Herzen (1812-1870)

I liked Childhood, Youth, and Exile a fair bit.
Alexander Herzen - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Konstantin Paustovsky (1892-1968)

He wrote Story of a Life in six volumes, which were published in England by Harvill some years ago. I am rereading the first volume, Childhood and Schooldays, with satisfaction right now, and expect to continue from it to the next volume. I have the whole set, but I haven't seen a lot about it, so I'm not sure it will prove to hold my interest throughout all of the books.



Konstantin Paustovsky - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It sounds like the whole set of books will prove to be worth reading:

venus febriculosa» Blog Archive » konstantin paustovsky, the story of a life
 

GOLLUM

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I know next to nothing on this topic.

Thank you for bringing it to the attention of the forum and I look forward to reading anything further you might post.
 

Extollager

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Have finished a leisurely second reading of Paustovsky's Story of a Life: Childhood and Schooldays, and am confirmed in my sense that this should be recognized as a 20th-century classic. I've never encountered anyone, so far as I remember, who has read it. It must be really something in the original language! It concludes with a wonderful description of hot summer weather in the country and storms, and of a village chemist with advice for the young aspiring writer. I won't wait long to start the second volume (of six! Can he possibly keep it up?).

By the way, if a Chrons moderator would change "in Russian" in my thread title to "by Russians," I'd be grateful, as that would be more accurate and less off-putting.
 
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