Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
The Complete Works of Isaac Babel Hardcover – November, 2001
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Babel's writing life lasted approximately 20 years. (He was executed by Stalin after a few military subjects unflatteringly portrayed in his "Red Cavalry" stories gained positions of influence.) His most notable stories depict the Russian civil war and Jewish soldiers, his childhood, and Jewish thugs in his native Odessa. Often journalistic in style, his stories provided gripping war accounts to Russians eager for news from the front, as in this passage from "The Church in Novograd":
We drank rum, waiting for the military commissar, but he still hadn't come back from the headquarters. Romuald had collapsed in a corner and fallen asleep. He slept and quivered, while beyond the window an alley seeped into the garden beneath the black passion of the sky. Thirsting roses swayed in the darkness. Green lightning bolts blazed over the cupolas. A naked corpse lay on the embankment. And the rays of the moon streamed through the dead legs that are pointing upward. So this is Poland...This collection is a delight for its organization: the stories are grouped by periods, feature introductions, and include helpful maps. The preface and afterward by his daughter and editor, Nathalie Babel, are insightful. Also included are two plays, several screenplays, a chronology, and an introduction by Cynthia Ozick. The Complete Works of Isaac Babel should be a welcome addition to readers of literature everywhere. --Michael Ferch
From Library Journal
- Ron Ratliff, Kansas State Univ., Manhattan
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
More About the AuthorsDiscover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.
Top Customer Reviews
The biographical information provided by his daughter enhances the reading pleasure as well as draws attention to the politics that contributed to self-censorship and eventual assassination from Stalin's henchmen.
Babel is the Checkov and the Turgenev of his time: classic Russian Short Fiction at its most beautiful.
The only drawback to this extensive collection is its extensiveness. Babel's longer works and plays lack some of the focus and integrity of his short stories. Luckily the short stories make up the bulk of the book.
If you can afford it buy the hardcover. It comes in a protective box and I guarantee this is a collection you will want to preserve and cherish forever.
In this one volume, his daughter has collected every available work that he ever wrote. While there were many manuscripts that were destroyed when Babel was purged, this will stand as his complete works, all recently translated.
In addition to Babel's own writings, there are wonderful introductions from Cynthia Ozick, the translator Peter Constantine and Babel's daughter, Nathalie Babel. Ms. Babel also includes, as an afterward, a wonderful memoir of how she came to produce this work, starting with the gripping tale of her and her mother's life in France during WWII. Also included is a timeline of Babel's life. These materials alone make for fascinating reading as you dip into Babel's literary works.
Of course, it is Babel's short stories that are the star attraction. There are three main collections, the Odessa stories, which tell the tales of Russian Jewish thugs living in a district in Odessa, the Red Cavelry stories, which are based on Babel's experiences in the Red Army in the Russian Revolution, and the Dovecote stories, which are autobiographical tales of Babel's youth. The stories are all lean and sparsely written with a biting irony that attacks all facets of Russian life.
This is not a book one is likely to or needs to read from cover to cover at one time. It is, however, perfectly designed to let one slowly absorb this great writer as you dip into this over time.
The most memorable of his stories for me is one of his childhood 'For my Dovecoat' about the experiencing of a pogrom, the murder of a grandfather.
Babel has been celebrated by many of the most distinguished modern writers and critics. Deservedly so.
He is a true master.
This book was too intense and too homogeneous for me to read all at once: many of Babel's stories feature the same themes (chiefly Jewish life and red cavalry) and after a few hundred pages a definite sense of deja vu sets in as Babel reworks various characters, scenes, etc. Nonetheless, a fantastic book to read in smaller chunks.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is in quite good condition and helps me with my course a lot. Of course, Babel is a good writer.Published on September 4, 2013 by Carissa Yao
Isaac Babel's works should be read and re-read and re-re-read. At his best, Babel can write such short, simple-appearing sentences that contain a complexity of thoughts that stuns. Read morePublished on March 5, 2013 by Keith J. Phillips
If you have not read Babel, you should. This is a beautiful addition to your library and, as advertised, contains the complete works. Why would you want the complete works? Read morePublished on November 6, 2012 by Chris Reich
The Complete Works of Isaac Babel covers the entire range of his writing from the earliest pieces, through his stories of Odessa gangsters and the Red Cavalry to diaries,... Read morePublished on July 9, 2012 by Gervase T. M. Shorter
I've always been a fan of Babel's Red Cavalry stories, but was surprised and delighted to read his other works. Read morePublished on March 25, 2011 by E.J. Kaye
I was delighted to discover this book. Although I was a literature major (and teacher) and have read lots of Russion lit, I had never heard of Isaac Babel. His story is amazing. Read morePublished on October 14, 2010 by Mimi
Vignettes on life in the Red Calvalry during the days when the Russian Revolution was still 'The Russian Experiment' rather than the disaster it became, and of life in Odessa where... Read morePublished on October 31, 2008 by An admirer of Saul