[Marxism] Vasily Grossman

Jack Cade jack.cade at btinternet.com
Thu Jan 12 09:05:56 MST 2006

	'A Writer at War' is a collection of Grossman's war
journalism. He also wrote 'The Black Book of Russian Jewry' about
what he found with the advancing Red Army at the end of the war,
with the liberation of Treblinka and so forth. There is also the
novel 'Life and Fate' set in 1942-43 mainly in Stalingrad and
dealing with the 1937 purges; Soviet and Nazi camps; the Nazi
final solution and the foreshadowings of the postwar bout of
Soviet anti-semitism. A blockbuster of over 800 pages in true
Russian/Soviet style. All manuscript copies, and even the
typewriter ribbons, were confiscated by the KGB so Grossman was
unable to revise it before his death-so what is published is
effectively an early draft. There is a chapter in it (31 if I
recall correctly) about anti-semitism, which seems to be notes of
a lecture he made or prepared. Worth reading for that alone.

	His other famous novel was 'Forever Flowing', which was
published in the last years of the Soviet Union, yet remains to
be fully translated into English. There is a version published by
North Western University Press, 1997, translated by Thomas P
Whitney. Robert Chandler, the translator of 'Life and Fate',
wrote this about it on Amazon:

'This translation should not have been republished. Firstly, it
is both clumsy and full of errors. Secondly, it is based on an
incomplete manuscript. Grossman's final, considerably expanded
text was published in the Soviet Union in the late eighties. A
translation of that text is long overdue!'

Jack Cade

> NY Times, January 11, 2006
> Books of The Times | 'A Writer at War'
> Dispatches From the Hottest of Hot Zones
>  From August 1941 until May 1945, the novelist Vasily 
> Grossman worked as a 
> special correspondent for Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star), the 
> newspaper of the 
> Red Army. From the bleak early days of the war, when the 
> German advance 
> across Ukraine seemed unstoppable, to the final push into 
> Berlin, he spent 
> more than a thousand days on the front lines. 

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