List of "Essential" or "Great" Russian reading

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List of "Essential" or "Great" Russian reading

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Out 4, 2011, 11:44 am

I've looked around some and have yet to find a good list of some "essential" or "greatest" Russian works like I've found of some American or British authors. Is there one that someone can direct me to or provide?

Out 4, 2011, 8:08 pm

Hmm, good question. I really wouldn't know where to begin, but if I put together a list, it would have to include:

Eugene Onegin by Pushkin
Dead Souls / short stories of Gogol
Crime and Punishment / Brothers Karamozov
War and Peace / Anna Karenina
Short stories of Chekov
Doctor Zhivago
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch
The Master and The Margarita

I know there are plenty more then the above list. With Dostoevsky as my personal fav, I would include all his works, but others probably wouldn't. But I think the above list would all be essentials certainly.

Out 5, 2011, 9:03 am

A year ago, the Reading Globally group did a theme read on 20th century Russian authors and you can find some suggestions there and on the Reading Globally regional page that includes Russia.

In addition to the above, I would include, just from books I've read in recent years:

Life and Fate by Vassily Grossman
The Foundation Pit and Soul and Other Stories by Andrey Platonov
Ice Trilogy by Vladimir Sorokin

Out 5, 2011, 9:19 am

I would add Summer in Baden Baden and some work by Turgenev. I have The Gulag Archipelago and Cancer Ward both on my TBR list. If you are looking beyond prose fiction, I would read Checkov's plays and poems by Akhmatova to the list as well.

Out 5, 2011, 12:28 pm

Yes, Turgenev for sure. Totally forgot about him. Also Gulag Archipelago would be an essential for me also.

Out 5, 2011, 1:16 pm

I would echo what brother_salvatore said (although I have yet to read Anna Karenina or any Pushkin, I am ashamed to admit) except that I would add on House of the Dead by Dostoevsky, Fathers and Sons by Turgenev, and Life and Fate.

Out 5, 2011, 1:23 pm

Oh, and A Hero of Our Time, I've just started it and I think it belongs on this list.

Editado: Out 5, 2011, 6:18 pm

House of the Dead is great reading.

*Get your butt in gear and read AK!!!

Out 12, 2011, 10:37 pm

Some masterpieces that tend to get overlooked include:

And Quiet Flows the Don and The Don Flows Home to the Sea by Mikhail Sholokhov which together create The Don Epic.

We by Yevgeny Zamyatin which is reminiscent of Brave New World or 1984 but written well before either.

and finally The Golovlyovs by Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin

Out 16, 2011, 10:12 am

Here are my suggestions. This is based on a list I compiled a few years ago before taking a vacation trip to Russia. I've read all but a few of them. It's limited to three works per author, and they are novels unless otherwise indicated.

Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837)
- Eugene Onegin (verse novel)

Nikolai Gogol (1809-1852)
- Dead Souls
- Collected Stories
- The Inspector General (play)

Ivan Goncharov (1812-1891)
- Oblomov

Mikhail Lermontov (1814-1841)
- A Hero of Our Time

Ivan Turgenev (1818-1883)
- Fathers and Sons
- A Sportsman’s Notebook (stories)

Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881)
- Crime and Punishment
- The Idiot
- The Brothers Karamazov

Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin (1826-1889)
- The Golovlyov Family

Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)
- Anna Karenina
- War and Peace

Nikolai Leskov (1831-1895)
- The Enchanted Wanderer and Other Stories

Anton Chekhov (1860-1904)
- The Cherry Orchard (play)
- The Three Sisters (play)
- Selected Short Stories

Maxim Gorky (1868-1936)
- Mother

Ivan Bunin (1870-1953)
- Collected Stories

Andrey Bely (1880-1934)
- Petersburg

Yevgeny Zamyatin (1884-1937)
- We

Anna Akhmatova (1888-1966)
- Selected Poems

Boris Pasternak (1890-1960)
- Doctor Zhivago

Mikhail Bulgakov (1891-1940)
- The Master and Margarita

Marina Tsvetayeva (1892-1941)
- Selected Poems

Isaac Babel (c1894-1940)
- Red Cavalry and Other Stories

Yury Olesha (1899-1960)
- Envy

Andrei Platonov (1899-1951)
- The Foundation Pit

M. Agayev (c1900-1973)
- Novel with Cocaine

Vasily Grossman (1905-1964)
- Life and Fate

Mikhail Sholokhov (1905-1984)
- And Quiet Flows the Don

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008)
- Cancer Ward
- First Circle
- One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

Leonid Tsypkin (1926-1982)
- Summer in Baden Baden

Venedict Yerofeyev (1938-1990)
- Moscow to the End of the Line

I'm sure there are many living authors who should be added to the list, but I'm less certain about which specific works to recommend.

Out 25, 2011, 9:08 pm

This last list was great, and no list can be half complete without Lermontov's A Hero of Our Time. For more modren writers I beleive Sergei Dovlatov is an essential, and would recommend his short story collection "Suitcase."

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