The Red Laugh and The Abyss
  • Publication Date: December 29, 2020
  • ISBN: 9781554815494 / 1554815495
  • 138 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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The Red Laugh and The Abyss

  • Publication Date: December 29, 2020
  • ISBN: 9781554815494 / 1554815495
  • 138 pages; 5½" x 8½"

Leonid Andreyev’s The Red Laugh is an experimental depiction of war and its psychological effects, both on those who participate in the fighting and on those who hear of its atrocities from afar. Translated into English for the first time since 1905, it is here paired with a fresh translation of Andreyev’s earlier story “The Abyss,” which caused scandal upon its first publication. This edition provides an illuminating introduction by translator Kirsten Lodge as well as a range of background materials that help set the novel in its historical, literary, and artistic contexts.

Comments

“Leonid Andreyev, a key Russian modernist, deserves to be better known to Anglophone readers. Kirsten Lodge’s superb translations of “The Abyss” and The Red Laugh provide a worthy remedy. These stories surprise and even shock us by striking through the fragile veneer of modern civilization to reveal the anxieties, vulnerabilities, and darkest corners of the psyche beneath. Included here are two of Andreyev’s best and most notorious works of short fiction. Lodge has beautifully captured the nuances, ambiguities, and rhythms of these stylistically quite different but equally disturbing narratives. Like Lodge’s other outstanding translations from the Russian published by Broadview, this volume includes an admirably concise yet thorough introduction and a judicious selection of contemporary images and brief contextualizing secondary texts. It, too, is ideal for classroom use, but any reader of world literature will find it accessible and illuminating.” — David Powelstock, Brandeis University

“This edition of two key literary texts of the years preceding Russia’s 1905 revolution re-establishes Leonid Andreyev as one of that period’s most influential artistic figures. Andreyev’s The Red Laugh, an expressionist tour de force designed to convey the insanity of warfare, and ‘The Abyss,’ a shocking exploration of the depravity underlying sexual relations, caused sensations well captured by Kirsten Lodge’s deft translation, insightful introduction, and judiciously chosen contextual material. The book would grace the course lists of those teaching modern Russian literature and history and is essential reading for anyone wishing to relive the zeitgeist of Andreyev’s tumultuous times.” — Stephen Hutchings, University of Manchester

“Part symbolist, part realist, Leonid Andreyev was a unique and influential figure in Russian modernism. In this new translation, Kirsten Lodge brilliantly conveys the horror of two works that have lost none of their power to shock. Her concise introduction as well as her superb selection of correspondence and reviews provide essential contexts for understanding Andreyev’s achievement. This book will be a valuable addition not only to courses on twentieth-century Russian literature, but also to more general courses on European modernism, on war, and on sexuality.” — Michael Wachtel, Princeton University

“For instructors looking to include a literary, anti-war response to the Russo-Japanese War in their Russian history or history of warfare classes, Lodge’s translation of The Red Laugh and appended materials are sure to lead to memorable discussion. The sources touch on discussions of madness, war, and society, but also on the communication of those ideas. A useful introduction puts Leonid Andreyev’s works in context, and a helpful appendix shows the influences and the responses to his writing. Through this collection, instructors seeking something different from the other classic Russian literary figures of the period can introduce students to Andreyev’s unique and provocative works.” — Oleksa Drachewych, Western University

Introduction

The Red Laugh: Fragments of a Found Manuscript

The Abyss

In Context

  • “The Abyss”: The Scandal
    • from Leo Tolstoy, as quoted in The Stock Exchange News (1902)
    • from Leonid Andreyev (J. Lynch), “Moscow: The Small Details of Life,” The Courier (1902)
    • from M.P. Nevedomsky, “On Contemporary Art. Leonid Andreyev,” God’s World (1903)
    • from Leonid Andreyev, Letter to the Editor of The Courier (1903)
  • Leo Tolstoy’s Call for Protest Against the War
    • from Leo Tolstoy, Bethink Yourselves! (1904)
  • Fiction and Reality: Accounts of the Russo-Japanese War
    • Contemporary Newspaper Reports
      • from V.I. Nemirovich-Danchenko, The Russian Word (10 January 1904)
      • from V.I. Nemirovich-Danchenko, The Russian Word (11 January 1904)
      • from P. Krasnov, The Russian Invalid (9 July 1904)
      • from Anonymous, The Russian Word (5 October 1904)
      • from Vikenty Veresaev, In The War: Memoirs of V. Veresaev (1917)
  • Degeneration on a Mass Scale
    • from Gustave Le Bon, The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind (1895)
  • Andreyev’s Correspondence
    • from Leonid Andreyev, Letter to Vikenty Veresaev (July 1904)
    • from Leonid Andreyev, Letter to Maxim Gorky (6 August 1904)
    • from Leonid Andreyev, Letter to Maxim Gorky (6–7 November 1904)
    • from Leonid Andreyev, Letter to Maxim Gorky (14–15 November 1904)
    • from Maxim Gorky, Letter to Leonid Andreyev (16–17 November 1904)
    • from Leonid Andreyev, Letter to Maxim Gorky (17–18 November 1904)
    • from Leonid Andreyev, Letter to Leo Tolstoy (16 November 1904)
    • from Leo Tolstoy, Letter to Leonid Andreyev (17 November 1904)
    • from Leonid Andreyev, Letter to O. Dymov (28 January 1905)
    • from Leonid Andreyev, Letter to M.P. Nevedomsky (date unknown)
  • Responses to The Red Laugh by Prominent Symbolists
    • from Vyacheslav Ivanov, “On The Red Laugh and ‘Proper Madness,’” Vesy [The Scales] (1905)
    • from Andrei Bely, “Apocalypse in Russian Poetry” (1905)
  • Images
    • Depictions of War in Nineteenth-Century Art
    • Propaganda Posters from the Russo-Japanese War
    • Expressionist Paintings by Edvard Munch
    • Other images

Kirsten Lodge is Associate Professor of Humanities and English at Midwestern State University. Her previous books include Broadview editions of Zamyatin’s We, Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground, and Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich.

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