Childhood; Boyhood; Youth
A new translation of Tolstoy's autobiographical trilogy.
Leo Tolstoy wrote his first published work, Childhood, when he was only twenty-three years old. A semi-autobiographical novel, it recounts two days in the childhood of ten-year-old Nikolai Irtenev, recreating vivid impressions of people, places, and events with the exuberant perspective of a child and the ironic retrospective understanding of an adult. Boyhood and Youth soon followed, and together they launched Tolstoy on the literary career that would bring him immortality.
“Tolstoy’s first published work, Childhood, is unquestionably one of his most engaging and profound narratives, and he followed it in short order with the other two parts of the trilogy. We have several competent English translations, but none of them comes close to matching Judson Rosengrant’s in capturing the young writer’s astonishing precision, stylistic variety, and range of moods. The translation is arresting as both art and scholarship. The introduction breaks new critical ground in presenting Tolstoy’s language and thought. The deft, unpretentious annotations are the most thorough in any English-language edition. I cannot think of a better place to start for new readers of Tolstoy, or a more insightful, enjoyable refresher for experienced Tolstoyans.
—William Mills Todd III, Harry Tuchman Levin Professor of Literature, Harvard College
“Leo Tolstoy began as a verbal artist with the experience of being inside a family. For all the later distractions of war, peace, infidelity, and even the severities of seeking God, he never left that site. This superb new translation of the early trilogy, intelligently introduced, is a miracle of persuasive storytelling about the trials of growing up—and an indispensable workshop for orienting among Tolstoy’s subsequent worlds and worldviews.”
—Caryl Emerson, A. Watson Armour III University Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Princeton University
“Judson Rosengrant's stunning new translation of L. Tolstoy's first literary masterpiece reveals the Russian novelist's talent in all its startling and visionary originality. Rosengrant renders the young Tolstoy's complex syntactical architecture, his poetic riffs, and his unconventional yoking of adjectives and nouns with an erudite fidelity and stylistic elegance that make all other translations of this work appear plodding and pedantic by comparison. Rosengrant's Childhood, Boyhood, Youth is an example of the art of translation at its finest, combining critical acumen, a specialist's understanding of Tolstoy's art, and a profound sympathy with the original's subtle narrative 'moods,' shifting melodies of language, and deployment of stylistic registers. Thanks to Rosengrant's passionate respect for the integrity of the text and the power of the precisely chosen word to illuminate experience, Tolstoy has found an English voice worthy of his own.”
—Lena M Lencek, Professor of Russian and Humanities, Reed College