An Introduction to Estonian Literature

Hilary Bird’s Introduction to Estonian Literature is truly a pioneering work, and a welcome contribution for anyone with an interest in the lively and flourishing literature of this small but culturally vibrant country. Ms. Bird’s coverage is not merely of the modern writers, some of whose work is available in English translation, but also of literature in the Estonian language from the earliest times, which has been a closed book up to now to anyone without a knowledge of the language.

Christopher Moseley

School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London 

It is very rare to find a collection of texts from a “minor literature” as splendidly translated, contextualized, and introduced as Hilary Bird’s current book. Estonian literature has waited only too long for such a scholarly and spirited selection, complete with thoroughly researched, beautifully accessible background material.

Dr. Tiina Ann Kirss

Tartu University and Estonian Literary Museum (Tartu)

Estonia is a small nation in terms of population, but large culturally and spiritually. In this way we have brought to life the wish of the great Estonian National Awakening figure Jakob Hurt. It isn’t easy for a small nation with a unique language to be visible in the big wide world. Therefore, every translation and act of cultural mediation is important to us, and Hilary Bird’s personal effort deserves special praise and thanks. Her anthology brings English readers a selection of Estonian literature representative of the earliest periods through to the present. I wish readers the joy of discovery and lots of success to the book.

Piret Noorhani
Tartu Institute (Toronto)

Yevsey Tseytlin, translated by Alexander Rojavin


Yevsey Tseytlin’s Long Conversations in Anticipation of a Joyous Death  came about as the result of an unusual experiment. The subject of this book is unusual and deceptively simple: two authors, one young, one old and ailing, maintain a conversation over a period of five years. The setting is the city Vilnius—known before World War II as the “Jerusalem of Lithuania.” As the meetings take place, the young author records on cassette the confessions of a man preparing to die. The dying man is the Jewish-Lithuanian intellectual Jokūbas Josadė , and his revelations are often distressing, for his life consists of a series of betrayals (including that of self and of his talent) and of limitless fear and apprehension.

“A tragic account, taken from the lips of a man who awaits death as a redemption from the torment of his conscience. The philosophical aspect of narrating one’s own death is worthy of its own discussion, which should include Tolstoy’s Ivan Ilyich, as well as the academic Pavlov, Nikolai Ostrovsky, and perhaps, that American intellectual who invited all who wished to observe his throes of agony via the Internet.”
 —Russian critic Lev Anninsky

“…By means of dialogue, reflections, and a collection of chance remarks is constructed so genuine a whole, illuminated by so tragic a light, that this book could be termed a novel, and not just any novel, but an exceptional one.”
 —Professor Anatoly Liberman

American Contributions to the International Congress of Slavists Vol. 2: Literature
vi + 221

The 2018 volumes of American contributions to the quintennial series of international congresses bringing together the world’s Slavists provides a representative sampling of current trends in Slavic literature, linguistics, and philology as practiced in the United States.


For the first volume on linguistics, please see the link here

Bohumil Hrabal, translated by Timothy West

i-x + 109

“Some texts, after I’ve written them, have woken me up in the night so that I break out in a sweat and jump out of bed.” With this confession Bohumil Hrabal concludes Murder Ballads and Other Legends, a genre-bending collection of stories published at the height of the legendary author’s fame in the 1960s. Decades after escaping the Nazis as a child, a woman returns to Bohemia behind the wheel of a Ford Galaxie to retrieve her estate. A Prague tailor’s assistant sent halfway around the world delivers an extravagant report on the shops of New York. A village beauty rejects one suitor after another before meeting an unlucky end. Hrabal mines urban folk tales to deliver an array of blackly comical first-person yarns, airing comments from reader letters and wrestling with his newfound notoriety along the way. At the book’s heart is “The Legend of Cain,” an early version of the novella (and Oscar-winning film) Closely Watched Trains. Beautifully illustrated with woodcuts from early modern broadside ballads, Murder Ballads and Other Legends appears here in English for the first time, fifty years after it first appeared in Czech.Bohumil Hrabal (1914–1997) is regarded as one of the leading Czech prose stylists of the twentieth century. The son of a brewery’s bookkeeper, he earned a law degree before working as a train dispatcher, insurance agent, traveling salesman, steelworker, and theater stagehand. In the 1940s he joined the group Skupina 42 and began writing Surrealist poetry and short fiction. He achieved national success in 1963 with the short story collection Pearls of the Deep. Banned from official publishing in 1970, Hrabal gained an underground following in the 1970s and 1980s through samizdat and exile presses. His work has been translated into more than two dozen languages, and in 1995 Publisher’s Weekly named him “the most revered living Czech writer.” He died in February 1997 after falling from his hospital window while feeding the pigeons. Timothy West received his Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures from Princeton University.


xiii + 185


"There are stories that could have taken place anywhere - of love and hate, beauty and ugliness, illness and music - stories distinctly and intriguingly Slovak..."



Into the Spotlight features the best of what Slovak literature has to offer today. The sixteen authors presented here have all been shortlisted for, and many have won, some of the most prestigious Slovak and European literary awards. They represent the Slovak literary scene across the lines of gender, age, style and subject matter. Most importantly, all of them are living authors, engaging with today’s world and carrying on conversations with other contemporary writers and readers. Printed with financial support from the Centre for Information on Literature/SLOLIA (Slovak Literature Abroad).



Veronika Šikulová –Uršuľa Kovalyk – Pavel Vilikovský – Jana Beňová – Viťo Staviarsky – Dušan Mitana – Balla – Pavol Rankov – Zuzana Cigánová – Monika Kompaníková – Michal Hvorecký – Lukáš Luk – Marek Vadas – Alta Vášová – Ivana Dobrakovová – Peter Macsovszky



More about this title in the press

Review in World Literature Today, November/December 2017

Review in B O D Y, International Online Literary Journal, "Slovak Fiction Week," March 31, 2017

Review in European Literature Network, June 15, 2017

Notable mention in Publishing Perspectives, May 24, 2017

Notable mention in The Slovak Spectator

Interview in Words Without Borders, September 23, 2017

Nominated for Best of the Net Anthology 2017 in B O D Y, International Online Literary Journal (the translation of Dušan Mitana's "On a Tram"), October 10, 2017



One of the most creative and versatile of Slovak authors, Jozef Cíger-Hronský (1896 Zvolen- 1960 Buenos Aires) was "rehabilitated" during the Czechoslovak Spring but is scarcely known in English, though he is one of the originators of Slovak lyrical prose and, according to Alexander Matuška!!!, he is the only modern Slovak writer whose truly excellent works number not one/two but five/six. The novel Jozef Mak (1933), his acknowledged masterpiece, with elements of both the expressionist and symbolist movements, is the story of the "ordinary" human being, as common as poppyseed (mak), one of millions with hands crucified by constant toil, who outlasts stone and steel by their human patience and courage. Translated into German as Die Armen Seeligkeiten des Josef Mak, this novel is said by the Czech critic and translator Emil Charous (1972) to reach the best European level of the inter-war period.

The translator Andrew Cincura was a good friend of Hronský and spent much time with him in Austria, Bavaria, and Italy in 1945-47 before Hronský moved to Argentina.



ix + 235

The third volume of Anna Lisa Crone’s Collected Writings includes works which did not fit neatly into the thematics of the first two volumes. It features four outstanding jointly-authored works (among them a chapter from the book My Petersburg, Myself), as well as her previously unpublished 1969 Harvard M.A. thesis on Gončarov.

Anna Lisa Crone had a 30-year career as a scholar and teacher of Russian literature, mentoring dozens of graduate and undergraduate students at the University of Chicago, and leaving an indelible mark on the field of Russian literary studies in the United States. Her analytical method was based on close reading and interpretation supported both by impeccable philological grounding and rich intercultural awareness.


Additional volumes:

Volume 1: Poetry

Volume 2: Rozanov and Philosophical Literature