Featuring “Red Cavalry” by Isaac Babel.
Presented by Eleanor Aghion.
A collection of short stories based on the Russo-Polish War of 1920; one of the great masterpieces of Russian literature.
Babel was a Russian writer, journalist, playwright, and literary translator. He is best known as the author of Red Cavalry and has been acclaimed as the greatest prose writer of Russian Jewry. Babel was arrested by the NKVD on 15 May 1939 on fabricated charges of terrorism and espionage, and executed on 27 January 1940.
The Red Cavalry cycle retains today the shocking freshness that made Babel’s reputation when the stories were first published in the 1920s. Using his own experiences as a journalist and propagandist with the Red Army during the war against Poland, Babel brings to life an astonishing cast of characters from the exuberant, violent era of early Soviet history: commissars and colonels, Cossacks and peasants, and among them the bespectacled, Jewish writer/intellectual, observing it all and trying to establish his role in the new Russia.