D. S. Mirsky: A Russian-English Life, 1890-1939

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9780198160069: D. S. Mirsky: A Russian-English Life, 1890-1939

All this is presented lucidly and amusingly. Gerry Smith's own voice and personality come through clearly and his fascinating account will be read with great profit by many. ( Slavonica)

... throws interesting light on émigré society both in Britain and in Europe. ( Slavonica)

It is an essential work for those interested in Eurasianism as Smith places Mirsky and his attitudes towards this idea in context and analyses the development not only of Mirsky but also that of Eurasianism. ( Slavonica)

... full of fascinating detail and is a masterly exposition of a complicated personality whose interests took him into many different environments. This book also benefits from Smith's familiarity with Russian literature in both the Soviet context and within the Russian émigré world which enables him to illuminate Mirsky's relationship to both in such a lucid way. ( Slavonica)

This is a marvellous book. It is the product of years of interest in Mirsky which has involved Gerry Smith in investigating and disentangling many aspects of Mirsky's life which had been forgotten, misunderstood, or deliberately confused both by Mirsky himself or by those writing about him. ( Slavonica)

Drawing on everything from scrawled childhood letters to NKVD files, G. S. Smith has made an impressive and highly valuable contribution to the study of a fascinating, long-neglected figure ... Smith has provided an admirable account. ( New Left Review (NLR))

Even those who have read and admired Mirsky can hardly be acquainted with the tragic story of his life, which has now been thoroughly explored for the first time in G. S. Smith's biography ... Smith gives a fascinating and detailed account of the Moscow years, during which Mirsky managed to keep afloat with the help of a few surviving friends. ( The New York Review of Books)

Professor Smith's weighty book is the culmination of many years' research ... a highly impressive and important piece of scholarship. ( Forum for Modern Language Studies)

We are privileged to have Smith's large monograph, which covers the critic's life; literary, historical, and sociological works; personality; and changing ideologies in great detail ... an excellent work that greatly enriches Russian cultural and political studies and is bound to last for a long time. ( Journal of Modern History)

A monumental scholarly achievement. ( SEER)

Smith's knowledge of virtually everything Mirsky-related is so great that one is left with the impression that the book might have been much longer. Moreover, the narrative itself is so absorbing that one would almost wish it could have been longer. With remarkable confidence and ease, Smith shifts from the minutiae of Mirsky's life to a wider historical and cultural background. ( SEER)

This book, like all the best biographies, speaks of an era as well an individual. The scholarship is scrupulous and the controlled zeal unfailing. ( Modern Language Review)

Gerald Smith has amassed information from published sources, private correspondence, eye-witness accounts, and the KGB archives to present us with a story that fascinates and puzzles. ( Modern Language Review)

G. S. Smith's moving and incisive biography thus operates on two levels, the history of cultural cross-fertilization and the telling of an intellectual's tragedy ... Over three decades, Smith has recovered an enormous amount of documentation from Western and Russian sources, and this biogrpahy digests the material beautifully. ( Donald Rayfield, Times Literary Supplement)

Vom Verlag:

This is the first biography in any language of 'Comrade Prince' D. S. Mirsky (1890-1939), who uniquely participated in three distinctive episodes of modern European culture. In late imperial St Petersburg he was a poet, a student of Oriental languages and ancient history, and also a Guards officer. After fighting in World War I and the Russian Civil War, Mirsky emigrated, taught at London University, and became a literary critic and historian, writing prolifically in English, and also in Russian for the Paris-centred emigration, especially as a leading member of the Eurasian movement. His closest literary relationships were with Marina Tsvetaeva and Aleksei Remizov, and later with Maksim Gorky. In 1926-7 he published A History of Russian Literature, written in English, which remains the standard introduction to the subject. While in London he lived in Bloomsbury and knew the Woolfs; he also knew T. S. Eliot, and was the first Russian critic to write about him. Mirsky became a Communist in 1931 and returned to Stalin's Moscow the following year, becoming a prominent Soviet critic, and in particular championing Boris Pasternak. In 1937 he was arrested, and died in the Gulag. This biography draws on much unpublished material, including Mirsky's NKVD files.

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