Isaak Babel

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Babel’, Isaak Emmanuilovich

 

Born July 1 (13), 1894; died Mar. 17, 1941. Soviet Russian writer. Born in Odessa into the family of a Jewish merchant.

The first published stories by Babel’ appeared in the periodical Letopis’. Then, upon M. Gorky’s advice, he “went to make a living” and changed his profession several times. In 1920 he was a soldier and a political worker in the Red Cavalry. In 1924 he published several short stories, which later formed the cycles Red Cavalry and Odessa Tales. In his narrations of the soldiers and commanders of the Red Cavalry, he portrays, along with true defenders of the revolution, anarchist cossack freebooters; the narrator and main character, a young intellectual for whom the Civil War is a school of courage and revolutionary consciousness, appears as a stranger in this milieu. Although the critics of those years recognized the talent of Babel’ and the importance of his work, they reproached him for his naturalism and his vindication of primitive forces. In Odessa Tales, Babel’ portrays the life of poor Jews before the revolution; he finds in the daily life of the artisans and small merchants exotic traits and strong characters. In 1928, Babel’ published the play Sunset (produced by the Second Moscow Art Theater), and in 1935 the play Maria. He also wrote several scenarios. He was a master of the short story and aimed for laconism and precision. In his portrayal of the characters, plot conflicts, and descriptions he combined turbulent emotions with external impassivity. Although the style of his earlier stories is flowery and suffers from an excess of metaphors, he later developed a severe and restrained narrative manner. The work of Isaak Babel’ has been widely recognized and his works have been translated into many languages.

WORKS

Izbrannoe. [Foreword by I. Erenburg.] Moscow, 1957.
Izbrannoe. [Introductory article by L. Poliak.] Moscow, 1966.

REFERENCES

Voronskii.A. “I. Babel’.” In his book Literaturnye portrety, vol. 1. Moscow, 1928.
I. Babel’: Stat’i i materialy. Moscow, 1928.
Russkie Sovetskie pisateli-prozaiki: Bibliograficheskii ukazatel’, vol. 1. Leningrad, 1959.

G. N. MINBLUM

References in periodicals archive ?
Isaac Babel and Val Vinokur (translator); THE ESSENTIAL FICTIONS; Northwestern University Press (Fiction: Short Stories) 21.
I'm a big fan of the Russians: Isaac Babel is just an exquisite line-to-line stylist.
The idea of evil fascinated me, and rather like Isaac Babel, who had joined the Cossacks, lived with them, and written stories about them, I almost tried to imagine that I was living with the Klan.
The town that Russian author Isaac Babel references in this passage is the storied Black Sea metropolis of Odessa.
Las remembranzas son tambien una denuncia de la despotica forma de gobierno sovietico que reprimio, entre otros, a escritores como Boris Pilniak, Isaac Babel, Anna Ajmotova, Nikolai Bujarin, Boris Pasternak y Marina Tsvetaieva.
Kitaj's diasporic identity, the painting seems to admit, is a vision conjured out of books, especially by Isaac Babel, Franz Kafka, and the other Jewish authors he so admired.
But before we toss the book down and join nationalist-communist revolutions (wreaking havoc upon unpaid wage labor), Zgustova leaves us in a very different Prague, that of the 1930s, brimming with Russian exiles--Vladimir Nabokov, as well as the less fortunate Alexander Blok, Andrei Bely, Osip Mandelstam, Isaac Babel, and Anna Akhmatova--all members of the Association of Artists and Writers.
The Enigma of Isaac Babel is infused with a sense of loss: Babel's manuscripts and correspondence were arrested with him, presumed lost in the wake of his execution at the age of forty-five.
On May 15, 1939 Isaac Babel, a writer who had soared to the heights of popularity in the Soviet Union as well as to international critical acclaim as an artist of top rank, was arrested and imprisoned in Moscow by the secret police.
Part III turns to the nineteenth-century liberal period, and discusses Turgenev and Chekhov in light of Gogol's fundamental text; Part IV addresses two twentieth-century figures, Isaac Babel and Iurii Fel'zen, the emigre writer about whom Livak also wrote in a previous work, How It Was Done in Paris: Russian Emigre Literature and French Modernism (2003).
Furthermore, his readings situate Yiddish-language authors including Isaac Babel, Bergelson, Isik Kipnis, and Schmuel Gordon, and Russian-language authors, e.
Su prosa, muy a menudo, nos recuerda la de Isaac Babel, no solo por lo concentrado de sus relatos, sino por la manera en que usa plasticamente los colores: vivas pinceladas que surgen de unos calcetines, o exaltados azules en la mirada de un moribundo.