"I Was Not Given Time to Finish": The Art of Isaac Babel

May 15, 2007

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Michael Dirda

Pulitzer Prize winning critic Michael Dirda explores the life and work of Isaac Babel.  Born in Odessa in 1894, Isaac Babel became a Soviet literary sensation in 1926 with the publication of his collection Red Cavalry, which drew on his experiences as a journalist in the Polish-Soviet War of 1920.  But under Stalin, Babel came under increased scrutiny.  "Now they will come for me," he said after the suspicious death of the writer Maxim Gorky in 1936.  Four years later, Babel was shot to death in a Soviet prison.  Dirda is senior editor for the Washington Post Book World and the author of several books.  He wrote the introduction to the Norton edition of Babel's Red Cavalry.

 

Recorded Tuesday, May 15, 2007 at Alliance Française de Chicago.