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Bely’s Moscow-Based Novel Seeks English Readership

Newly popularized novel “The Moscow Eccentric” by Andrei Bely has been translated into English.

"Portrait of Andrey Bely" by Leon Baxt (1905).

The Moscow Eccentric,” a recently rediscovered novel by Andrei Bely, is now available to English-speaking audiences thanks to a translation by Brendan Kiernan and publisher Russian Life.

Andrei Bely (1880-1934) was a leading theorist and poet of Russian symbolism, a literary school based upon the Western European modernist movement and Eastern Orthodox spirituality. While best known for the symbolist novel “Petersburg,” Bely was a Moscow resident and “The Moscow Eccentric” is a lyrical tale of life in the author’s hometown, starring an absent-minded professor and a glamorous spy. 

Brendan Kiernan was tasked with translating the “epic poem in prose format,” as Bely referred to it. Kiernan won the 2015 AATSEEL Prize for Best Translation of a Scholarly Work into English for his translation of Vladimir Gilyarkovsky's masterpiece “Moscow and Muscovites”.