About the translation 

This first translation of Brook’s stories into English is not a literal word-for-word rendering of the original Russian texts, but rather an authorized English version. This version is a result of close collaboration between the translator and the author. The involvement of the author has to be especially acknowledged. Such an involvement leads to a much better translation because the translator can easily avoid many problems plaguing those translators who labor alone, unable to consult with the author, and who often misrepresent the author’s ideas. A famous anecdote about the eager, but inexperienced translator from German who once rendered into English a work by some John Wolfwalker Goethe and entitled it The Fist: One Tragedy, comes immediately to mind.

Since fiction is a product of imagination and invention, and the language plays an integral part in formulating and expressing those imagined thoughts and ideas, the translator faces many risks trying to convey clearly and exactly the original intentions of the author. Having access to the author, especially when the author knows English and can appreciate the English version of his work, is reassuring. Such a collaboration frequently benefits the translator, the author, the work and, ultimately, the reader.

I hope that the result of my collaboration with Victor Brook will reveal to the reader the spiritual and philosophical depth of his stories. Therefore, I would like to express my deepest thanks to the author for his generous help. I am also greatly indebted to Leslie Poole and Professors Barbara Carson and Jill Jones for sharing their expertise in English language and for their ability to improve the consecutive drafts of the translation. I’d like to thank my wife, Kay, not only for being the first, most important, reader, but for letting me steal from her so much time we could have spent doing other things. And finally, my particular gratitude goes to my friend Professor Paul Licata who devoted countless hours to this project, editing the texts, discussing diction and idiomatic usage, literally living the life of the characters and, in the process, contributing invaluably to the best rendering of the rich language of Victor Brook. Needless to say, all the remaining errors are solely my responsibility.

About Alexander Boguslawsky

A native of Poland, Professor Boguslawski received his M. A. in Russian Philology from the University of Warsaw and his Ph. D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures from the University of Kansas. He specializes in medieval Russian art and literature, but also writes about contemporary Russian literature. His articles and reviews appeared in SEEJ, Russian Language Journal, Russian Review, Canadian-American Slavic Studies, and Slavic Review. Professor Boguslawski is a translator of scholarly works and fiction from Russian into English and Polish (he translated into Polish Sasha Sokolov’s A School for Fools and Between Dog and Wolf and into English Victor Brook’s Hotel “Million Monkeys” and Other Stories ). He is also a web-page designer, guitar player and balladeer, and an artist. He has exhibited his paintings at the Olin Library and at Ormond Memorial Art Museum. At Rollins, he teaches Russian language, literature, folklore, history, and culture.

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