How Much Land Does a Man Need by Leo Tolstoy

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Short Fiction | Translation
Bilingual Edition: Russian and English
Translated by Boris Dralyuk
Foreword by Brian Evenson

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How Much Land Does a Man Need (ebook)
Price: $4.99 USD

“The greatest story that the literature of the world knows.”

—James Joyce

How Much Land Does a Man Need is a small gem, a story that feels at once quickly recited and very sure of itself, and Calypso Editions and Boris Dralyuk are to be congratulated for giving it a new and better English-language life.”

—Brian Evenson



News, Events & Reviews





  • Reading, 2/10/11, 7 p.m., Brooklyn, N.Y.: Chin Music Reading Series at Pacific Standard Bar celebrates the Tolstoy Centennial with the launch of Calypso Editions’ inaugural title, Leo Tolstoy’s How Much Land Does a Man Need. Featuring readings in the original Russian from celebrated poets Polina Barskova and translator Boris Dralyuk. Series curated by Bryan Patrick Miller. Read the Press Release.

About the Book

Calypso Editions presents a new translation of this frequently overlooked classic. In How Much Land Does a Man Need, originally published in 1886, Tolstoy departs from the realist mode of his great novels—War and Peace and Anna Karenina—and adopts the markedly oral narrative style of skaz, a language at once rich and easily accessible to the simple folk he now wished to address. While previous translators have smoothed out the idiosyncrasies of the form, Boris Dralyuk’s translation retains the color and voice so vital to the tale.

Unlike the elite that populate Tolstoy’s novels, here Tolstoy introduces readers to a peasant, Pakhom, who swore that with enough land, he wouldn’t fear the devil himself.

The devil sat behind the stove and heard everything. He was glad the peasant woman led her husband to boasting that if he had land, the devil couldn’t take him.

“All right,” he thought, “we’ll make a bet; I’ll give you lots of land. And it’s the land I’ll take you with.”

The story is as engrossing as Pakhom’s insatiable need for land. This new translation aims to reintroduce and reinvigorate this classic.

About the Author: Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) is a Russian author regarded as one of the world’s finest novelists. The short story, How Much Land Does a Man Need, was penned long after his ambitious novels, War and Peace and Anna Karenina and within a year of his novella, The Death of Ivan Ilyich.

About the Translator: Boris Dralyuk is completing his PhD in Slavic Languages and Literatures at UCLA. His poems, translations, essays, and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in a variety of literary and academic journals, including Poetry International, Zeek, Slavic and East European Journal, and Russian History. He and David Stromberg have recently translated and edited Polina Barskova’s The Zoo in Winter: Collected Poems, to be released by Melville House in February 2011.

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Posted on

January 5, 2011