The Possessed : Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them

Published to wildly enthusiastic reviews in 2010, The Possessed  came to my attention because I noticed the superb cover art by famous cartoonist Roz Chast.  I self-identified as a possessed Russian classics reader late in high school and college, and so had to dive into this book.  I’m glad I did: it is wonderful!  Elif Batuman is a professor of comparative literature at Stanford, and a natural storyteller. Her essays detail the often hilarious predicaments she encounters while in graduate school, settling on a Russian major while attending a Tolstoy conference. Batuman spends a summer in Samarkind, Uzbekistan, and details much of her stay in a travelogue style, so that one really gets a sense of her surroundings. She is an energetic and excellent writer; her passion for her craft shines throughout.

“ The title of this book is borrowed from Dostoevsky’s weirdest novel, The Demons, formerly translated as The Possessed, which narrates the descent into madness of a circle of intellectuals in a remote Russian province: a situation analogous, in certain ways, to my own experiences in grad school.” (author)

The possessed : adventures with Russian books and the people who read themBy Batuman, Elif, 1977-

"The Possessed draws on Elif Batuman's articles in the New Yorker, Harper's, and n+1 to tell the true story of one woman's intellectual and sentimental education and her many strange encounters with fellow scholars devoted--absurdly! melancholically! beautifully!--to the Russian classics." (cover annotation)

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October/November 2017 New & On Order DVD/Blu-ray
A listing of DVD's and Blu-ray added to the collection in October/November 2017
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