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The Enigma of Isaac Babel – Biography, History, Context - Stanford Scholarship Online
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The Enigma of Isaac Babel: Biography, History, Context

Gregory Freidin


A literary cult figure on a par with Franz Kafka, Isaac Babel has remained an enigma ever since he disappeared, along with his archive, inside Stalin's secret police headquarters in May of 1939. Made famous by Red Cavalry, a book about the Russian civil war (he was the world's first “embedded” war reporter), another book about the Jewish gangsters of his native Odessa, and yet another about his own Russian Jewish childhood, Babel has been celebrated by generations of readers, all craving fuller knowledge of his works and days. Bringing together scholars of different countries and areas of spec ... More

Keywords: Isaac Babel, Stalin, Russian civil war, Odessa, Russian Jew, communism, Soviet archives, Red Cavalry, Jewish gangsters

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2009 Print ISBN-13: 9780804759038
Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013 DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804759038.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Gregory Freidin, editor

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Part One Attempting a Biography

Part Two Babel in the Context of Russian History

5 Writers at the Front


6 Thinned and Diluted


Part Three Babel in the World of Letters and On Stage

9 Pan Pisar'


10 The Child's Eye


End Matter