The online literary journal, Bewildering Stories, has today published another of my translated short stories, ‘The Time of Serfdom’. Eugène-Melchior de Vogüé originally wrote it as part of his collection Cœurs russes (Russian Hearts), published in 1894. The journal’s editor has introduced my translation with a mini-blurb:
How did the legend begin that a post-medieval Russian serf lord could exercise tyrannical power even from beyond his deathbed?
Clearly this is no fairy tale. An English-language reviewer in 1894 saw it as a dark tale based on truth:
[‘The Time of Serfdom’] presents a repulsive picture of pre-emancipation manners on some badly managed estates. (The Nation, Vol 58, no. 1503)
Read it not because the subject is dark but because the ending is promising, in a way. You can find ‘The Time of Serfdom’ on the website of Bewildering Stories. The website itself is worth a visit, just to see how much work has gone into this amazing journal that’s now in its 20th year, having outlasted umpteen others online. My three stories are there, including ‘Joseph Olenin’s Coat’ in Bewildering Stories, Issue 831, and ‘Fire Stealer’ in Issue 870, along with a vast number of other excellent works submitted by writers, most of them not translators…