Award-winning author Jerome Charyn will read from his new book, Savage Shorthand: The Life and Death of Isaac Babel (Random House, 2005), at New York University’s Bobst Library, Fales Collection (3rd floor), 70 Washington Square South, on Thursday, November 10, 6:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public; for further information, the public may call 212.998.2596.
A highlight of the event will be a special appearance by Nathalie Babel, Isaac Babel’s daughter.
Hailed as the first great Soviet writer, Isaac Babel was both a product and a victim of violent revolution. Savage Shorthand traces the arc of Babel’s charmed life and mysterious death, but the book goes beyond straight biography to become a meditation on the pleasures, torments, and meanings of Babel’s art. Babel’s tales of the bandit king Benya Krik and the brutal raids of the Red Cavalry made him a celebrity overnight. But with the rise of Stalin, he became a living ghost — artists were “snuffed out like candle flames” during the first wave of the Terror. Charyn’s chilling account of the circumstances of Babel’s death, hidden and lied about for decades by Stalin’s agents, finally sets the record straight.
Jerome Charyn is the author of more than 30 books, including Darlin’ Bill, which received the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. He is Distinguished Professor of Film Studies at the American University in Paris.
The Jerome Cheryn Papers are housed in the NYU Fales Collection.