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The Russian element in the journal Commerce possesses a cultural and historical significance disproportionate to its statistical presence. The extensively annotated letters to Marguerite Caetani in the present volume present some of the advocacy lying behind these publications: 26 letters by the eminent critic D.S. Mirsky (Prince D.P. Sviatopolk-Mirsky, 1890-1939), and 3 by the prolific journalist and translator Helen Iswolsky (Elena Aleksandrovna Izvol′skaia, 1896-1975). The letters are prefaced by critical introductions to these two upper-class refugees from revolutionary Russia, which trace their contrasting fates: Mirsky became a Communist and returned to Russia in 1932, to perish in the Gulag; Iswolsky, an early convert to Catholicism, became an academic and eventually a nun in the USA. In addition, the pioneering assessments of Commerce published by them in the contemporary Russian émigré press are reprinted and translated, as are reviews by Mirsky of four of the principal authors mentioned in the letters: Isaak Babel, T.S. Eliot, Osip Mandel′shtam, and Boris Pasternak. The volume opens with a general introduction to Commerce in its broad historical context.
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