Richard Freeborn
About the author

Richard's formal qualifications were principally academic. After service in the RAF and post-war work in Germany, where he also attended Goettingen university, he graduated from Oxford, did doctoral research and was posted by the FO to the British embassy in Moscow, joining what was called the Secretariat.  Invited back to Oxford, he became a don and spent ten years there as tutor and lecturer before being offered a professorship at UCLA.  This was followed by a professorship at Manchester University and finally appointment to the chair of Russian literature at London (SSEES).  In the course of his career he gained an MA, a DPhil (Oxon), a DLitt (London), emeritus status and taught twice in California, interpreted for many major figures, including prime ministers and members of the Supreme Soviet, and travelled fairly widely in the Soviet Union in the immediate post-Stalin period, although in later decades he found he was persona non grata and not granted visas.  He married his wife Anne, an embassy colleague while in Moscow, and they have four children and seven grandchildren.

Academically his main interest was Russian CXIX literature.  He wrote studies devoted to modern Russian history, the rise of the Russian novel and what he called the Russian revolutionary novel.  At the heart of his interest was Ivan Turgenev, whose major literary works he both translated and wrote about extensively. He was employed by MGM to monitor the English translation of Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago for the screenplay - this led him to look closely at the first Russian revolution of 1905.  That it coincided with, and was partly due to, the defeat of Russia in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-5, intrigued him, not because it was a defeat, but because it had become an almost forgotten event that threw up a number of issues still relevant to the present day.  It offered a background to his novel, a trodden path, as it were, to the further aim of trying to create a plausible heroine who might exemplify what could be regarded as true American heroic endeavour, not grandiose, but essentially life-giving.

His publications include, in the academic field, Studies of Turgenev (OUP, 1960, 1963; Greenwood, 1978), A Short History of Modern Russia (Hodder, London, 1963; Morrow, NY, 1965), The Rise of the Russian Novel (CUP, 1973; reissued 2010), The Russian Revolutionary Novel (CUP, 1982, 1985), Dostoevsky (Haus, London, 2003), Furious Vissarion: Belinskii's Struggle for Literature, Love and Ideas (SSEES, London, 2003).  His translations from the Russian are Turgenev's Sketches from a Hunter's Album (Penguin Classics, London, 1967; complete ed., 1990), Home of the Gentry (Penguin Classics, London, 1970, many eds.), Rudin (Penguin Classics, London,1975), First Love and other stories (OUP World's Classics, 1989; originally published by the Folio Society, London, 1982), Fathers and Sons (OUP World's Classics, 1991, many eds., now a set book at the Open University), A Month in the Country (OUP World's Classics, 1991); Dostoevsky, An Accidental Family (OUP, World's Classics, 1994).

His novels are Two Ways of Life (Hodder, London, 1962), The Emigration of Sergey Ivanovich (Hodder, London,1963; Morrow, NY, 1965), Russian Roulette (Cassell, London, 1979), The Russian Crucifix (Macmillan, London, 1987; St Martin's, NY, 1987).  He contributed to such works as the Encyclopedia Britannica and edited a number of academic studies and reviewed frequently for various journals. Works published in the USA include practically all his academic studies and translations as well as two of his novels, The Emigration of Sergey Ivanovich and The Russian Crucifix.  His translation of Turgenev's play A Month in the Country starred Helen Mirren and John Hurt et al. when it was produced in London and enjoyed great success.  Dame Helen Mirren then took it to Broadway where it enjoyed further success.  She and John Hurt left him a very touching, congratulatory memento relating to his translation and their roles in the play.
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