Published in the revolutionary year of 1848, A Double Life traces the awakening of a young noblewoman who by day submits to the prose of high society matchmaking, while at night she is a poet in her dreams of true love. Before Kate Chopin and Virginia Woolf, there was Karolina Pavlova.

~Hilde Hoogenboom, Arizona State University

August is Women in Translation Month, a global event that promotes women writers from around the world writing in languages other than English. This week, we featured women poets from Russia and East Asia. Today’s excerpt comes from the first chapter of Karolina Pavlova’s A Double Life. This 19th-century novel, written in alternating prose and poetry, follows Cecily as she is by day slowly trapped in a terrible marriage and by night lets her imagination run in vivid, poetic dreams. An excerpt of the introduction is available on The Paris Review.

If you enjoy the excerpt, make sure you enter our drawing for a chance to win a copy of the book!


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