A Bilingual Publisher of Great Russian Literature
Tiptop Street, a bilingual literary press based in New York City, aims to brings to the English-language reader a range of great works of Russian literature, both canonical and contemporary. We make and print important bilingual literary editions, wherein the Russian originals are printed alongside their definitive modern translations on facing pages. Our translators are leading poets and literary and language experts and with the highest qualifications for each publishing project. Enjoy our bilingual editions! Additionally, Tiptop Street publishes monolingual editions of outstanding Russian émigré literature, i.e. poetry and prose composed by Russian writers living outside Russia.
A Lifelong Publishing Quest
Growing up in Russia, Ilya Bernshteyn, the publisher and editor-in-chief of Tiptop Street, dreamed from a young age of becoming a literary publisher. He recalls: “I was born to be a publisher, but this line of work took me a long time to master. It was not a profession that you could acquire the “regular” way, by taking classes and reading manuals. I sought out seasoned printers who taught me various aspects of publishing, and I gained knowledge and skills hands-on by serving as an apprentice, just as they used to do back in the Middle Ages, in that hoary era of guild banners and artisan workshops. This learning process took me some 15 years, until finally, in 2009, I launched my own literary press.”
Meanwhile, life was quite rough on Ilya Bernshteyn: “By that time, dramatic events – wars and political and economic crises – had shaken Russia. I was experiencing their harsh impact, as did the entire country. Life was hard and complicated. I struggled – successfully – to extricate myself from difficult, often dangerous situations that I kept finding myself in, from being a victim of racketeering to being arrested and detained for taking part in protests organized by Russia’s political opposition. I had kids, and as they were growing up, my heart filled with concern for their future. On the bright side, I was publishing books, and I received some important prizes and awards as a publisher. Finally, in December 2017, we relocated to the United States, and a new life began for us, with its new challenges and opportunities. However, I do not see my life as divided. It is not some sort of contradiction. This latest, crowing experience – my immigration to the US – unites my life path into a coherent and, I hope, a harmonious whole.”
Settling on this side of the Atlantic, Ilya, by now a well-known and inveterate publisher, soon conceived of Tiptop Street, a two-shore press with a focus on bilingual editions of essential Russian literary works with definitive English translations, aimed at teachers and students of Russian literature and language globally – and at anyone interested in Russia and her literary riches. A secondary focus on Russian monolingual books by leading émigré authors and poets targets sophisticated readers of Russian at home and abroad.
Partnership with A&B Publishers, Russia
Tiptop Street is a sister project of A&B Publishers, Ilya’s literary press in Moscow, established in 2009. A&B specializes in critical editions of 20th-century Russian literary classics, with a special emphasis on children’s literature. A&B books are likewise available on our website. The extensive annotations and commentary reference facts about the text (including the place and time of its composition and its publication history), as well as contextual information (including historical, biographical, social, political, and cultural backgrounds). These deeply researched books are addressed both to scholars (historians, literary historians, critics) and to the general educated lover of Russian literature and culture.
A&B Publishers Logo
In a nutshell, A&B’s Publishers serves the need for modern interpretations of literary texts that have already become or are in process of becoming classics. A&B books generate a kind of “augmented reality” wherein outstanding “old” texts are made accessible and intelligible to the modern reader with the aid of detailed, expert elucidation, both verbal and visual (A&B editions contain illustrated commentary).
A&B’s long-term success with this publishing strategy has influenced Tiptop Street’s own vision and mission. Bilingual publishing is necessarily a type of explication and elucidation. It has the power to subvert and make permeable the boundaries between whole cultures and historical eras, contributing to a kinder and more cohesive humanity.