Read Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin Charles Johnston Online


Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin, born in 1799 in Moscow, was the founding father of Russian literature. He had a simplicity and purity of language, a directness and immediacy of vision, that were entirely and spontaneously his own. In both prose and verse, he was a pioneer: whether in Boris Godunov, a historical drama of Shakespearean grandeur; in prose stories like The QueeAlexander Sergeyevich Pushkin, born in 1799 in Moscow, was the founding father of Russian literature. He had a simplicity and purity of language, a directness and immediacy of vision, that were entirely and spontaneously his own. In both prose and verse, he was a pioneer: whether in Boris Godunov, a historical drama of Shakespearean grandeur; in prose stories like The Queen of Spades; or in Eugene Onegin, a poetic novel—in these and other great works of literature Pushkin broke new ground, with the freshness of the innovator but with all the authority of genius.Although Pushkin himself—like his hero Onegin—was a man of fashion and lived in the highest society, his attitude toward the imperial establishment remained satirical and rebellious. He began Eugene Onegin in 1823 in south Russian, during his banishment from St. Petersburg, and continued it in Moscow and various country houses; it was completed in 1831. Its account of Onegin's duel with Lensky has a particular poignancy in view of the poet's fate in 1837, when he was killed in a duel with an emigre French officer over an argument about Pushkin's wife, the beautiful Natalya Goncharovna.It is useful to say that Eugene Onegin is incomparable and untranslatable. And, since Vladimir Nabokov's work on this Russian classic—which reproduced the exact meaning but disclaimed any further ambition to bring the verse form to life in English—the proud austerity of Pushkin's poetry, its technical virtuosity, its lyrical intensity and gusto have remained behind a soundproof wall, as it were, for English-language readers.Sir Charles Johnston's translation brings out the special qualities of Eugene Onegin as a poetic novel in the fullest sense: the touching beauty and cynical wit of the poem; the psychological insight, the devious narrative skill, the thrilling, compulsive grip of the novel; the tremendous swing and panache of the whole performance. As Peter Levi wrote in The Sunday Times (London), "A translation of Onegin has appeared as near perfect as I think we shall ever get. It has something of the technical dash, the swiftness and the brilliancy and the warmth of Pushkin. Even the jokes are still funny. This new translation has taught me more about Pushkin than I had understood by other means. Its obvious virtues are speed and wit, but its truth of tone is what makes it a moving and an admirable work. Johnston's Onegin is a magnificent achievement."...

Title : Eugene Onegin
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Rating :
ISBN : 9780670298891
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 225 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Eugene Onegin Reviews

  • Nataliya
    2018-11-07 16:30

    I dare you, double-triple-dog dare you¹, to find a Russian person who has never heard of Evgeniy Onegin. ¹ If you do somehow manage to find this living-under-the-rock person, I unfortunately cannot provide you with a monetary reward since I have no money to speak of. Instead, I will treat you to the my horrified expression akin to Edvard Munch's 'The Scream'. Sorry.This novel in verse permeates all aspects of Russian culture, lauded both in the tsarist Russia and the USSR. Children read it in literature class and are made to memorize passages from it starting in elementary school. There are operas, ballets, and films. The phrases from it have become aphorisms and are still widely used in the Russian language. It even dragged the name Tatyana out of the obscurity to the heights of long-lasting popularity (now the lines 'Her sister's name was Tatyana./It's the first time we dare/ To grace with such a name/ The tender pages of a novel' seem outright silly).Yes, the familiarity of Russians with 'Evgeniy Onegin' is quite stunning. And yet I think most of us, when you get to the bottom of things, have only superficial recollections of it, the bits and pieces of storyline (which may or may not feature a love story?), a duel, a passionate letter, a few aphorisms, and a phrase coming from the recesses of the third-grade memory: "Winter! The peasant, triumphant..." And at the same time most of us, I think, would be hard-pressed to point out exactly why this book is so great - not unexpected given that 200+ pages of verse read at age 15 may not necessarily create a meaningful imprint on teenage minds.And this is why I embarked on a re-read - and as a result having unintentionally impressed my literature teacher mother (yay, the perks of Pushkin! I wonder - is it a coincidence that my brother and I have the names of Alexander Pushkin and his wife Natalie?) I wanted to discover those gems that critics and teachers see, and which evaded me the first time I read it at seven and then at fifteen. And, reader, I found them!Did I mention before that this book is over 200 pages of verse, rhyming in a particular stanza structure that came to be known as 'Pushkin sonnet' ("aBaBccDDeFFeGG" with masculine endings in lower case and feminine endings in upper case - for you, literature buffs!). That seems like a huge feat to accomplish - and it did take Pushkin a decade to complete and publish it. And yet, despite the gargantuan effort, this novel reads so incredibly easy and effortlessly that it's almost too easy to overlook its beauty sophistication under the deceiving cover-up of light simplicity. These verses are two hundred years old, and yet sound very natural even to a modern Russian ear - a testament to Pushkin's amazing grasp of nuances and dynamics of living Russian language, not the stuffy official one (and that, admirably, was in the era where many educated Russians could speak flawless French, English or German but were often struggling with their native 'peasant' language - just like Tatyana Larina, actually!)The plot of the novel can be easily seen as a love story - if you strip it down to its most basic elements, of course. A bored rich noble Evgeniy Onegin comes from the capital to a rural part of Russia, meets a young and naively passionate Tatyana Larina, a daughter of a local rural noble, and spurns her naive affections expressed in a passionate letter to him. A misunderstanding over Tatyana's sister leads to a duel between Onegin and his younger poet friend Lensky - and leaves Lensky dead. A few years later, Onegin runs into Tatiana in St Petersburg - now a married sophisticated lady of the higher society - and is smitten; but his affections get spurned by the older and wiser Tatiana who delivers a famous line that although she still loves Evgeniy, she "belong[s] to another and will be forever faithful to him". End of story.What this simplified version that sticks in the minds of many readers years later lacks is exactly what makes this a great novel as opposed to yet another 19th century romance. What makes it unique is a masterful mockingly sarcastic portrayal of the entire 'cream' of Russian society so familiar to Pushkin, one of its members by birth. From the very beginning, Pushkin assumes a conversational tone with the reader, breaking the literary fourth wall any chance he gets, emphasizing that the characters and customs he describes are well-known, contemporary and easily recognizable not only to him but also to his audience - the educated 'cream of the society' of whom he's making subtle fun.Evgeniy is your typical "Byronic" young man, fashionably disenchanted with life, suffering from "хандра" - the Russian expression for ennui - and fashionably, as learned from the books (something that enamored with him Tatyana discovers to her distress), showing his tiredness of the world and showing off his trendy cynicism. He's reasonably good-looking, educated 'just enough' and unconsciously playing up a fashionable gothic stereotype, bored with life already at the age of twenty-six, sharply contrasted with Lensky, an eighteen-year-old poet ready to fall in love and sing it endless dithyrambs. Evgeniy does seem fake in his boredom and despicable in his feeling of superiority and self-righteousness, and therefore his disappointment in pursuit of older, more interesting Tatyana's love comes as a deserved punishment, readers agree. And let's face it - despite the novel being named after Onegin, he in the hearts of the readers plays second fiddle to the one he first rejected and then hopelessly pursued - Tatyana Larina.Tatyana Larina, in contrast to Evgeniy, has always been the darling of Russian literature. She is viewed as uniquely Russian (the fact that Pushkin himself emphasizes, even when he acknowledges that like many of the Russian nobles of that time, Tatyana had a hard time speaking Russian), the embodiment of what a perfect Russian woman should be - sincere, idealistic and passionate, and yet strong, resilient and faithful to her partner despite the temptations. She can be easily seen as an inspiration to all those noble Decemberists' wives who were willing to leave everything behind and follow their duty and obligation to the depths of Siberia, if need be. Her rejection of Evgeniy is viewed as undeniable integrity and strength of character, and the unwavering ability to self-sacrifice for what is right.That's how I was taught to think about Tatyana, in any case. She steals the stage from Evgeniy so effortlessly and naturally to become a heroine and not just the girl in love. And yet, as I was reading this novel now, likely at least a decade older than Tatyana when she falls in love, I could not help but notice the bits in her character that made me question her place on the pedestal of ultimate Russian womanhood - and because of that actually made her more dear and more relatable to me.You see, the sincerity and passion with which Tatyana embraced her young love on this read-through did not really pass my scrutiny. Let's be honest - she does not fall in love with Onegin; instead, raised on cheap romances, she falls in love with an imagined ideal of him, having glimpsed him only during a single evening he spends in her home. She falls in love with this mysterious handsome haughty stranger because, as the stories have taught her, she's supposed to. She's young and impressionable (her age is never stated, but at some point there's a mention of a thirteen-year-old girl, which to me feels a bit too young to be Tatyana - and so I tend to imagine her about seventeen or eighteen, making her younger sister Olga a 'marriageable material' as well). She plays the role of a typical quiet, introspective, shy, pale and dreamy young woman very well, having internalized the idea of a romantic heroine. Her love is likely no more real than Onegin's trendy disappointment with life. Her passionate letter, written in French, is open and brave - but yet, on a closer reading, full of cliches that are clearly taken out of romance novels that kept her company throughout adolescence.So basically what I see here is the meeting of two people both of whom are instinctively and therefore very sincerely playing the exact roles society and culture expect them to play - the world-weary Evgeniy and the romantically passionate Tatyana. None of them is the ultimate Russian hero, let's face it. The conventions they both pander to is what does not allow them to be happy.Tatyana three years later, having turned into a refined Petersburg married lady commanding respect and admiration, appears a much more interesting character - to Onegin as well, unsurprisingly. But her astounding transformation really seems to be just another role she tries on and fulfills with the same aptitude as she did the role of a romantic provincial young woman in love. Tatyana wears her new expectations as a glove - and so does Evgeniy, madly falling in love with her just as would be expected for a young dandy meeting a refined alluring woman of higher society. Once again both of them play a part that's expected for them, and play it well. And even Tatyana's ultimate rejection of Onegin may not be so much the strength of her character as the expected behavior of a woman in such a situation as portrayed in the romance novels with which she grew up (the alternative to Tatyana's decision decades later was described by Tolstoy in 'Anna Karenina' with all the tragic consequences that followed).An ideal Russian woman? Perhaps not. A young woman tragically caught in the web of societal and cultural expectations in her youth and now in her adulthood? Perhaps so. And in this, I think, is the strength and the tragedy of this story.Pushkin seems to have felt the societal conventions very well to so exquisitely poke fun at them while showing very subtly the pain they can lead to. He shows the tragedy of yet another societal convention of establishing masculinity and honor - the duels. Onegin kills his friend Lensky in a duel that both of them know is not necessary but yet expected by the society - and Pushkin is not subtle about showing the wasteful unnecessity of such an act. And this is why neither me nor my literature teacher mother can even fathom how, in winter of 1837, 37-year-old Alexander Pushkin himself allowed ridiculous societal convention to take his life, losing his life in a duel which supposedly happened over a woman - the duel he described so aptly years prior in his masterpiece. Bookworm buffs - check this out. The second greatest Russian poet, young Mikhail Lermontov, who wrote a famous and angry poem upon Pushkin's death in that ill-fated duel, proceeded to write a death-duel scene himself which almost exactly predicted his own death - also in a duel - a few years later.What was going on with Russian literary geniuses recognizing the futility and tragedy of conventions leading to duels and then dying in the same manner that they described and mocked?There was more to Onegin's story than we got to see in the finished version. As Pushkin wrote it when he has fallen out of favor, when he was in his Southern exile, he had Onegin travel all over Russia coming in contact with events and sights that the poet had eventually prudently decided were not risking his freedom over publishing and so destroyed those parts. How much do I wish those chapters have survived intact! There may have been some added depth to the character of the ultimate Russian world-weary dandy had they survived. But even without them, the 200+ pages novel in verse that has been the darling of Russian literature for two centuries now lives up to its hard-to-attain fame. 4.5 stars and extra respect from my mother for having reread it - and that ultimately is priceless.

  • Luís C.
    2018-10-28 13:25

    What can I say about this Eugene Onegin? A work that is so sublime, bearing the name of a character, oh so much apart... I would like to thank the magnificence of this song with my simple words, and I feel immediately this will be a daunting task... But I start anyway!Let's talk first about intrigue. Eugene Oneguin is a love story between Onegin and Tatiana, a love story obviously impossible - even though here it is rather rendered impossible and lost forever because of the blindness and contempt of Onegin, a jaded character and tired by all that constitutes life, especially by men and especially love. The whole is punctuated by the intervention of the poet Pushkin, who delivers us with delight his trait of spirit.Through this novel we also make a magnificent encounter, that of the touching and tender Lenski, a young romantic poet who responds only to the voice of the heart, and are indeed on the same path - the very one that will make him losing his precious life for Love. He thus appears as an anti-Onegin in his loving effusions and his faith in life, and his sacrifice makes him a splendid hero.Anna Netrebko - Eugene Oneguin - in the Met - New YorkIn terms of form - please, do not miss so much beauty - I found writing verse just divine, and I could not resist the urge to read in high voices this extraordinary song we offer Pushkin, the Great Alexander Pushkin..In short, I loved this novel, which, for me, is nothing but a masterpiece of literature, both Russian and global.

  • Alex
    2018-10-18 13:15

    This foundation stone of Russian literature is a smashing, lilting read - and it's only 200 pages to boot, so it's less of a commitment than all those later Russians who thought editing was for assholes. It's a "novel in verse," which means epic poem, wtf, in iambic tetrameter. It's organized in stanzas that are almost sonnets, but far enough off to kindof fuck with your head, or mine anyway. The scheme is abab, ccdd, effe, gg, so he's switching it up in each quatrain, which leaves me constantly off-balance. But in a good way! Tetrameter has a dangerous tendency to sound sing-songy to me, and this helps counterbalance that somehow.It also makes a tough challenge for a translator, and for a long time Onegin was considered untranslatable. Stanley Mitchell has done what feels like an admirable job; I'm sure if I knew Russian I'd say he brutalized it, but one takes what one can get and this version felt readable and elegant. He's no Mos Def, but he's pretty good with the rhymes.The story ends abruptly at Chapter VIII; Pushkin had to do some last-minute rearranging, by which I mean burning most of a chapter that was critical of the government, which really throws the pace off there. The version I have includes some fragments after VIII - stuff that survived the flames for whatever reason - but it's really not enough to be more than a curiosity.Tolstoy called this the major influence for Anna Karenina, and you can see it. He kinda took this story and said what if, at a crucial moment, things had gone differently? (The point I'm thinking of, if you're interested, is the duel. (view spoiler)[Karenin considers dueling Vronsky - which choice would surely have ended the same way Onegin's with Lensky does - but chickens out. (hide spoiler)]) So if you read these two together it's basically like a really long Choose Your Own Adventure with only one choice. Rad!And as an added bonus, Pushkin includes what I'm cheerfully going to assume is the most beautiful ode to foot fetishes ever written. It's five stanzas long, so that's 70 lines of foot fetishing, including hits like this:Once by the sea, a storm impending,I recollect my envy ofThe waves, successively descending,,Collapsing at her feet with love.Oh how I wished to join their racesAnd catch her feet in my embraces!1.32Almost makes you wish had a foot fetish so you could really get into that bit. I used to know a dude like that. His nickname was seriously "Sniffer." Anyway, but in case you're not Sniffer, here's a stanza that's not about feet, so you can get a feel for how good this shit is:Let me glance back. Farewell, you arboursWhere, in the backwoods, I recallDays filled with indolence and ardoursAnd dreaming of a pensive soul.And you, my youthful inspiration,Keep stirring my imagination,My heart's inertia vivify,More often to my corner fly.Let not a poet's soul be frozen,Made rough and hard, reduced to boneAnd finally be turned to stoneIn that benumbing world he goes in,In that intoxicating sloughWhere, friends, we bathe together now.VI.46Right? And if that doesn't kick your ass, you're no friend of mine.Frankly, even if it does we're probably not friends. But we could be, if you want.

  • Fernando
    2018-10-23 13:07

    Pushkin es un fenómeno extraordinario, tal vez un fenómeno único del alma rusa, tal como lo expresó Gógol... Pushkin aparece precisamente en el despertar de nuestra autoconciencia...y, en este sentido es un guía y un profeta." Fiódor DostoievskiMe encanta este libro. Alexandr Pushkin, como dice el genial escritor ruso supo entender como nadie la idiosincrasia del pueblo ruso y recomiendo fuertemente leer el “Discurso sobre Pushkin”, que Dostoievski pronunciara el 8 de junio de 1880 ante la "Sociedad de amigos de la Literatura Rusa" pocos meses antes de su muerte.Es la manera de entender todo lo que Pushkin le dio a Rusia, sobre todo acerca de la importancia que este autor le dio a las Letras rusas durante el siglo XIX. En los siglos XVII y XVIII la literatura rusa estaba recién en formación y más allá de los esfuerzos de autores como Gavrila Derzhavin, Nikolái Karamzín, Iván Krylov o Denís Fonvizin quienes pudieron sentar algunas bases literarias importantes, fue recién a través del aire renovador de Pushkin -Gógol fue el otro gran pionero, aunque provenía de Ucrania-, que Rusia comienza a ser considerada una nación de letras fuertes, algo que finalmente iba a tener su despegue final con grandes como el mismo Dostoievski, Nikólai Gógol (ya nombrado), Lev Tolstói, Iván Turguéniev, Iván Gonchárov, y posteriormente Antón Chéjov, Máxim Gorki y Mijaíl Bugákov, sólo por nombrar a los más ilustres.La aparición de Pushkin en las letras no puede ser más exacta. Y logra definir claramente el concepto de Rusia como nación y de dar a conocer a Europa las características más emblemáticas del hombre ruso.La gran mayoría de sus novelas y cuentos dan prueba de ello: "Dubrovsky", "La hija del Capitán", "Boris Godunov" y "Los Cuentos del difunto Iván Petróvich Belkin. En estas narraciones logra retratar las distintas capas sociales de la Rusia de su época, algo que también desarrollarían en profundidad Gógol y Dostoievski.Respecto a Eugenio Onieguin, el hecho en que esté narrado en verso con un vuelo poético tan elevado hace que mi admiración por Pushkin equipare a la que le tenía el mismísimo Dostoievski, quien lo consideró "el primero de los hombres rusos". Los versos de Pushkin adquieren brillo sin necesidad de utilizar retruécanos superfluos y la manera en que el narrador (que es él mismo, aportando muchos pensamientos y verdades de su propia vida) se aleja de la acción para narrarla sin obstaculiar la historia, le da a este pequeño libro un brillo especial.Casualmente tanto en la poesía como en la prosa Pushkin utilizaba las palabras justas. A veces menos también es más para que las palabras lleguen al corazón. Pushkin fue el más romántico de los rusos, y esto se percibe claramente en la novela con los continuos estados de ánimo de los personajes -especialmente del príncipe Lenski y de Tatiana, no tanto de Olga y recién al final de la novela, de Eugenio Onieguin. El Romanticismo, ese género tan apasionado, es reflejado por Pushkin a través de los autores del movimiento que tanto admiraba, como Schiller, Goethe (los impulsores del "Sturm und Drang" que disparó al Romanticismo), René de Chateaubriand y especialmente Lord Byron, el escritor preferido y una tanto imitado de Pushkin. Si hasta dice en un momento de la novela que un cuadro del mítico poeta inglés cuelga de una pared.La historia entre Eugenio Onieguin y Tatiana tiene todos los ribetes necesarios para que el lector se entere de las pasiones desenfrenadas a las que son sometidas este tipo de personajes, pero a la vez narradas de manera genial, poética, apasionada, como sólo Pushkin podía hacerlo.Creo que es Lenski el más romántico de todos los personajes, mientras que Onieguin y Tatiana sufren altibajos emocionales, producto de tanta ebullición sentimental. De todos modos, considero a Tatiana, más romántica que la sufrida Emma Bovary, otra famosa romántica que para variar, vive en un mundo completamente realista. Otro punto a destacar es la notable similitud entre Eugenio Onieguin y Alexandr Pushkin, lo que demuestra las convicciones e ideales románticas del escritor ruso y el tema del duelo entre Onieguin con el Príncipe Lenski es realmente profético, pero con resultados disímiles entre ficción y realidad: en el caso de Onieguin, lo llevará a un estado de conmoción para el resto de la novela, pero casualmente, es ficción.A Pushkin le fue peor. Casado con una hermosa mujer, Natalia Goncharova, sufrió conscientemente el acoso de un francés desertor, el capitán Georges d'Anthès sobre su esposa a quien cortejaba (incluso se caso con la hermana de Natalia).Como mandaban los códigos de su época, Pushkin, cansado de la situación lo retó a duelo, pero d'Anthès disparó primero.Sin saberlo y con ese disparo, d'Anthès envió a Pushkin a una inmediata inmortalidad transformándolo en el Padre de las letras rusas y en uno de los más aclamados escritores que nos legó el siglo XIX.

  • Florencia
    2018-11-11 12:02

    And then, from all a heart finds tenderI tore my own; an alien soul,Without allegiances, I vanished,Thinking that liberty and peaceCould take the place of happiness.My God, how wrong, how I’ve been punished!- Alexander Pushkin, Chapter VIIIContradictions. We are made of dreams and contradictions. We want something and after getting it, we don't want it anymore. But there's even a more bitter reality: we often want what we can't have. We compare our lives with the lives of the characters we love and we long for that. The literary universe created by another human being fits our desires. The real world, doesn't. And there's nothing we can do about that. The more we spend our time yearning for a fictional life, the more we lose our own. I always enjoy reading about amazing cities and great people I'll never meet; I usually find them more interesting than people I've actually met. But I set my boundaries. I don't want to miss getting to know awesome people in real life—they certainly exist, somewhere—for a life full of fiction. The world of books is a rewarding world that I'll never leave behind, but the one I see out there, is the only one I can truly experience, inhabited by people that can actually answer my questions, soothe my pain and be happy because of my own happiness. This is a book where real life and fiction are too close to distinguish one from the other.This novel in verse tells the story of Eugene Onegin, a man that doesn't seem to be quite excited of taking care of his dying uncle. But, oh my God, what desolationTo tend a sick man day and nightAnd not to venture from his sight!What shameful cunning to be cheerfulWith someone who is halfway dead,To prop up pillows by his head,To bring him medicine, looking tearful,To sigh – while inwardly you think:When will the devil let him sink?(Chapter I, Stanza I)Through Pushkin's witty and ironic writing we see that Eugene is not exactly a person full of integrity and generosity. After the death of this uncle, he inherited his land and moved to the country.Eugene is depicted as a dandy; perfect hair and clothes, fond of dances and everything that characterized high society. A young man with charm and mind... A pedant, yet an able lad. In conclusion, an arrogant moron. Do you see the clear difference between his words and mine? That leads me to my next point.I always say I kind of prefer writing over plot. I can deal with a simple plot if it's wonderfully written. And this is a fair example of that. The plot is quite simple (therefore, I can't write about it); it's all about Pushkin's talent: a beautiful writing that can mesmerize even the most detached human being of the planet. However, do not get the wrong idea. The plot may be simple, but he still managed to deal—in few pages—with the higher and most degrading aspects of human nature. We have an arrogant and shallow main character, a strong female character that loved to read, an interesting twist, many references to other authors and books (literary anxiety levels are increasing by the minute), a complicated ending and Pushkin's superb style and clever insights. I can't ask for anything more. I LOVED this book.I highly recommend this edition. I have been always fascinated with the translation process. One's subjectivity can create a whole different work. Between respecting the structure and preserving the actual meaning that the author wanted to express... tough work. I read Spalding's translation and this one is by far more superior. Both kept a correct rhyming, but Mitchell's flows like water, losing all kind of stiff archaisms. And, needless to say, his notes are extremely helpful. By the way, Nabokov's translation is coming, soon! And then, I shall meet Mr. Arndt. Still, I can't imagine what reading Pushkin's poetry in Russian must be like. A delightful experience, I'm sure.Anyway, this masterful poet's words should end this review. Beautiful words that irradiate hope. That's the thing about Pushkin: no matter how unpleasant what he's describing might be or how profound his character's pain seems to be, I can always find hope in him. Always. Whatever, reader, your opinion,A friend or foe, I wish to partWith you today like a companion.Farewell. Whatever you may chartAmong these careless lines, reflections –Whether tumultuous recollectionsOr light relief from labour’s yoke,The lively image, witty jokeOr the mistakes I’ve made in grammar –God grant you find here just a grainTo warm the heart, to entertain,To feed a dream, and cause a clamourWith journals and their clientele,Upon which, let us part, farewell!(Chapter VIII, Stanza 49)March 24, 14* Also on my blog.

  • Jan-Maat
    2018-11-07 12:23

    Umbert Eco once wrote that "Translation is the art of failure" and your opinion of this work is likely to be decided by the translation that you read.Pushkin wrote Onegin in Alexandrines which have twelve syllable lines with an end rhyme. This works well in Russian, it feels fairly easy even natural achieving a light and classical tone. The Johnson translation that works so hard to achieve this in English has for me a trite and bouncy tone that detracts from the work rather than supporting it. But there is more than one translation available so you pay your money and make your choice.The poem has a lot to offer. Onegin is the prototype of the superfluous man who was to have a long history in Russian history. He could have been a Byronic figure - but isn't, although that may be part of his appeal when Tatiana, who is a very literary heroine, first sees him.The symmetry of its simple 'man rejects woman, woman then rejects man' plot interrupted by a 'man kills friend in duel' incident allowed Pushkin opportunity to look at values embodied in literature and the contrast between the city and the countryside which represent contrasting ways of life with alternate value codes and modes of appropriate behaviour.It is a text that is open to a range of readings as Tchaikovsky's later syrupy opera shows, yet always has something new to offer.The problem is rendering it into English. If you want to enjoy Onegin then possibly learning Russian is the only way to do it. Pushkin dominates the beginnings of modern Russian literature, his huge popularity meant that much of the rest of literary life in nineteenth century Russia is in response to the models he established(view spoiler)[ I like in particular another poem of hisThe Bronze Horseman which stands in opposition to the idolising of strong men and forceful leaders (hide spoiler)], the stories that he told and his use of Russian. While the prose offers it's own challenges to the translator it gives more of a sense in English of Pushkin's lasting influence, skill and subtly than the poetry.

  • Teresa Proença
    2018-11-01 20:11

    "(...) aceita, indulgente, estescapítulos assim variegados,ou meio jocosos ou meio tristes,em fala vulgar ou em tom elevado,fruto leviano do passatempo,da insónia, da leve inspiração,do imaturo, e do murcho, tempo,de um frio exame da razão,das marcas dolentes no coração."Li Eugénio Onéguin, há dois anos, numa tradução para castelhano; reli-o, agora, na versão para português de Nina e Filipe Guerra. A qualidade das traduções não posso avaliar, que não percebo russo, mas comparei algumas estrofes e parece-me que a da editada pela Relógio D'Água não fica atrás da da Catedra.A primeira leitura foi a da descoberta; essencialmente conhecer as personagens e emocionar-me com os seus destinos. A segunda foi a do prazer; o deslumbramento com a arte de Pushkin. No meu primeiro Oneguin, fiz um textozito que fica aqui para quem tiver paciência para o ler.Agora, vou arrumar as minhas duas maravilhosas edições para deixar de olhar para elas e tirar este sorriso tolo da cara...

  • Emma
    2018-11-05 20:08

    My honest reaction to this poem is a sense of awe at the art and the translation, rather than the story itself. Since I, regrettably, don't know nearly enough Russian to read the original, I can't speak to the accuracy of Anthony Briggs' efforts, but each stanza reads with an incredible, hypnotising rhythm and verve. It was fascinating to read the introductory notes about the multitude of issues the come with translating this work and I can well believe how many hours it must have taken to complete (a two-three year project according to Briggs, the ennui and selfishness of society, embodied in the eponymous protagonist, had the most impact for me. Despite being written in the first half of the 19th C, Pushkin's commentary about the superficial, detached nature of social interaction, the obsession with beauty over emotion, and the rigid framework of society's expectations have more than a little relevance today. In opposition, Tatyana's innocence, idealism, and integrity make her the strongest moral character in the narrative; she dares to love and yet she holds to what is right when her marriage is later tested by Yevgeny. I couldn't help but be pleased that it remained a tragedy. While reading this has given me an appreciation of why Pushkin is regarded so highly in Russia, and elsewhere, he hasn't quite made it into my list of favourite Russian authors. I have enjoyed Briggs' translation and will likely look for his version of War and Peace to add to my collection.Many thanks to Pushkin Press and Netgalley for this copy in exchange for an honest review.

  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    2018-10-19 13:13

    Eugene Onegin, Alexander Pushkin تاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیست و ششم دسامبر سال 1970 میلادیعنوان: یِوگِنی آنِه گین - اوژن اونه گین؛ نویسنده: الکساندر پوشکین؛ مترجم: منوچهر وثوقی نیا؛ تهران، گوتنبرگ، 1348، چاپ دوم 1357؛ در 434 ص؛ شاهکاری شورانگیز از پوشکین شاعر نابغه نیمه ی نخست قرن نوزدهم سبک رومانتیک روسیه است؛ قلم سحرانگیز پوشکین در خوانشگر هماره اثری شگرف بجای میگذارد. در یوگنی آنگین، از غم معشوق (تاتیانا) و خودبینی شبه عاشقانه پرده برمیدارد و یوگنی آنگین که پس از درگذشت عمویش به مال و منال فراوان رسیده و با سنّتهای اشرافی روس بزرگ شده، برای فرار از روزمرّگی‌های زندگی به روستای دور افتاده‌ ای می‌رود و آنجا به دختر زیبایی به نام «تاتیانا» برخورد می‌کند. تاتیانا خواهرزن دوست شاعرش «ولادیمیر لنسکی» بود... مقدمه پوشکین در این کتاب چنین آغاز میشود: فکر من برای سرگرمی جامعه متکبر اشراف نیست، به خاطر علاقه ای ست که به محبت دوستانه پیدا کرده ام؛ پس کنون میخواهم ارمغان شایسته تری، که شایسته ی روح عالی باشد، روح عالی که مملو از آرزوهای مقدس، فکر بلند و بی آلایش، عوالم زنده و روشن شاعرانه است، تقدیم تو کنمهرچه باداباد - با دست ملتهب و خواستار، این مجموعه ای از فصول رنگارنگ را، بپذیر، مجموعه ای مضحک و تقریبا تاثرآور، عامیانه، ممتاز و ایده آل، ثمرات ناقابل تفنن، بیخوابیها، الهامات سبک ایام نارسی و جوانی، و پیری و پژمردگی من، بررسیها و مشهودات عاری از احساسات عقل، و هیجانات و تاثرات تلخ دل و جانسپس فصل نخست هم در زیستن عجله دارد و هم در احساس، شتاب عموی من قوانین قابل احترامی داشت و ...؛ اگر هنوز نخوانده اید خوانش کتاب را بیش از یکبار توصیه میکنم تا لبخند نیز چون بهار شکوفه بیاراید. ا. شربیانی

  • Jasmine
    2018-11-06 20:07

    "Blest who betimes has left life's revel,Whose wine-filled glass he has not drained,Who does not read right to the endLife's still, as yet, unfinished novel,But lets it go, as I do myOnegin, and bid him goodbye."(p.197)

  • Bram
    2018-10-25 16:10

    This Week in Entertainment Presents…THE KING OF RUSSIAN LITERATURE vs. THE KING OF POP: winner to be crowned this week’s KING OF POP LITERATUREBut first: Warm-up semifinal showdown between Aleksandr Pushkin and Vladimir Nabokov:Round 1:One man wrote a timeless human drama jam-packed with humor, action, love, cruelty, honor, pride and every other conceivably interesting human emotion—and all in just over 100 pages. The other translated said human drama with many incomprehensively bizarre and antiquated words and provided over 1000 pages of additional commentary*, ensuring that no discerning English speaker would ever consider picking up this translation. Point: Pushkin.Round 2:One man developed his own iambic tetrameter and a (supposedly) delectable rhyme scheme of ababeecciddiff, while still managing to spin an exceptionally moving, intelligent, and entertaining tale. In the process of translation, the other occasionally flouted the syllable count and utilized a rhyme scheme of abcdefghibjkcl, leaving the non-Russian reader capable only of imagining what a full experience of Eugene Onegin might feel like. Point: Alex. 2nd round knock down. The referee, recognizing that the carnage will only increase, calls for a mercy rule and declares Pushkin the winner. A bloody Vladimir objects, screaming something about the “mathematical impossibility” of translating the rhyme and pattern accurately, while simultaneously fighting off the restraint attempts of medical personnel and angry mid-century censors. *I read almost none of this, and so cannot comment on its worth. I suspect that reading this interminable commentary does a poor job of simulating the experience of reading this in Russian in the mid 19th century (or today for that matter). On to the Main Event…In the American corner we have Michael Jackson, 138-time Grammy winner and Guinness World Record holder for most self-declared comebacks in a 20-year period. In the Russian corner we have Aleksandr Pushkin, the man who started it all…the Father of Russian literature, lover of beautiful women and annoyer of powerful men. Round 1:One man influenced the next generation of writers, with notables including Gogol, Turgenev, and Tolstoy. Any breakdowns these men experienced ultimately produced great literature. The other man influenced the subsequent generation of entertainers, with notables including Mariah Carey, Usher, R. Kelly, Britney Spears, and Justin Timberlake. Any breakdowns have left us with unending television, internet, and tabloid bombardment. Point: Pushkin. First knockdown came 45 seconds into this round. Rather than bloodying, MJ’s nose-remnant simply inverted into his face. Round 2:One man has a minor planet named after him; one has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.Point: Even. Round 3: One man was black and white by birth; one was black and then white from vitiligo, pancake makeup, and other assorted techniques. Point: Aleksandr. There may have been a low blow in this round, but the ref didn’t see it.Round 4:One man’s wife was an inspiration for Anna Kerinina; the other was briefly married to Elvis’ daughter. Point: Even.Round 5:One man “substantially augmented the Russian lexicon” by adding to and bolstering the legitimacy of Russian vernacular. The other man minimally augmented the English language with “Shamon!”, germane to...well only he really knows. Point: Pushkin. Michael was knocked around pretty good this round. His left cheekbone did, however, deliver a serious laceration to the third joint of Alex’s index finger. Round 6:One man performed a lot of music; the other inspired a lot of music.Point: Even. Comparing Billy Jean to Wagner is apples to oranges, right? Although this round was a split decision, I can only imagine it’s because the judges weren’t familiar with "Liberian Giiirrrllll…just like in the movies, with two lovers in a scene, and she says, "Do you love me", and he says so endlessly… Naku Penda Piya-Naku Taka Piya-Mpenziwe.” That should have clinched it, but everyone’s got something against Michael these days. Round 7:One man was exiled to southern Russia by Tsar’s order; one man was exiled to Neverland by Peter Pan syndrome, failed comebacks, and an increasingly alarmed public. Point: Alex. Second knockdown. Michael looks haggard. Round 8:One man watched his life implode as he fell further into debt and finally challenged his wife’s alleged lover to a duel in which he was mortally wounded. The other watched his life implode as he fell further into debt and failed to control his desire for sleepovers. Point: Puskin. Pushkin is declared the winner by TKO and promptly refuses to be crowned King of Pop Literature, leaving Dan Brown and Stephenie Meyer to duke it out next week. Stay tuned…Oh, and if you’re wondering what Eugene Onegin (the character) is like—think of the biggest d-bag you know and then add a little extra d-baggery. That said, the story is very classic in a Romeo and Juliet sort of way, but funnier and quirkier. Definitely worth checking out, even in an inherently problematic English translation.

  • Manny
    2018-11-03 20:22

    What could I possibly say that would be more interesting or beautiful than Nabokov's own comments? In case you haven't seen them:On Translating Eugene Onegin1What is translation? On a platterA poet's pale and glaring head,A parrot's screech, a monkey's chatter,And profanation of the dead.The parasites you were so hard onAre pardoned if I have your pardon,O, Pushkin, for my stratagem:I traveled down your secret stem,And reached the root, and fed upon it;Then, in a language newly learned,I grew another stalk and turnedYour stanza patterned on a sonnet,Into my honest roadside prose--All thorn, but cousin to your rose.2Reflected words can only shiverLike elongated lights that twistIn the black mirror of a riverBetween the city and the mist.Elusive Pushkin! Persevering,I still pick up Tatiana's earring,Still travel with your sullen rake.I find another man's mistake,I analyze alliterationsThat grace your feasts and haunt the greatFourth stanza of your Canto Eight.This is my task--a poet's patienceAnd scholastic passion blent:Dove-droppings on your monument.

  • Teresa Proença
    2018-10-17 20:18

    Alexander S. Pushkin nasceu em Moscovo, em 1799 e foi o primeiro escritor russo a alcançar fama mundial. A sua obra abriu caminho a outros autores como Gógol, Tolstói, Dostoiévski, Tchékhov. Esteve envolvido em lutas políticas, tornando-se um símbolo para a juventude da sua época. Com as suas ideias progressistas, criou grandes inimigos e devido a intrigas, respeitantes à sua mulher, acaba tendo o mesmo destino de uma das personagens de Eugenio Oneguin: é morto em duelo aos 37 anos.Eugenio Oneguin é um romance de amor escrito em verso. É composto por 389 estrofes, cada uma com 14 versos de 118 sílabas. Uma Perfeição! Como não existe tradução em português, li-o em castelhano, numa edição bilingue. Tal era o fascínio e admiração que sentia ao lê-lo, que dei por mim, muitas vezes, a olhar para a página da esquerda, na tentativa de perceber o russo.É considerada a obra de mais difícil tradução: "É possível transmitir com palavras a música de Mozart ou de Tchaikovsky? É possível capturar com as mãos um raio de sol?"As personagens principais e enredo são simples.Eugenio Oneguin, um jovem culto e rico, desencantado com a vida; tudo o aborrece e só deseja o que não tem.Tatiana - "¡Dulce Tatiana!" - é uma jovem simples e solitária que se apaixona por Eugenio e é por ele rejeitada.Vladímir Lensky, o poeta e amigo de Eugenio, que por amor se perde.Olga, a irmã de Tatiana, alegre e inocente, e inconscientemente culpada da perdição de Lensky.O narrador. Pushkin?Com este enredo e estas personagens parece mesmo um xarope, não é verdade? Não é verdade! É um poema sublime, mas de fácil entendimento.É um retrato da vida russa da época, mas muito actual, pelo desencanto e falta de objectivos que podemos encontrar no homem de hoje; pela tomada de consciência, na maturidade, da não realização dos sonhos da juventude. Afinal a natureza humana é universal e - seja qual a época ou lugar do mundo em que vivamos - somos todos feitos de sonhos, ilusões, ambições, que se concretizam em amor, luta, perda, dor,...A literatura e a paixão pelos livros está sempre presente: As referências a outros autores são permanentes e a personalidade das personagens foi moldada pelas suas leituras. Há uma parte que considerei espantosa: Tatiana descobre o verdadeiro carácter de Eugenio pelas marcas que ele fez nas margens dos livros que leu. Serão os livros assim tão denunciadores do nosso verdadeiro Eu?Chegada aqui e sem quase nada ter dito desta obra - sem adjectivo que a qualifique condignamente - só me resta dizer que esta leitura foi das mais ricas que já fiz e que, embora muito me fizesse chorar, sinto-me feliz por poder guardar mais uma preciosidade na minha mente e no meu coração.Eugenio Oneguin foi inspiração para outras obras, sendo a mais famosa a ópera de Tchaikovsky (...para não morrer antes de ver...)."Se obedece al amoren todas las edades; paralos corazones juveniles sus ímpetus son favorablescual aguaceros que inundanen primavera los sembrados: bajo la lluvia de pasionesellos maduran, y la vida produce flores abundantesy dulces frutos. Pero es tristeel retomar de las pasionesen el ocaso de la vida.Así las lluvias otoñalestransforman prados en pantanosy hacen deshojar los bosques."

  • Perry
    2018-11-04 17:13

    I Will Survive [condensed 6/27/16] Maybe the first notable Western novel hitting a favored theme in the arts: the ugly duckling's transformation into a swan and turning the table back against her rejector with a big ... This brings to mind a song like I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor): weren't you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbye?Did you think I'd crumbleDid you think I'd lay down and dieOh no, not II will survive... Pushkin's one-of-a-kind novel-in-verse set in Russia in the early 1800s is told in 389 stanzas of iambic tetrameter. In it, Tatiana falls deeply for Eugene Onegin while he visits her home with a friend who's engaged to Tatiana's beautiful younger sister Olga. Tatiana, at the time rather plain, confesses her love for Eugene in a letter. He politely rejects her, in favor of pursuing shallow, vain Olga, putting him at odds with his friend (and into a duel).Years later, Onegin sees the now extraordinarily beautiful Tatiana at a society ball in St. Petersburg and becomes obsessed with winning her affections, despite the fact she's now married. Saying anything more would be a spoiler.Pushkin's Onegin is apparently the first among a long line of fictional Russian "superfluous men," a character type Pushkin borrowed from Lord Byron and his "Byronic hero," a miserable, cynical, passive man, usually borne from privilege, full of himself yet deeply sensitive. Tolstoy compared Pushkin's storytelling to Homer's. By comparison, Dostoevsky condemned Eugene Onegin as a "Western intrusion and [the] glorification of Tatiana as the exemplar of Russian womanhood." Professor Stanley Mitchell notes Russian "[r]adicals and conservatives fought over Pushkin's characters as if they were real people."Recommended for change of pace, especially if you enjoy epic poems.

  • Edward
    2018-11-04 13:26

    AcknowledgementsChronologyIntroduction & NotesFurther ReadingA Note on the Translation & NotesA Note on the MapMap--Eugene OneginNotes

  • Joseph
    2018-10-19 13:13

    Yevgeny Onegin by Alexander Pushkin is a Russian masterpiece of literature. Pushkin was a Russian poet, playwright, and novelist of the Romantic era who is considered by many to be the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. Pushkin was born into Russian nobility in Moscow.I picked up this book because it was listed as poetry. I later asked a Russian friend about the book and she said it was magnificent, but never read it in English. It dawned on me that this is much more than just a simple translation from Russian. It is essentially a novel-length poem that must be translated. I understand the difficulty of translation but adding in meter and rhyme patterns, especially without sounding repetitive, is extremely difficult in translations. It's nearly impossible to keep the author's original meaning in the pattern he created. Perhaps almost as brilliant as the novel itself is the explanation of the translations. The historical descriptions and efforts to treat line and rhyme translations are fascinating. One of the major problems in translating Russian poetry involves feminine rhymes. Feminine rhymes are rhyming words where the last syllable is unstressed. The Russian language is full of natural feminine rhymes, but English is not. Rhyme, chime, dime, time are all masculine rhymes. The last syllable is stressed and that creates the rhyme. This works well in English where the poems are written in iambic meter, meaning the last syllable is stressed. Feminine rhymes are words the rhyme on the last unstressed syllable, like pleasure and leisure or painted and acquainted. The last syllable is not stressed. To create this rhyme suffixes are added to words. This can create boring and repetitive rhymes in English and destroy the more commonly expected iambic meter. Feminine rhymes are important in Russian poetry and even play a role in the title. In English, the book is often translated to Eugene Onegin. But in Russian, the title Yevgeny Onegin is a small feminine poem:Yev-ge-ny / An-ye-ginEach word one iambic foot ending in an unstressed syllable and creating the feminine rhyme.Pushkin also writes in the fourteen line sonnet form with a fixed rhyme scheme, adding his own minor changes to the original format. First, the initial line is shortened by a foot. Secondly, he freely switches between English and Italian sonnet formats at will. He sticks to his rules but not necessarily everyone else's rules. This is a book where the introduction is important and informative. Many times people will pick up a book and skip over the lengthy introduction and jump into the story. Sometimes the reader catches on and other times the reader get frustrated and puts the book done. Granted, at times, introductions are boring, but here the introduction provides detailed information about the story, it’s structure, it’s translation and translation history. It acts as an appetizer for the novel. The reader will enter the novel fully informed and eager to enjoy.

  • peiman-mir5 rezakhani
    2018-10-25 14:03

    ‎دوستانِ گرانقدر، میتوان گفت که این کتاب ارزشمندترین اثرِ زنده یاد «پوشکین» است که حتی برخی از اصطلاحات و ابیاتِ آن به صورت ضرب المثل نیز درآمده است و «پوشکین» چیزی حدود هفت سال، تنها چکنویس های این منظومه را میخوانده و روی آن کار کرده است، که در نهایت کتاب از 434 صفحه و 8 فصل تشکیل شده است‎این منظومه، اثری کاملاً متغیر است که از اندوه به سویِ خوشحالی و از بدبینی به سمتِ هیجان و احساسات میرود‎خودم یکی از علاقمندان به سبکِ نوشتار و بیان داستان و رمان به صورتِ شعرگونه از «پوشکین» هستم‎شخصیت اصلی و به اصطلاح قهرمانِ «پوشکین» در این کتاب، مردی به نامِ «آنه گین» است که «پوشکین» علاقهٔ زیادی به شخصیتِ او دارد‎جوانی پر شور و دلفریب و خوش پوش و البته اهل فلسفه که با وجود ثروتمند بودن و اشرافی بودنِ خانواده اش، او به هیچ عنوان غرور و خشک بودنِ یک ارباب و اشرافی را ندارد و درکل نزدِ همه محبوب است‎بیشتر ابیات و قطعاتِ زیبایِ این کتاب، مربوط به عشق میانِ «تاتیانا» که دختری با وقار و البته در میانه های داستان، زنی شوهردار است و همچنین شخصیت اصلیِ کتاب، «آنه گین» میباشد‎به انتخاب بخش هایی از کتاب را برایِ شما عزیزان، در زیر مینویسم-------------------------------------------------‎لباس و آرایشِ سنجیدهٔ زن ها را دوست دارم‎شیفتهٔ پاهایِ آنها هستم‎آخ، پاها.. پاها! اکنون کجائید؟‎کجا گلهایِ بهاری را لگد میکنید؟‎همانطور که اثرِ پاهایِ سبکِ شما رویِ چمن ها محو شدند‎بهروزیِ دورانِ جوانیِ من هم محو و ناپدید گشت-------------------------------------------------‎نیکبخت کسی که ‎مجلس جشنِ زندگی را پیش از پایانش ترک کرد‎و کسیکه جام لبریز از شراب را تا به پایان سَر نکشید‎و رستگار باد کسیکه تا پایانِ رمانِ زندگی را نخواند-------------------------------------------------‎فکر میکردم: آزادی و آرامش، جانشینِ سعادت است‎خدایا‎چه اشتباهی کردم و چه مجازات شدم-------------------------------------------------‎روزهایِ عید فرا رسیدند، این است سرور و شادمانی‎جوانانِ بیخیال، فال میگیرند‎جوانانی که تأسف هیچ چیز را نمیخورند‎و پهنهٔ زندگی برایشان روشن و لایتناهیست‎پیرها گویی که لبِ گور هستند‎گواینکه بطور جبران ناپذیری همه چیز از کف داده اند‎از پشتِ عینک فال میبینند‎چه فرق میکند؟ امید دروغ هایش را در گوشِ آنها نیز بچگانه نجوا میکند-------------------------------------------------‎که را دوست داشته باشیم؟ به که اعتماد کنیم؟‎آن کسی که به ما خیانت نمیکند، کیست؟‎کیست که همهٔ کارها و تمام حرف هایش را بسنجد‎و بقصد خوش خدمتی به معیار ما برداشت کند؟‎کیست که بهتان و افترا برایِ ما اشاعه ندهد؟‎چه کسی با غمخوارگی، ما را میپروراند؟‎چه کسی عیبِ ما برایش گناه نیست؟‎کیست که هیچگاه حوصلمان را سر نبرد؟‎ای جویندهٔ بی نتیجهٔ این شبح‎بی جهت زحمت نکشید‎خود را دوست بدارید، اِی خوانندهٔ گرامیِ من‎این دوست داشتن، خودش قابلِ توجه است‎یقیناً هیچ چیز مهربانتر از <خودِ خود>، نیست--------------------------------------------------‎امیدوارم از خواندنِ این اثر دلچسب و هنرمندانه، لذت ببرید‎«پیروز باشید و ایرانی»

  • Yani
    2018-11-09 14:27

    Relectura marzo 2016 (*) En los pedestales literarios siempre hay algún libro que hace todo lo posible para que la gente dude del motivo de su permanencia en ese lugar. Según mi parecer, este no es uno de ellos. Mientras se lee se percibe su vigencia, se respira la atmósfera de los personajes, se viven sus tensiones. Y sí, también sus desfallecimientos. Esta historia abarca todo en pocas páginas: el hastío, el amor, el rechazo, las convenciones sociales, las apariencias y las verdaderas esencias. Suena a mucho, pero está tratado de una forma que ni decepciona ni crea la sensación de estar hablando de todo y de nada al mismo tiempo.La trama es (más o menos) sencilla. El personaje del título es un joven que no se dedica a nada, salvo a asistir al teatro, fiestas y demás diversiones. No quiere compromisos, pero le encanta conquistar por deporte. Su vida es rutinaria y él, casi por consecuencia, padece de melancolía. Un día, le avisan que un tío que tiene una finca en el campo está muy enfermo y que desea verlo. Eugenio acude al llamado (no sin quejarse), el tío muere y entonces él se da cuenta de que el cambio de aires no le vendría nada mal. Allí conocerá a Lenski y se hará amigo de él. Y por medio de este muchacho conocerá a Tatiana, que tiene un papel fundamental en esta historia. En primer lugar, es destacable la voz del narrador. Inscripto en el romanticismo, Pushkin se tomaba muy en serio lo que hacía y buscaba que el texto tuviera una personalidad, un Yo marcado, así que no es extraño que sea un protagonista más de la historia. Es diez veces más molesta que la de Mark Twain en Las aventuras de Tom Sawyer, pero tiene unas intervenciones tan útiles, certeras y bellas (salvo cuando habla de los “piececitos” de las damas y de cómo los hacen sufrir y blah blah blah) que uno se olvida por completo de eso, salvo que padezca de intolerancia a los escritores “pretenciosos”. A veces hasta se da el lujo de opacar lo que está ocurriendo con sus criaturas, ya que retrasa la acción al divagar por temas profundos o superficiales. Los asuntos más interesantes, según mis gustos, son los de la oposición ciudad- campo y las continuas menciones a poetas y obras de teatro de la época (hayan muerto o no).En segundo lugar, pero no menos importante, está la intensidad de los personajes. Hay un balance muy delicado entre los pares Oneguin- Lenski y Tatiana- Olga. Tan delicado es que los que deberían cruzarse por similitudes en el carácter no lo hacen. Todos cometen sus errores y ninguno intenta repararlos, algo que parece extraño y un poco adrede para que la historia continúe. La incapacidad de razonar y la exaltación de los ánimos desatan las consecuencias, así que bienvenido sea. Me hicieron acordar a los personajes de las tragedias griegas o shakesperianas, en donde sufren una especie de ofuscación que no les permite cambiar el rumbo de los acontecimientos y se precipitan a lo peor, por no pensar antes o por no poder ganarle al destino. Oneguin no se hace querer, pero tampoco se hace odiar y eso es un punto a favor. Reitero la preponderancia de Tatiana en el libro, por su temeridad al hacer algo que en su tiempo era inesperado. Y aunque el resultado no sea el más feliz, es un punto de quiebre y lleva la narración a otro nivel. El final me sorprendió gratamente y creo que está muy bien ubicado en mi ranking personal de “conclusiones que me dejaron en shock”. Si Pushkin buscaba un golpe de efecto, lo logró. Hay miles y miles de cuestiones para hablar sobreEugenio Oneguinpero creo que recomendarlo con toda la fuerza recomendadora (?) del mundo es suficiente. Se puede decir mucho de Pushkin y mucho de Oneguin (¿serán la misma persona?). Curiosamente, hay una escena que después se replica en la vida real del autor, hecho que da un poco de escalofríos. En fin, es un libro memorable y vale la pena leerlo, sobre todo porque me dejó más claras las razones por las cuales el autor era tan genial. Quiero releerlo en algún momento. Había leído varios poemas, pero ninguno me pareció tan contundente como este. (*) La relectura me produjo más admiración y era esperable. Después de leer La hija del capitán una entiende que Pushkin era excelente forjando personajes complejos que eluden el acartonamiento que podría producir la exaltación del patriotismo o del hastío, por ejemplo. Si bien esta novela en verso fue compuesta por partes, las costuras, por suerte, no se notan (salvo en las estrofas que se eliminaron y dejaron su huella) y la historia siempre sigue su curso. No quería dejar de notar que hay un humor muy ácido en las observaciones sobre la vida en sociedad (a la que Pushkin entró no sin cierta reticencia), tal vez resentido, y hasta salpican las palabras de Lenski, el poeta. Maravilloso.

  • Zuberino
    2018-10-17 17:16

    কয়েকদিন আগে গার্সিয়া মার্কেসের একটি বহু পুরনো প্রবন্ধে রবীন্দ্রনাথ সম্পর্কে সিরিয়াসলি আপত্তিকর একটি মন্তব্য পেলাম। তার নিজের নোবেল বিজয়ের ঠিক ১২ মাস আগে লেখা এই দীর্ঘ প্রবন্ধে তিনি পুরস্কারের হিট-এন্ড-মিস ইতিহাস নিয়ে লিখেছিলেন। সেই প্রসঙ্গেই রবীন্দ্রনাথের অবতারনা। "El indio Rabindranat Tagore, a quien debemos tantas lágrimas de caramelo, fue arrastrado por los vientos de la justicia del carajo." মোটামুটি চলনসই ইংরেজি অনুবাদ করলে এর অর্থ দাঁড়ায় "The Indian Rabindranath Tagore, to whom we owe so many saccharine tears, was swept away by the winds of **** justice." আমার সীমিত জ্ঞানে যতটুকু ধরে, কারাহো শব্দ একটি অশ্রাব্য গালি বলেই জানি - তবে নিঁখুত ভাষান্তর কি হবে জানা নেই বলে আপাতত তারকা দিয়ে সারলাম। পুশকিন পড়তে গিয়ে কবিগুরু সম্পর্কে গার্সিয়া মার্কেসের উপরের কথাটি মনে এলো। বাঙালি রবীন্দ্রনাথ বলতে যা বোঝে - আক্ষরিক অর্থেই আমাদের সংস্কৃতি ও মননের একদম কেন্দ্রবিন্দু - বহির্বিশ্বের কাছে রবীন্দ্রনাথের সেই আসন নেই, থাকার কথাও না। কিন্তু তারপরেও রবীন্দ্রনাথের অনুবাদ-ভাগ্য একটু বেশি খারাপ বলেই আমার কাছে মনে হয়। স্প্যানিশ ভাষায় রবি-চর্চার হাল-হকিকত জানা নেই - অর্থাৎ কিসের ভিত্তিতে গাবোর এই উষ্মা - তবে ইংরেজিতে রবীন্দ্রনাথের কবিতা বা গান যতবারই চোখে পড়েছে (এমনকি তার নিজের অনুবাদেও), ততবারই মনে হয়েছে এত ফিকে, এত দুর্বল, মূলের কাব্যময়তা আর বোধের ব্যাপ্তি থেকে এত যোজন দূরে? দুটো কি করে একই টেক্সটের ভিন্ন ভাষারূপ হতে পারে? এখন মনে হয় যে রবীন্দ্র-লিরিকের অন্তর্গত উষ্ণতা (আমি যেটাকে ভাবি emotional temperature হিসেবে) সেটা ইংরেজিতে সঠিক প্রতিফলন করতে পারার মত দক্ষ অনুবাদক হয়তো এখনো জোটেনি। অথবা জুটলেও আমার চোখে পড়েনি। অথবা দুই ভাষার নিজস্ব গুণাবলীর কারণেই সেই উত্তাপ আদৌ কখনো ইংরেজি অক্ষরে অনুভূত হবে না। জানি না আসলে, কারণটা কি। আমি নিশ্চিত যে রুশ ভাষাভাষীরাও জেমস ফালেনের এই অনুবাদ পড়ে হাসবেন, আমাদের মত অ-রুশ পাঠকদের নেহায়েত করুণা করবেন। যেমন আমরা করি কবিগুরুর অবাঙালি পাঠকদের। রবার্ট ফ্রস্ট কবিতানুবাদ সম্পর্কে যথার্থই বলেছিলেন - Poetry is what gets lost in translation. ইয়েভ্গেনি আনিয়েগিন - ইংরেজিতে ইউজিন অনেগিন - নিযে বিতর্ক আরো কয়েক কাঠি বাড়া। বাঙালির কাছে রবীন্দ্রনাথ যা বোঝায়, ইংরেজের কাছে শেক্সপীয়র, বা জার্মানের কাছে গ্যেটে, রুশ জাতির কাছে আলেক্সান্দার পুশকিনের সেই একই মর্যাদা। অর্থাৎ সংস্কৃতির আকাশের উজ্জ্বলতম নক্ষত্র, যার আলোয় আগের-পরের সকলেই ম্রিয়মান। তারই মহোত্তম সৃষ্টি এই ইউজিন অনেগিন - প্রায় ৪০০ সনেট সম্বলিত একটি দীর্ঘ কাব্য-উপন্যাস। প্রতিটি সনেট একটি নির্ধারিত ছন্দের ছক মেনে চলে - ABABCCDD EFFEGG। বোদ্ধারা এর আলাদা নামই দিয়ে দিয়েছেন - Onegin stanza। ১৮২০-এর দশকের রাশিয়ার প্যানোরামিক পোর্ট্রেট এঁকেছেন পুশকিন, যার কেন্দ্রে রয়েছে দুটি চরিত্র - শিরোনামের অনেগিন, এবং তার বিপরীতে তাতিয়ানা লারিনা। অনেগিন আপাদমস্তক শহুরে প্লেবয়, মস্কো-সেন্ট পিটার্সবার্গ কাঁপিয়ে দেয়া ক্ষ্যাপাটে যুবক, অতীতে বহু নারী যার বাহুতে ধরাশায়ী। তবে বর্তমানে জীবনের উপর পুরোপুরিই বীতশ্রদ্ধ, চাচার রেখে যাওয়া গ্রামের জমিদারিতে দিন গুজরান করছে উদাসীন আয়েশে। তারই প্রেমে পড়ে যায় নেহায়েত অনিচ্ছায়, লজ্জা আর শংকায় আড়ষ্ট সম্ভ্রান্ত ঘরের সাদাসিধে মেয়ে তাতিয়ানা। জুলিয়েট বা ওফেলিয়া বা বনলতা সেন যেমন এক নামে একেকটি সভ্যতার কাছে পরিচিত, তাতিয়ানা লারিনাও রুশ সংস্কৃতির আদর্শ নারী, তাদের সাহিত্যের প্রিয়তম চরিত্র। তবে অনেগিন-তাতিয়ানার ব্যর্থ আশেকী এই উপন্যাসের একটি অংশ কেবল, আরো হাজারো বিষয়ের অবতারণা আছে এখানে। বিখ্যাত সমালোচক ভাসিলি বেলিনস্কি বলেছিলেন অনেগিন "রুশী জীবনের বিশ্বকোষ।" সমকালীন সমাজের বহুমুখী প্রাণবন্ত উপস্থাপনা আছে, আছে বিলাসী জমিদার শ্রেনীকে নিয়ে তীব্র স্যাটায়ার (A family with a single creed / All sons of boredom's endless greed)। বিভিন্ন মৌসুমে রুশ প্রকৃতির উল্লসিত বন্দনা, জীবন মৃত্যু ভালোবাসা নিয়ে কবির নিগূঢ়তম ভাবনা - সর্বোপরি হারানো যৌবনের জন্যে হতোদ্যম আক্ষেপ আর জরা-সন্ধ্যার জন্যে অনিবার্য অপেক্ষা লুকিয়ে আছে পুশকিনের পংক্তির শিরায় শিরায় - And is there no return of youth? Shall I be thirty soon, in truth? ক্ষণে চপল ক্ষণে গুরুগম্ভীর তার কন্ঠস্বর - যেন আলো-আঁধারির নিরন্তর পালাবদল। *অনেগিন অনুবাদের সাতকাহন Untranslatable বলে অনেগিনের দুর্নাম আছে গত দুই শতাব্দী ধরে, এবং বিংশ শতকের অন্যতম বিখ্যাত সাহিত্য-কাইজ্জার প্রত্যক্ষ কারণও এই বই। ললিতার স্রষ্টা রুশ অভিবাসী লেখক নবোকভ সোজা বলে দিয়েছিলেন যে ছন্দের কাঠামো কঠোর অনুসরণ করে অনেগিন অনুবাদ করা অসম্ভব, তাই সেই চেষ্টা করতে যাওয়াও নিরর্থক। নবোকভ নিজে প্রচন্ড যত্ন সহকারে বইটি অনুবাদ করেছিলেন - তবে শিথিল পদ্য অথবা free verse ফর্মে। তার এই প্রচেষ্টাকে ধুয়ে দিয়েছিলেন লেখকের নিকট বন্ধু এবং আরেক বিখ্যাত লেখক-সমালোচক এডমান্ড উইলসন (The Strange Case of Pushkin and Nabokov)। ব্যাস, শুরু হয়ে যায় পত্রিকার পাতায় উত্তর-প্রত্যুত্তর - ফলাফল নবোকভ-উইলসন বন্ধুত্বের অকাল প্রয়ান। এই কি না সেই বই! তবুও নবোকভের শাসানির ভয়ে অনুবাদকরা বসে থাকেননি - যুগের পর যুগে তারা চেষ্টা চালিয়ে গেছেন, এখনো যাচ্ছেন। অনেগিনের ইংরেজি অনুবাদ হয়েছে গোটা দশেক, জার্মানে এক ডজন, ফরাসিতেও বেশ কয়েকবার। অনুবাদ নিয়ে আমি একটু খুঁতখুতে, তাই যাচাই-বাছাই না করে সহসা বই ধরি না, আর তাও যদি হয় রুশ সাহিত্যের খোদ ভিত্তিপ্রস্তর, তাহলে তো আরো না! তবে বিগত কয়েক বছরের পাঠের অভিজ্ঞতার আলোকে বলতে পারি যে অক্সফোর্ড ওয়ার্ল্ডস ক্লাসিক্সের সংস্করণগুলো প্রায় সময়ই বেশ উঁচু মানের হয়ে থাকে, এমনকি হয়তো পেংগুইন ক্লাসিকসের চেয়েও বেশি। তাই জেমস ফালেন-এর অনুবাদে এই অক্সফোর্ড সংস্করণটি যখন পুরনো বইয়ের দোকানে দেখতে পেলাম, খুব বেশি ডান-বাম চিন্তা না করেই কিনে ফেলি। সৌভাগ্য আর কাকে বলে। শুরু করার আগে দিয়ে জাস্ট একটু হালকা ব্রাউজ করে নিয়েছিলাম ব্যাকগ্রাউন্ড সম্পর্কে - এবং পেয়ে যাই ডগলাস হফষ্ট্যাটারের এই চমতকার প্রবন্ধটি। সেই ১৯৯৬ সালে হফষ্ট্যাটার একটি তুলনামূলক বিশ্লেষণ করেছিলেন - অনেগিনের সেরা ইংরেজি অনুবাদ কোনটি? জেমস ফালেন নাকি ওয়াল্টার আর্ন্ট? জন্সটন নাকি এল্টন/ব্রিগস? তার আলোচনা থেকে বুঝতে পারলাম যে ফালেন-ই হয়তো অনেগিনের সবচেয়ে স্বার্থক অনুবাদক। অনুবাদ নিয়ে বেশি ত্যানা-প্যাঁচানি হয়ে যাচ্ছে হয়তো, তবুও বলবো এই ক্ষেত্রে দরকার আছে। ফর্মের দিক থেকে অনেগিন বিশ্বসাহিত্যে প্রায়-অনন্য একটি গ্রন্থ। আর স্ট্যাঞ্জার কাঠামোর প্রতি প্রশ্নহীন আনুগত্য স্বীকার করে পুশকিনের দ্রুতলয়ের ছন্দ, সর্বোপরি তার রংধনু কন্ঠস্বরের বিশ্বস্ত প্রতিফলন ঘটানো - এগুলো মোটেও সহজ কাজ নয়। প্রচন্ড পরিশ্রমী এবং মেধাবী অনুবাদকের পক্ষেই এই মাল সাইজ করা সম্ভব! যদি বলি যে পুশকিনের নিজেরই এই বই লিখতে আট বছর খরচা হয়ে গিয়েছিল - তাহলে এই গুরুদায়িত্বের একটি আন্দাজ পাবেন। আট বছরের অর্থ হলো কবি প্রতি মাসে গড়ে দুই পাতার বেশি লিখতে পারেননি। অথচ এত সাবলীল-স্বচ্ছন্দ-মসৃণ এই কবিতা যে ২০০ বছর পরেও জড়তার কোন লেশমাত্র নেই - কোথাও কোথাও ছন্দের তাল এত দ্রুত, যে জোরে আবৃত্তি করলে দম নেয়ার ফুরসতও মিলবে না। আর পুরনো কবিদের বেলায় প্রায়ই যেটা ঘটে পুশকিনকে কখনোই কাঠখোট্টা বলে মনে হয় না - বরং মনে হয় এই তো আড্ডাচ্ছলেই বলে যাচ্ছেন ইউজিন আর তাতিয়ানার গল্প। ২০০ বছরের তফাতেও একদম টাটকা ফ্রেশ contemporary কবিকন্ঠ। ভিন্ন একটি ভাষায় এত কিছু বাগে আনা যে কত দুরূহ, তার কিছুটা আন্দাজ দেয়ার চেষ্টা করলাম। আর অনুবাদকদের কাছে অনেগিন কেন এত লোভনীয় পুরস্কার সেটাও সহজেই বোধগম্য। হফষ্ট্যাটারের কথাই ধরি। বিজ্ঞানের পাঠকদের কাছে তিনি সুপরিচিত তার বিখ্যাত বই Godel, Escher, Bach এর কারনে। ব্যক্তিজীবনে তিনি ইন্ডিয়ানা বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের প্রফেসর। অথচ অনেগিনের অমোঘ ডাক উপেক্ষা করতে পারেননি তিনি - এমন ভূত চাপলো যে কেবল এই বই অনুবাদ করার উদ্দেশ্যেই তিনি রাশিয়ান ভাষা শিখে ফেলেছিলেন! তার সেই অনুবাদটি বেরিয়েছিল ১৯৯৯ সালে। আর ইংরেজিতে নিত্যনতুন অনুবাদের ফ্লো তো এখনো থামেইনি - যেমন গত মাসেই বেরুলো ব্রিগসের আরেকটি অনুবাদ।*তাই পুশকিনের পাশাপাশি অনেগিনের অনুবাদকরাও অকুন্ঠ প্রশংসার দাবীদার। পাঠক হিসেবে এতটুকু কৃতজ্ঞতা যদি স্বীকার না করি, তাহলে ভীষণ অন্যায় হয়ে যাবে। জেমস ফালেন-এর কিছু উদ্ধৃতি দিয়েই রিভিউ গুটিয়ে আনি। প্রথমেই ভূমিকা থেকে কিছু মন্তব্য - "In working, over quite a few years, on several visions and revisions of this translation, I have found myself searching for an ever more natural and unforced flow of language, for a more fluid and straightforward syntax, a lighter and more readily comprehensible style; I have tried to avoid as much as possible the sorts of inversions and verbal contortions that have marred in my view the earlier translations - all in an effort to capture what seemed to me the poem's spontaneous and unlaboured effect in Pushkin's Russian... Ultimately, I have attempted to provide the English-speaking reader of today with a more accessible version of one of the great works of the Russian literary imagination, one that would speak in a familiar, not-too-distant English voice and that would convey not only something of the novel's sense and shape, but some hints of its characteristic flavour as well : its verve and sparkle, its lyricism and wit, its succinctness and variety..."অত:পর আমার নিজের পছন্দের কিছু পংক্তি... রাতভর পার্টি শেষে রাজধানী শহরে ভোরের কলরব... শুনুন...But what of my Eugene? Half drowsing,He drives to bed from last night's ball,While Petersburg, already rousing,Answers the drumbeat's duty call.The merchant's up, the pedlar scurries,With jug in hand the milkmaid hurries,Crackling the freshly fallen snow;The cabby plods to hackney row.In pleasant hubbub, morn's awaking!The shutters open, smoke ascendsIn pale blue shafts from chimney ends.The German baker's up and baking,And more than once, in cotton cap,Has opened up his window-trap....যেন একটা সিনেমা দেখছি। সন্ধ্যা নামছে গ্রামে - স্বচ্ছল গেরস্থের বৈঠকখানায় চা-নাস্তার আয়োজন হচ্ছে - কিন্তু তাতিয়ানার বিষন্ন মন পড়ে আছে অন্য কোথাও... 'Twas dusk; and on the table, gleaming,The evening samovar grew hot;It hissed and sent its vapour steamingIn swirls about the china pot.And soon the fragrant tea was flowingAs Olga poured it, dark and glowing,In all the cups; without a soundA serving boy took cream around.Tatyana by the window lingersAnd breathes upon the chilly glass;All lost in thought, the gentle lassBegins to trace with lovely fingersAcross the misted panes a rowOf hallowed letters: E and O.চার শত সনেট থেকে যদি একটি মাত্র আমাকে বেছে নিতে বলা হয়, তাহলে বোধ হয় এটিই বেছে নেব। স্ফটিকের মত স্বচ্ছ পংক্তিগুলো, কিন্তু কি কাব্যময়তা, কি অসীম মায়া। শব্দের কি মিরাকিউলাস মিতব্যয়! এক কথায় dazzling! লম্বা লম্বা স্বরবর্ণগুলো কেমন যেন একটা স্বপ্নিল নস্টালজিক আবহ সৃষ্টি করে - gleaming, steaming, swirls, flowing, dark, glowing, lingers, breathes, trace, fingers, hallowed...অতপর আরেকটু হালকা মেজাজে ততকালীন রাশিয়ার সড়ক যোগাযোগ ব্যবস্থা নিয়ে পরপর দুটি স্ট্যানঞ্জা!When we have broadened education,The time will come without a doubt(By scientific computation,Within five hundred years about),When our old roads' decayed conditionWill change beyond all recognition.Paved highways, linking every side,Will cross our Russia far and wide;Above our waters iron bridgesWill stride in broadly arching sweep;We'll dig bold tunnels 'neath the deepAnd even part whole mountain ridges;And Christendom will instituteAn inn at every stage en route.But roads are bad now in our nation;Neglected bridges rot and fall;Bedbugs and fleas at every stationWon't let the traveller sleep at all.No inns exist. At posting stagesThey hang pretentious menu pages,But just for show, as if to spiteThe traveller's futile appetite;While some rude Cyclops at his fireTreats Europe's dainty artefactsWith mighty Russian hammer whacks,And thanks the Lord for ruts and mireAnd all the ditches that aboundThroughout our native Russian ground. ফালেনের দুর্ধর্ষ স্কিলের আরেক পরিচায়ক নীচের কটি ছত্র - বহুদিন প্রবাসী অনেগিন অবশেষে দেশে ফিরে আসে, এক পার্টিতে গিয়ে দূর থেকে দেখে এক আকর্ষণীয়া রমণীকে। কিন্তু কে ইনি?? ইনিই কি সেই সুদূর অতীতের সাদামাটা তাতিয়ানা?! এও কি সম্ভব?!! কিভাবে???"But tell me, Prince, you wouldn't knowWho's standing there in conversationBeside the Spanish envoy, pray .. .That lady in the red beret?""You have been out of circulation.But I'll present you now with joy.""Who is she, though?" "My wife, old boy.""You're married! Really?" "On my honour.""To whom? How long?" "Some two years since . . .The Larin girl." "You mean Tatyana!""She knows you?" "We were neighbours, Prince.""Well then, come on . . . we'll go and meet her."And so the prince led up to greet herHis kinsman and his friend Eugene...জাস্ট মুখের বচনের এমন অনবদ্য, ন্যাচারাল, প্রাণবন্ত পরিবেশনা কি কখনো পড়েছেন? তাও ছন্দ কবিতায়?? তাও আবার অনুবাদে?? আমি পড়িনি। হলফ করে বলতে পারি এই ছত্রগুলো পড়ে বিস্ময়ে চোখ গোল-গোল হয়ে গিয়েছিল আমার। মনে মনে ভাবি... বাংলায় এমন অসাধারণ অনেগিন কি পাবো কোনদিন? সোভিয়েত বুকস ইন বেঙ্গলি ওয়েবসাইটে চেক করেছিলাম - পুশকিন আছে বেশ কিছু, কিন্তু কোন অনেগিন দেখলাম না। প্রগতি-রাদুগার দিন গত হয়েছে ২৫ বছর আগে - হয়তো তারই সাথে হারিয়ে গেছে বাংলায় অনেগিনের যথার্থ অনুবাদের শেষ সম্ভাবনাও। হায়াত মামুদ, ননী ভৌমিক, অরুণ সোম-রা পারলেও হয়তো পারতেন - তারা যখন নেই, বাংলায় অনেগিনের আশা করার দুরাশা আর করবো না। আমাদেরই লস সেটা, বাঙালি পাঠকের লস।ফালেন তো ফালা ফালা করলাম। ভবিষ্যতে হাতে পেলে জনস্টন বা আর্ন্ট পড়ারও আশা রাখি। আধুনিক কালে ইংরেজি ভাষার সবচেয়ে সফল কাব্য-উপন্যাসটি লিখেছিলেন "এ স্যুটেবল বয়" খ্যাত বাঙালি লেখক বিক্রম শেঠ। আশির দশকের সান ফ্রান্সিস্কো শহরের পটভূমিতে লেখা এই উপন্যাসের শিরোনাম "দ্য গোল্ডেন গেট"। মজার ব্যাপার যে বিক্রম শেঠ তার ৩০০ পাতার উপন্যাসটি লিখেছেন আগাগোড়া অনেগিন স্ট্যাঞ্জায় - জানা যায় চার্লস জনস্টনের অনেগিন অনুবাদে বিমুগ্ধ হয়েই শেঠ নিজে একটি কাব্য-উপন্যাস লিখে ফেলার দুঃসাহস করেছিলেন। ক্লাসিকাল মিউজিকেও আছেন অনেগিন - চাইকোভস্কি রচিত অপেরাটি বোধ করি বর্তমানে পুশকিনের উপন্যাসের সমানই জনপ্রিয়। কালজয়ী সাহিত্যের এই আরেক গুণ - যুগ থেকে যুগে, নানা হাতে নানা জাতে তার অনুরণন ধ্বনিত হয়। PS ডুয়েল নিয়ে লিখে আর দীর্ঘায়িত করলাম না - শুধু এটুকুই বলবো যে বাস্তব জীবনে রাশিয়ার কবিরা যেমন মারা গেছেন ডুয়েল লড়ে (পুশকিন নিজে, অথবা লের্মন্তভ), তাদের চরিত্ররাও অহরহ মরেছেন এই একই মরণ খেলায় - এই উপন্যাসে লেন্সকি যেমন। ডুয়েল এবং ১৯শ শতকের রুশ সাহিত্য নিয়ে নিশ্চয়ই কোন না কোন অভিসন্দর্ভ লেখা হয়েছে কোথাও।(উপরে অনেগিন-লেন্সকি ডুয়েলের চিত্রটি এঁকেছিলেন ১৯শ শতকের বিখ্যাত শিল্পী ইলিয়া রেপিন।) PPS ইংরেজ অভিনেতা স্টিফেন ফ্রাই আবৃত্তি করেছেন ফালেনের সম্পূর্ণ অনুবাদটি। আগ্রহীরা শুনে দেখতে পারেন এই ইউটিউব লিংকে।

  • Aubrey
    2018-11-09 20:14

    I'll always have a soft spot for the writers who welcome their readers in both work and play. While Pushkin is a very different sort from de Assis, author of personal favorite The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas, the two of them converse, pique, mock, desist, recollect, wander, and believe, like siblings who remain friends despite the best efforts of society, or artists who accept audiences despite the most strident disapproval of academia. While EO did not prove a favorite, the author's context is far more interesting to me than de Assis has so far proven. Biographical drama, instigation of canons, dramatic histories, conspiratorial subversion via verse, exile, Russia, and a certain grandfather. Another characteristic the two casually brilliant and brilliantly casual authors have is that neither of the two, despite what assumption may proclaim, are white. A coincidence? A trend? A piece of evidence of how much has been lost through centuries of ideological denial and towers of pasty onanism? The world may never know.So, Eugene Onegin's this classic rich boy who has a talent for wandering into good fortunes such as deliverance from bankruptcy, best of best friends, his perfect type of women who throws herself at his feet, and doesn't appreciate any of it. Luckily, Pushkin's far more interested in using this woebegone hero of his as a vector for panoramic views of Russia in its daily life of the working class, social intrigue of the upper class, and all the artistic endeavors and landscape spectaculars that fall in between. As made explicit above, Pushkin is a constantly overt and ever engaging presence, musing on the happier times of youth, commenting on the vogue (he loves this word) of his time and the foibles of his critics, having sympathy for his main character but not enough to excuse Onegin's assholery in his relationships. Apparently the opera by Tchaikovsky of this is super great, so I'll be keeping that in mind for my next theatrical engagement.For all that, what grabbed my attention the most was the bits and pieces Pushkin excised, erased, and encoded in reaction to the political censors of his day. Banishment, Decembrists, royal overthrows and national conflicts on both battlefield and writing desk galore. Good stuff. Methinks some sort of nonfictional Pushkin pursuit is in order, along with the more fictional and authorial The Blackamoor of Peter the Great.

  • Anastassiya
    2018-11-17 16:29

    But like so many people said it before me and too many say it after me..this book is the Masterpiece!It is so diverse and sophisticated, combines melancholy and brutal realism,a truly timeless work that describes so many sides and motives of human soul. Many characters that you instantly if they have been reincarnated into people you know. The divine words strung together to create a perfection! Verse after verse you read and everytime one exclaims:"How true!!!" And not a word that sounds remotely awkward and out of place. When things described in a new way, the uncliched combination of qualities that are true but never heard of.The tender and affectionate way to describe the Nature that reaches somewhere deep inside of you and makes you so very fond of times unknown to you, yet so familiar, so dear. The immaculate balance of showing purity and the best of feelings one might possess without a mild hint of being accused as being rosy or dramatic.What shocked me the most is that I couldn't mock it in any way (!). In fact, line after line, i felt how it was stirring something deep in my heart and if it would be immensely dramatic to say that it resembled the story of my life, to an extent its true. All the purity and openness one once possesed and tiny agonies experienced when learning the imperfections of human nature and slow accumulation of a thicker skin...I don't know about the English translation, hardly it is capable of keeping even 1/20th of the beauty of the original...I pity those who don't have the opportunity to enjoy it in Russian.

  • Caroline
    2018-11-06 15:30

    Chapter 1: stanza LVI (Nabokov)Flowers, love, the country, idleness,ye fields! my soul is vowed to you.I’m always glad to mark the differencebetween Onegin and myself,lest an ironic readeror else some publisherof complicated calumny,collating here my traits,repeat hereafter shamelesslythat i have scrawled my portraitlike Byron, the poet of pride--as if for us it were no longer possibleto write long poems about anythingthan just about ourselves!This is a double review of Eugene Onegin as translated by Charles Johnston and by Vladimir Nabokov. I will post the same review in both locations. I apologize for the length but it requires transcriptions of enough poetry to compare the two.Nabokov famously savaged all English versions of Onegin, but Johnston wrote his translation after Nabokov’s was published and graciously credits him in his author’s prologue. It seems to me that Johnston captured virtually all of the sense that Nabokov put into his unrhymed iambic lines, and he also managed to create real poetry in what might be close to Pushkin’s intent. Here is what Nabokov said in his forward (quoted many times):To reproduce the rhymes and yet translate the entire poem literally is mathematically impossible…In transposing Eugene Onegin from Russian into my English I have sacrificed to completeness of meaning every formal element including the iambic rhythm, whenever its retention hindered fidelity. To my ideal of literalism I sacrificed everything (elegance, euphony, clarity, good taste, modern usage, and even grammar) that the dainty mimic prizes higher than truth. Pushkin has likened translators to horses changed at the posthouses of civilization. The greatest reward I can think of is that students may use my work as a pony. (Wonderful pun!)I think Johnston himself would say his version wouldn’t have been as good without Nabokov. They are both valuable for different reasons. Johnston’s volume has almost no critical apparatus. There are a two-page translator’s note and five pages of endnotes. You have to have Nabokov to a) satisfy yourself that Johnston got it right, and b) fill in all the context. For example, Nabokov explains the changes that were occurring in Russian language at this time, and refers to the relatively (to English) small vocabulary that led to reusing words in the same stanza.I read Johnston’s translation first. Then I read the first volume of Nabokov, which has biographical, literary and prosody background along with his translation. The current second volume of Nabokov presents his commentary (900 plus pages) and an index. I only read the commentary on the Eighth Chapter, which I had decided to focus on in my review, and by chance it is where Nabokov vents his spleen on other translations.That Johnston meets Nabokov’s standard of staying close to Pushkin’s own verse in a lexical as well as semantic sense can be judged by the fact that while I enjoyed the poetry immensely as I initially read Johnston I wasn’t at all sure I understood what was going on. Johnston (mostly) doesn’t make it easy by interpolating explanations for modern readers –or ‘Englishing’ it as Nabokov reclaims an old term. Johnston generally sticks with Pushkin, but is ingenious in finding evocative and rhyming equivalents for the Russian. As it turns out, after I read Nabokov I found that I had indeed understood almost everything the first time, which indicates how accomplished Johnston is.A note on Pushkin’s prosody next, then a few examples of Nabokov and Johnson side by side. In one of my sample stanzas Johnston doesn’t match Nabokov, in another Johnston vastly improves the poetry but alters a meaning beyond my limits of ‘interpretation’. In the last example Johnston nails it. At the end of the review, some very brief comments on the actual poem.Pushkin wrote in a stanza of his own design. Nabokov says it contains 118 syllables and consists of fourteen lines, in iambic tetrameter, with a regular scheme of feminine and masculine rhymes: ababeecciddiff. The abab and the ff part are usually very conspicuous in the meaning, melody, and intonation of any given stanza. (Feminine rhymes are lines ending in an unstressed syllable with both of the last two syllables of the lines rhyming: e.g. measure/pleasure. Masculine rhyme is a stressed single last rhymed syllable. In Pushkin’s stanza, the feminine rhymes occur in lines forming the schematic vowels a,e,i while the masculine rhymes are the consonants b,c,d,f.) Nabokov credits La Fontaine as an influence on this form. In the last chapter Johnston turns one of Nabokov’s literal stanzas about Onegin and Tatiana’s meeting into poetry but in I think he doesn’t quite capture the full poignancy that Nabokov communicates, despite the unfortunate ‘resurrected’. The ‘who’ at the end of the first and third lines is key to pulling the reader in.8: XLI (Nabokov) Ah! Her mute sufferings—who would not have read in this swift instant!the former Tanya, the poor Tanya—whowould not have recognized now in the princess?In the heartache of mad regrets,Eugene has fallen at her feet;she started—and is silent,and at Onegin lookswithout surprise, without wrath…His sick, extinguished gaze, imploring aspect, mute reproof, she takes in everything. The simple maid, with dreams, with heart of former daysagain in her has resurrected now.Johnston: Who in that flash could not have reckonedher full account of voiceless pain?Who in the princess for that second would not have recognized againour hapless Tanya? An emotionof wild repentence and devotion threw Eugene at her feet—she stirred,and looked at him without a word,without surprise or rage…his laden,his humbly suppliant approach, his dull, sick look, his dumb reproach—she sees it all. The simple maiden,whose heart on dreams was wont to thrive,in her once more has come alive.Here’s an instance where Johnston definitely improves on Nabokov as far as poetry goes, but the meaning is changed significantly in the last line.8: XXVII (Nabokov)…O humans! All of you resemble ancestress Eve:what’s given to you does not lure,incessantly the serpent calls youto him, to the mysterious tree:you must be offered the forbidden fruit,for Eden otherwise is not Eden to you.(Johnston)We all resemble more or lessour Mother Eve: we’re never fallingfor what’s been given us to take;to his mysterious tree the snakeis calling us, for ever calling—and once forbidden fruit is seen,no paradise can stay serene.Last example, where Johnston gives a beautifully Byronic rendition, including the enjambment in the final line, that beats Nabokov hands down:3: XI (Nabakov)His style to a grave mood having attuned,time was a flaming authorused to present to us his heroas a model of perfection.He’d furnish the loved object—always iniquitously persecuted—with a sensitive soul, intelligence,and an attractive face.Nourishing the glow of the purest passion,always the enthusiastic herowas ready to sacrifice himselfand by the end of the last part,always vice got punished,virtue got a worthy crown. 3: XI (Johnston)Lending his tone a grave reflection,the ardent author of the pastshowed one a pattern of perfectionin which his hero’s mould was cast.He gave this figure—loved with passion,wronged always in disgraceful fashion—a soul of sympathy and grace,and brains, and an attractive face.Always our fervid hero tendedpure passion’s flame, and in a tricewould launch into self-sacrifice;always before the volume endeddue punishment was handed downto vice, while virtue got its crown.Now this review is too long and I haven’t said a word about the poem as a work of literature. It is a wonderful and surprising (to me) compendium of story, autobiography, satire, political commentary, musings and digressions. Written over almost a decade, it inevitably resonates with the ups and downs of Pushkin’s own life.Above all, it portrays two souls, one of whom is maturing and one who doesn’t know how. Onegin, for example, says of the man he shot, in his letter to Tatiana late in the poem: another thing yet parted us: a hapless victim Lenski fell… . As if the pistol fired itself. As Nabokov says of this line: A profound commentator might suggest that while a hyppish Englishman shoots himself, a Russian chondriac shoots a friend—committing suicide by proxy, so to speak.In contrast, Tatiana has read Onegin's library and understands him very well. It is her tragedy that he can’t ever really love her, no matter how much she loves him. And she has accepted the responsibilities she has chosen in Moscow, even if reluctantly.What I didn’t expect and very much enjoyed were the digressions on literature and life in the country and city. Pushkin’s ambiguous and changing attitudes toward society in both places was interesting and allowed him, like Byron, to include all sorts of riffs and amusing incidents.So definitely read it. I recommend this combination of Johnston for the Byronic brio of Pushkin’s poetry and Nabokov for the inimitable waspish erudition and precise, hilarious disdain.2: XX (Johnston)Ah, he had loved a love that neveris known today; only a soulthat raves with poetry can everbe doomed to feel it: there’s one goalperpetually, one goal for framing,one customary object gleaming,one customary grief each hour!not separation’s chilling power,no years of absence past returning,no beauties of a foreign clime,no noise of gaiety, no timedevoted to the Muse, or learning,nothing could alter or could tirethis soul that glowed with virgin fire.

  • Wayne
    2018-10-29 16:18

    I couldn't decide which translation to buy - the Penguin or the Oxford. So I bought both and read them simultaneously!!!What an idiot!!What an effort!!!What a delight !!What an education in the art of translation!!!No one told me this tragedy was going to be...funny!!Amusing!!Witty!!I still don't get it but boy! did I enjoy it.Novels in verse I have NEVER gone near.But I am MAD about Tchaikovsky's opera of this verse-novel. Now THAT is TRAGEDY!!I think poor old Tchai was a disaster waiting to happen that's what he gives you. Great stuff. And those 3 ethereal ballets!!To die for!!But I stray.Pushkin is another Russian altogether. And thus so is HIS Onegin.It is truly wonderful. A masterpiece.Get it and relish before the End of the World, which I hear is just around the corner.November 1st, 2013. MORE REFLECTION:I had the opportunity to see a filmed Metropolitan version of "Eugene Onegin" yesterday with Anna Netrebko (Russian) as Tatiana and Mariusz Kwiecien (Polish) as Onegin.Only two of a fine cast. Tchaikovsky did not have to dig very deeply to summon up his tone of melancholy. It was a TOTAL indulgence and made me realise that for me OPERA is the pinnacle of the Arts when it can pull it off, which happily is often.It sent me back to Pushkin when I arrived home and again today.I particularly wanted to reread the letter scene where Tatiana writes to Onegin to tell him she has fallen in love with him, bravely, honestly and passionately baring her innermost soul to him.And his response also interested me.His response, which is really a very flattering rejection, is also honest and caring, warning her about being aware of the risk of being too open with strangers as she may get hurt. He admits that she is someone he loves but marriage would be a disaster for them because of him. Being like a brother is what he chooses.The librettist was true to the plot and the words of the poem.However there is not an ounce of Pushkin's humour.Which also works.There is no narrator as there is in the poem, which I think would overload the opera.I found I prefer the opera to the poem...but certainly appreciate them both. Pushkin's canvas is much broader than the opera could manage.Lucky to have these GREAT music, poetry and song.AND a host of nationalities that helped to create this production !!!!If only the World could always be so happily and productively Multicultural!!!

  • Sincerae
    2018-10-25 17:02

    This is my first Alexander Pushkin. Eugene Onegin is a novel written in verse, rather in the same realm as Lord Byron's Don Juan. I read a biography of his life a long time ago, and after then I tried to read some of his poetry and couldn't get my mind to digest them. Finally after all these years I have. I like what I've read. Alexander Pushkin is the father of modern Russian poetry and literature. I will be reading more of his work both poetry and prose. Pushkin had a fascinating heritage. He was of African ancestry on his mother's side. His African great grandfather was the adopted son of Tsar Peter the Great.I enjoyed Eugene Onegin. The poem's namesake is a young man which I infer had been a playboy in the upper-crust of Russian society, but who had become bored with the vapidness of it all and retired to the country, a recently turned misanthrope, where he becomes the heroic romantic obsession of a naive young girl named Tatyana. Eugene Onegin was made into an opera by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Below is the letter scene from the opera sung by Russian opera singer Anna Netrebko: favorite stanza from the Eugene Onegin is this:Alas, our youth was what we made it,something to fritter and to burn,when hourly we ourselves betrayed it,and it deceived us in return;when our sublimest aspiration,and all our fresh imagination,swiftly decayed beyond recalllike foliage in the rotting fall.It's agony to watch the hollowsequence of dinners stretch away,to see life as a ritual play,and with the decorous throng to followalthough one in no manner sharesits views, its passions, or its cares!

  • Antonomasia
    2018-11-03 18:19

    ARC review: 2016 Pushkin Press edition, translated by Anthony Briggs[3.75?] I've yet to be convinced that it's possible to translate Russian poetry into consistently excellent English verse. Translator Anthony Briggs' introduction suggests that it is easier to make Russian poems sound good in English than it is French ones - which contradicts my experience as a reader. (I loved Kinnell's Villon, Millay's Baudelaire, among others, and was disappointed by two different versions of Tsvetava.) It had been my intention, if I ever read Onegin, to go for Stanley Mitchell's translation (for what I'd seen of the actual poetry, though I love the cover too), but this new* version was on offer as an ARC last year. I liked the beginning of Briggs' War & Peace enough that I'd have read his translation if it had been available as an ebook. (It wasn't, so I went for the ubiquitous P&V.) I wasn't so impressed with his translation of some Pushkin poems in a funny little miscellany from the eponymous publisher, under the title The Queen of Spades, but they were reasonable enough - and this ARC was, after all, free, and, what's more, praised by Nick Lezard in the Guardian. (Lezard quite often makes good recommendations, but admitted himself that he was no expert on Pushkin translation.)I read perhaps a third of this Onegin in April 2016, when I found it clunky and packed with banal sing-song rhymes. Though it seemed to improve at times - inconveniently for me, as I'd have to rewrite the at-least-half a hatchet job I'd already typed out. Returning to the book in January 2017, reading straight through from Introduction to FIN, I thought it not so bad. Somewhat better than the frustratingly blurred reflection of a celestial original that seemed the usual offering for Russian translated poetry in the body of a book, compared with the way the original was described in the introduction. Some stanzas are indeed embarrassingly sing-song others rather good; and plenty more dependent on how each reader hears all the line-end rhymes - whilst a few are convoluted, with sense and meaning obscured by the struggle to attain the correct structure in English. In Briggs' introduction, Stanley Mitchell is both praised - for his use of approximate rhyme - and criticised - for taking it too far. I found the list of Mitchell's rhymes more pleasing to the ear, less pat, than many of those Briggs uses, so perhaps I'd still prefer his version. (Perhaps what I am really looking for is the equivalent of Edna St Vincent Millay's Flowers of Evil, a highly liberal translation that uses the essential sense of the poems to create a[n IMO] beautiful work that sounds like true poetry in English.)For the reader who'd prefer a thorough, scholarly intro of the Penguin/Oxford ilk, Briggs' isn't terrible. He provides a thorough and persuasive case for calling the protagonist "Yevgeny Onegin" in English, due to the name's musicality and scansion, and how this metrical beauty is at odds with the anti-hero's conduct. Otherwise, it omitted useful points: cultural background (which I at least had via reading Tolstoy in the last few years, and I see how scenes in Onegin likely inspired some in War and Peace); and the poet-narrator and his relationship with his muse as a significant feature of the poem (it took the blurb of another edition on GR to make me notice that and not near-skim those stanzas as inconsequential fluff interrupting the "real" story). Briggs also spent time on a critical debate about Onegin's moral character in a manner superfluous for the first time reader, as he reaches the same conclusion Pushkin does in the poem: His secret inner court will hearHim charged with multiple offences…Charge One: He had been wrong to jeerAt timid, tender love so easilyAnd so off-handedly that evening.Charge Two: The poet might have beenAn ass, but this, at just eighteen,Could be excused. Judge whose fault this is:Yevgeny deeply loved the youth,And should have proved to be, in truth,No mere plaything of prejudices,No fiery, strapping lad, but anHonourable and thinking man.Onegin, packed with of-its-time cultural references, desperately needs annotations, and this Pushkin Press edition sadly has none. From chapter two, a handful of the many examples: I've at least heard of [Sir Charles] Grandison but wouldn't mind a reminder about plot and character, and it's hardly one of the best known bits of British C18th lit; would have liked something on origin and reputation of the following gothic behaviour, implied as a French import: She took to using blood when scrawlingIn sweet girls’ albums and in the same stanza, re-Russification as she restored without mishapThe padded robe and floppy cap, some background to whose presumed nationalistic significance could, I think, only add to the edition.This same allusiveness gives the poem a satirical, flippant air I hadn't anticipated. At first I was in two minds about use of noticeably contemporary phrases - a lodging with decent storage; a dashing officer who's the delight of local mums - but soon felt they sharpened the text. After all, the poem, picking over the mores of recently fashionable Romantic young things, would have felt as modern to readers of the 1830s as daft mockery of Millenials would to us. This sense of freshness is one of the impertinent advantages of a translated classic has over the original, and perhaps what I liked best about Briggs' Onegin, though not as much as in Clive James' Divine Comedy. I love noticing the cheeky wink of a half-hidden pop lyric; one especially deft example here amused me no end:“I say, who is that lady, Prince,There in the raspberry-coloured beret,Near the ambassador from Spain?” However, modernity occasionally went too far, and jarred: when Tatyana's nanny was wearing a "body-warmer"; and even brands crept in, albeit ones old enough to have been around at the time - so can't discount the possibility they were cited in Pushkin's original - Veuve Clicquot—or is it Moët? (I think that was when Robbie Williams' 'Party Like a Russian' started playing in my head...)For much of the poem, I didn't feel a great deal for the characters. I was sorry for the infatuated Tatyana - I felt that fiction and film gave me a similarly misleading impression of social life and romance when I was younger - but it was a sympathy often out of step with the ironic relating of the silly girl's fandoms and mopings. May as well have been watching a black comedy about hipsters. (Натан Ячмень, Москва 1830?) Among my favourite of the human scenes was when Tatyana, pining for Evgeny, reads his favourite books to try and understand him, and instead finds them an excellent way to get over him:And my Tatyana comes by stagesTo understand the very man(Depicted clearly as outrageous?)Destined for her by some weird plan,Sent to unsettle and derange her,A maverick oddball bringing danger,A child of heaven, of hell perchance,Devil and god of arrogance.What is he? A copy of mischances,A ghost of nothingness, a joke,A Russian in Childe Harold’s cloak,A ragbag of imported fancies,A catchphrase-monger and a sham.Is he more parody than man?I've done similar in my time (sometimes the books - or films - are a key, sometimes they are not: not everyone sees themselves in their favourites, or loves works that reflect themselves, though Evgeny clearly did). But thankfully, in the early twenty-first century, it is easy to get one's own copies of those titles remembered, no trespass required.Sardonic archness wasn't what I expected from Russian epic verse, so for some time I wondered whether this was a property of the translation (British dry wit) or of the original. The duel scene and its immediate aftermath altered my opinion: it was clearly meant to be that way. The stanzas from the fight itself were marked by an instantaneous a change of tone, gripping and utterly immediate, like a movie scene:Out come the pistols (how they dazzle!),The ramrods plunge, the mallets knock,The leaden balls roll down the channels,The triggers click, the guns are cocked.The greyish powder streams out, steady,Into the pan, while, waiting ready,The solid, jagged, screwed-down flintStands primed. Guillot can just be glimpsedLurking behind a stump, much worried.The two foes cast their cloaks aside.Zaretsky walks thirty-two stridesWith an exactitude unhurried,Then leads each friend to his far place.They draw their pistols from the case.On its heels, verse reminiscent of one of Hilaire Belloc's Cautionaries, only for slightly older boys:But the most fun comes from insistingOn plans for a noble death, somehowFixating on the man’s pale brow,And aiming coolly from a distance.But sending him to kingdom come—Surely you won’t find that much fun.Afterwards, there was profound feeling, which soon admixed back into the former social irony and the odd Keatesian landscape. The original's emotional trajectory, and the translator's control of his material became clear; my respect for Briggs increased again.Friends who know my tastes will not be surprised to hear that it was mostly the stanzas about peasant customs, and winter, on which I was most swept away. I'm not sure whether these were also qualitatively better in translation than plenty of others, or if I'm simply so very susceptible to this type of scenery. (I suspect the latter, because so many of the spring and summer verses bored me.)Through the cold murk the dawn comes searching,The noisy field work has tailed off,The wolf is on the road, emergingWith his half-starving lady wolf.A passing horse scents him and bridles,Snorting, at which the wary riderGallops away uphill flat-out.At dawn no herdsmen are about,Bringing to pasture hungry cattle,At noon no horn is heard to singAnd bring the cows into a ring.And girls stay home to sing and rattleTheir spinning wheels. Friendly and bright,The pine logs sting the winter night...A tubby goose, red-footed, fearful,Hoping to breast the waters, crawlsGingerly out, but skids and fallsUpon the ice. Here comes the cheerfulFirst fall of whirling, gleaming snow,Star-scattered on the banks below...Riding the prairie wild, of course, isPerilous for your blunt-shod horses,Who stumble on the treacherous iceAnd down they clatter in a trice.Stay in your bleak homestead. Try reading—Here is your Pradt, here’s Walter Scott—Or go through your accounts, if not,Or fume, or drink. The endless eveningWill somehow pass, tomorrow too.I've not read enough classic English poetry lately to be confident in comparing the quality - for instance, with Byron, one of Pushkin's inspirations, and whose verse forms Briggs hoped to emulate - but I have included ample quotes, so you may be able to make up your mind whether Briggs' translation is for you, if you wanted to read Onegin in the first place.(Incidentally, does anyone else worry about whether reading Russian lit now means more, something unsavoury, compared with even six months ago; not the same configuration as it might have forty years ago, so more confusing? Or is it just me and that's laughably paranoid, even for these strange times?) This translation is rather fun, especially if you enjoy the modern elements alongside the more typically early nineteenth century themes; if it were accompanied by a more detailed introduction, and some notes, I'd more readily recommend it; the lack of either is always a drawback to an edition of a classic, as far as I'm concerned. Like so much great literature of its time, Onegin is a story of youngsters and their betrothal intrigues, but the irony and detachment means that it may still appeal to those who are no longer in that phase of life (though I do think there much to be said for reading classics before or around that time), including those whose years have now outspanned Pushkin's own. * A few days after reading, I've noticed that there's an Everyman edition ofYevgeny Onegin (same spelling) from 1995 translated by Briggs. As this Pushkin Press one clearly says "English language translation copyright A.D.P. Briggs, 2016", I'm assuming that it's is a revised version - although surely not entirely new as the blurb suggests.Thank you to Edelweiss, and the publisher, Pushkin Press, for this free advance review copy.

  • Manny
    2018-11-17 15:11

    In response to Geoff's recent review of Part I:My amazing girlfriend gave me both volumes of Nabokov's translation of Onegin for xmas. She's a keeper.Oddly enough, my amazing girlfriend cross-examined me about how often I actually read Nabokov's translation of Onegin, the spine of which was suspiciously uncreased. On hearing my feeble answers, she put both volumes in the "To be donated" pile. And she's a keeper too.Moral: what we booknerds are looking for is someone who cares enough about Nabokov's translation of Onegin to have a strong opinion on the subject.

  • B the BookAddict
    2018-11-08 15:17

    Passion, poetry and pistols amid thwarted love.

  • Ray
    2018-11-11 18:15

    This is one of the finest books I've ever read! I have jokingly said, "I recommend this book to anyone who likes anything." While that's a bit of an exaggeration, this book really has it all:The story manages to be both compelling and a parody at the same time. The main characters-Onegin, Lensky, Tatiana and Olga- are all believable and likeable, but that doesn't stop the narrator from poking fun at them occasionally. But Pushkin's parody is sympathetic; You laugh at the characters the way you laugh at the foibles of your favorite aunts and uncles, still caring for them even while you acknowledge the fact that people can be ridiculous. But my favorite character is Pushkin himself. He intrudes into the novel (sometimes as a character, sometimes as the novel's creator) with numerous digressions ranging from poignant personal asides to witty commentaries and playful parody. Along with the story of Onegin and Tatiana, the novel tells us the story of an artist's quest to create a thing of beauty.Since the book is a "novel in verse," the story is told in beautiful poetry. I personally rank the original, Russian text with the finest long poems I have ever read, including Paradise Lost, The Divine Comedy and King Lear because of the beauty and elegance of its use of language and structure. (That being said, I don't have the skills to read Dante in Italian.) And of all the translations I have observed, James Falen's translation does the best job of capturing Pushkin's lyrical grace. Nabokov's translation is more literal, but painfully so. He manages to translate Pushkin's words without translating Pushkin himself. Granted, I do recommend the Nabokov translation to Anglo-American students of Russian language and literature who want to come closer to the language of Pushkin, because I have found Nabokov's translation to be a great literary mediator. But in terms of a translation that works as a piece of literature on its own, I recommend Falen's translation. It might not be the same as the original, but you do comprehend Pushkin's prowess and poise, and many of Falen's rhymes sparkle just as well as Pushkin's.

  • Teresa
    2018-11-07 16:19

    I had no idea what to expect with my first reading of Pushkin and perhaps that's why I felt a bit unsure at the beginning. I'd seen a ballet of "Onegin" a few years ago, so perhaps had other expectations due to that as well. And then I wondered if it was the translation; but I've since read of how it reads in Russian, and it seems the translation is just fine. Once I got in the swing of this formal structure but very 'informal' words, I really enjoyed it.This is really much more than just a story of a man and a woman who can't click with each other at the right time. The narrator (who is -- and isn't -- Pushkin, I imagine) is the main voice. He meditates on the nature of art; his own progression from poetry to prose; the roles that we take on and then that become us from what we read and what we learn from our readings; and much more. The narrator is funny, and he is serious.I would need to study and know much more to get everything I could out of this book.

  • Jon(athan) Nakapalau
    2018-11-08 14:26

    This was one of the most original books I have ever read. How Pushkin was able to accomplish this poem/novel is beyond me. The theme of rejecting love and then being rejected by that same love latter in life is masterful. Alexander Pushkin! - you are on my 'reading radar' and I will look for more of your works!