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Early Twentieth-Century Music: Eugene Onegin

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Eugene Onegin is the master work of the poet whom Russians regard as the fountainhead of their literature. Set in 1820s Russia, Pushkin's novel in verse follows the fates of three men and three women. It was Pushkin's own favourite work, and this new translation conveys the literal sense and the poetic music of the original. Eugene Onegin is the master work of the poet whom Eugene Onegin is the master work of the poet whom Russians regard as the fountainhead of their literature. Set in 1820s Russia, Pushkin's novel in verse follows the fates of three men and three women. It was Pushkin's own favourite work, and this new translation conveys the literal sense and the poetic music of the original. Eugene Onegin is the master work of the poet whom Russians regard as the fountainhead of their literature. Set in 1820s imperial Russia, Pushkin's novel in verse follows the emotions and destiny of three men - Onegin the bored fop, Lensky the minor elegiast, and a stylized Pushkin himself - and the fates and affections of three women - Tatyana the provincial beauty, her sister Olga, and Pushkin's mercurial Muse. Engaging, full of suspense, and varied in tone, it also portrays a large cast of other characters and offers the listener many literary, philosophical, and autobiographical digressions, often in a highly satirical vein. Eugene Onegin was Pushkin's own favourite work, and it shows him attempting to transform himself from a romantic poet into a realistic novelist. This new translation seeks to retain both the literal sense and the poetic music of the original, and capture the poem's spontaneity and wit. ©1990, 1995 James E. Falen (P)2014 Audible Inc.


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Eugene Onegin is the master work of the poet whom Russians regard as the fountainhead of their literature. Set in 1820s Russia, Pushkin's novel in verse follows the fates of three men and three women. It was Pushkin's own favourite work, and this new translation conveys the literal sense and the poetic music of the original. Eugene Onegin is the master work of the poet whom Eugene Onegin is the master work of the poet whom Russians regard as the fountainhead of their literature. Set in 1820s Russia, Pushkin's novel in verse follows the fates of three men and three women. It was Pushkin's own favourite work, and this new translation conveys the literal sense and the poetic music of the original. Eugene Onegin is the master work of the poet whom Russians regard as the fountainhead of their literature. Set in 1820s imperial Russia, Pushkin's novel in verse follows the emotions and destiny of three men - Onegin the bored fop, Lensky the minor elegiast, and a stylized Pushkin himself - and the fates and affections of three women - Tatyana the provincial beauty, her sister Olga, and Pushkin's mercurial Muse. Engaging, full of suspense, and varied in tone, it also portrays a large cast of other characters and offers the listener many literary, philosophical, and autobiographical digressions, often in a highly satirical vein. Eugene Onegin was Pushkin's own favourite work, and it shows him attempting to transform himself from a romantic poet into a realistic novelist. This new translation seeks to retain both the literal sense and the poetic music of the original, and capture the poem's spontaneity and wit. ©1990, 1995 James E. Falen (P)2014 Audible Inc.

30 review for Early Twentieth-Century Music: Eugene Onegin

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nataliya

    I dare you, double-triple-dog dare you, to find a Russian person who has never heard of Evgeniy Onegin. 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 lit 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.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Luís C.

    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 contemp 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 York In 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.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    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 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 of The waves, successively descending,, Collapsing at her feet with love. Oh how I wished to join their races And 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 arbours Where, in the backwoods, I recall Days filled with indolence and ardours And 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 bone And finally be turned to stone In that benumbing world he goes in, In that intoxicating slough Where, 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.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Florencia

    And then, from all a heart finds tender I tore my own; an alien soul, Without allegiances, I vanished, Thinking that liberty and peace Could take the place of happiness. My God, how wrong, how I’ve been punished! - Alexander Pushkin, Chapter VIII Contradictions. 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 then, from all a heart finds tender I tore my own; an alien soul, Without allegiances, I vanished, Thinking that liberty and peace Could take the place of happiness. My God, how wrong, how I’ve been punished! - Alexander Pushkin, Chapter VIII Contradictions. 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 desolation To tend a sick man day and night And not to venture from his sight! What shameful cunning to be cheerful With 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 part With you today like a companion. Farewell. Whatever you may chart Among these careless lines, reflections – Whether tumultuous recollections Or light relief from labour’s yoke, The lively image, witty joke Or the mistakes I’ve made in grammar – God grant you find here just a grain To warm the heart, to entertain, To feed a dream, and cause a clamour With journals and their clientele, Upon which, let us part, farewell! (Chapter VIII, Stanza 49) March 24, 14 * Also on my blog.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Евгений Онегин = Yevgeniy Onegin = Eugene Onegin, Alexander Pushkin Eugene Onegin is a novel in verse written by Alexander Pushkin. Onegin is considered a classic of Russian literature, and its eponymous protagonist has served as the model for a number of Russian literary heroes (so-called superfluous men). It was published in serial form between 1825 and 1832. The first complete edition was published in 1833, and the currently accepted version is based on the 1837 publication. In the 1820s, Euge Евгений Онегин = Yevgeniy Onegin = Eugene Onegin, Alexander Pushkin Eugene Onegin is a novel in verse written by Alexander Pushkin. Onegin is considered a classic of Russian literature, and its eponymous protagonist has served as the model for a number of Russian literary heroes (so-called superfluous men). It was published in serial form between 1825 and 1832. The first complete edition was published in 1833, and the currently accepted version is based on the 1837 publication. In the 1820s, Eugene Onegin is a bored St. Petersburg dandy, whose life consists of balls, concerts, parties, and nothing more. Upon the death of a wealthy uncle, he inherits a substantial fortune and a landed estate. When he moves to the country, he strikes up a friendship with his neighbor, a starry-eyed young poet named Vladimir Lensky. Lensky takes Onegin to dine with the family of his fiancée, the sociable but rather thoughtless Olga Larina. At this meeting, he also catches a glimpse of Olga's sister Tatyana. A quiet, precocious romantic, and the exact opposite of Olga, Tatyana becomes intensely drawn to Onegin. Soon after, she bares her soul to Onegin in a letter professing her love. Contrary to her expectations, Onegin does not write back. When they meet in person, he rejects her advances politely but dismissively and condescendingly. This famous speech is often referred to as Onegin's Sermon: he admits that the letter was touching, but says that he would quickly grow bored with marriage and can only offer Tatyana friendship; he coldly advises more emotional control in the future, lest another man take advantage of her innocence. Later, Lensky mischievously invites Onegin to Tatyana's name day celebration, promising a small gathering with just Tatyana, Olga, and their parents. When Onegin arrives, he finds instead a boisterous country ball, a rural parody of and contrast to the society balls of St. Petersburg of which he has grown tired. Onegin is irritated with the guests who gossip about him and Tatyana, and with Lensky for persuading him to come. He decides to avenge himself by dancing and flirting with Olga. Olga is insensitive to her fiancé and apparently attracted to Onegin. Earnest and inexperienced, Lensky is wounded to the core and challenges Onegin to fight a duel; Onegin reluctantly accepts, feeling compelled by social convention. During the duel, Onegin unwillingly kills Lensky. Afterwards, he quits his country estate, traveling abroad to deaden his feelings of remorse. Tatyana visits Onegin's mansion, where she looks through his books and his notes in the margins, and begins to question whether Onegin's character is merely a collage of different literary heroes, and if there is, in fact, no "real Onegin". Tatyana, still brokenhearted by the loss of Onegin, is convinced by her parents to live with her aunt in Moscow in order to find a suitor. Several years pass, and the scene shifts to St. Petersburg. Onegin has come to attend the most prominent balls and interact with the leaders of old Russian society. He sees the most beautiful woman, who captures the attention of all and is central to society's whirl, and he realizes that it is the same Tatyana whose love he had once spurned. Now she is married to an aged prince (a general). Upon seeing Tatyana again, he becomes obsessed with winning her affection, despite the fact that she is married. However, his attempts are rebuffed. He writes her several letters, but receives no reply. Eventually Onegin manages to see Tatyana and offers her the opportunity to finally elope after they have become reacquainted. She recalls the days when they might have been happy, but concludes that that time has passed. Onegin repeats his love for her. Faltering for a moment, she admits that she still loves him, but she will not allow him to ruin her and declares her determination to remain faithful to her husband. She leaves him regretting his bitter destiny. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و ششم دسامبر سال 1970 میلادی عنوان: یِوگِنی آنِه گین - اوژن اونه گین؛ نویسنده: الکساندر پوشکین؛ مترجم: منوچهر وثوقی نیا؛ تهران، گوتنبرگ، 1348، چاپ دوم 1357؛ در 434 ص؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان روسیه - سده 19 م شاهکاری شورانگیز، از «پوشکین» شاعر نابغه ی نیمه ی نخست سده نوزدهم میلادی سبک رومانتیک روسیه بودند و هستند؛ قلم سحرانگیز پوشکین، در خوانشگر هماره اثری شگرف بر جای 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»، بر میخورد. «تاتیانا» خواهرزن دوست شاعرش: «ولادیمیر لنسکی»، بود... نگاره های «پوشکین» برای 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 کنم هرچه 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 جان سپس فصل نخست هم در زیستن عجله دارد و هم در احساس، شتاب عموی من قوانین قابل احترامی داشت و ...؛ پایان نقل اگر هنوز کتاب را نخوانده اید خوانش کتاب را بیش از یکبار سفارش میکنم، تا لبخند نیز همچون بهار هماره بر لبتان شکوفه بیاراید. ا. شربیانی

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jan-Maat

    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. B 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 his The 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.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    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 compl 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 http://pushkinpress.com/behind-the-bo...). Thematically, 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.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Manny

    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 Onegin 1 What is translation? On a platter A 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 on Are 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 an 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 Onegin 1 What is translation? On a platter A 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 on Are 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 turned Your stanza patterned on a sonnet, Into my honest roadside prose-- All thorn, but cousin to your rose. 2 Reflected words can only shiver Like elongated lights that twist In the black mirror of a river Between 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 alliterations That grace your feasts and haunt the great Fourth stanza of your Canto Eight. This is my task--a poet's patience And scholastic passion blent: Dove-droppings on your monument.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jasmine

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

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bram

    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 LITERATURE But 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 ant 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 LITERATURE But 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.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Perry

    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 crumble Did you think I'd lay down and die Oh no, not I I will survive... Pushkin's one-of-a-kind novel-in-verse set in Russia in the early 1800s 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 crumble Did you think I'd lay down and die Oh no, not I I 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.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Spuckler

    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 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-gin Each 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.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Edward

    Acknowledgements Chronology Introduction & Notes Further Reading A Note on the Translation & Notes A Note on the Map Map --Eugene Onegin Notes

  14. 4 out of 5

    Antonomasia

    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 ha 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 hear Him charged with multiple offences… Charge One: He had been wrong to jeer At timid, tender love so easily And so off-handedly that evening. Charge Two: The poet might have been An 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 an Honourable 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 scrawling In sweet girls’ albums and in the same stanza, re-Russification as she restored without mishap The 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 stages To 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 flint Stands primed. Guillot can just be glimpsed Lurking behind a stump, much worried. The two foes cast their cloaks aside. Zaretsky walks thirty-two strides With 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 insisting On plans for a noble death, somehow Fixating 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, emerging With his half-starving lady wolf. A passing horse scents him and bridles, Snorting, at which the wary rider Gallops away uphill flat-out. At dawn no herdsmen are about, Bringing to pasture hungry cattle, At noon no horn is heard to sing And bring the cows into a ring. And girls stay home to sing and rattle Their spinning wheels. Friendly and bright, The pine logs sting the winter night... A tubby goose, red-footed, fearful, Hoping to breast the waters, crawls Gingerly out, but skids and falls Upon the ice. Here comes the cheerful First fall of whirling, gleaming snow, Star-scattered on the banks below... Riding the prairie wild, of course, is Perilous for your blunt-shod horses, Who stumble on the treacherous ice And 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 evening Will 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 of Yevgeny 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.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Anastassiya

    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 recognise...as 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 tha 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 recognise...as 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.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Aubrey

    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 contex 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.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    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 difference between Onegin and myself, lest an ironic reader or else some publisher of complicated calumny, collating here my traits, repeat hereafter shamelessly that i have scrawled my portrait like Byron, the poet of pride --as if for us it were no longer possible to write long poems about anything than just about ourselves! This is a double review of Eugene Onegin as translat 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 difference between Onegin and myself, lest an ironic reader or else some publisher of complicated calumny, collating here my traits, repeat hereafter shamelessly that i have scrawled my portrait like Byron, the poet of pride --as if for us it were no longer possible to write long poems about anything than 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—who would 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 looks without surprise, without wrath… His sick, extinguished gaze, imploring aspect, mute reproof, she takes in everything. The simple maid, with dreams, with heart of former days again in her has resurrected now. Johnston: Who in that flash could not have reckoned her full account of voiceless pain? Who in the princess for that second would not have recognized again our hapless Tanya? An emotion of 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 you to 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 less our Mother Eve: we’re never falling for what’s been given us to take; to his mysterious tree the snake is 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 author used to present to us his hero as 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 hero was ready to sacrifice himself and 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 past showed one a pattern of perfection in 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 tended pure passion’s flame, and in a trice would launch into self-sacrifice; always before the volume ended due punishment was handed down to 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 never is known today; only a soul that raves with poetry can ever be doomed to feel it: there’s one goal perpetually, 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 time devoted to the Muse, or learning, nothing could alter or could tire this soul that glowed with virgin fire.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Laurel Hicks

    Wonderful! Just wonderful! If you haven't gotten around to reading Eugene Onegin yet, get the Naxos audio version. (It's available through either Naxos or Audible.) The translation by Mary Hobson is very pleasing, and Neville Jacobson's narration is superb. I have read Pushkin's novel in verse in several very good translations, and none is better than this. To finally be able to hear the lines is amazingly satisfying. What's it about, you ask? Oh, Russia, family, society, unrequited love, that s Wonderful! Just wonderful! If you haven't gotten around to reading Eugene Onegin yet, get the Naxos audio version. (It's available through either Naxos or Audible.) The translation by Mary Hobson is very pleasing, and Neville Jacobson's narration is superb. I have read Pushkin's novel in verse in several very good translations, and none is better than this. To finally be able to hear the lines is amazingly satisfying. What's it about, you ask? Oh, Russia, family, society, unrequited love, that sort of thing. You just have to read it to begin to know. And here's a plus--the recordings is only 4 1/2 hours long, so you can read it 10 times or more in the time it takes to read the average Russian classic. I know I will. And now I have a second recording: the Falen translation, with the book to follow along with. Poor Eugene! Will he ever grow up?

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jon(athan) Nakapalau

    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!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sincerae

    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 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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d56MM... My 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 recall like foliage in the rotting fall. It's agony to watch the hollow sequence of dinners stretch away, to see life as a ritual play, and with the decorous throng to follow although one in no manner shares its views, its passions, or its cares!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Wayne

    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 ha 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 ..so 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 Russians...in 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!!!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ray

    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 l 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.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    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 I 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 with very 'informal' words, I really enjoyed it. This is really much more than just a sto 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 I 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 with 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 from 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.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Manny

    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 Naboko 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.

  25. 5 out of 5

    B the BookAddict

    Passion, poetry and pistols amid thwarted love.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Darren

    Just a joy to read (preferably out loud!) with the individual stanzas being self-contained vignettes/episodes as well as moving the plot along, and all beautifully evocative of time/place/society/character/landscape/seasons etc etc. I have now read this in two different English translations (Spadling and Elton) and have a third (CH Johnston) lined up, but fear I'm going to need to learn Russian in order fully to appreciate! :o(

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    I was so looking forward to this. My introduction to Pushkin! Everyone loves it. Couldn’t wait. I read the intro with great interest, and in the beginning, enjoyed the way many stanzas relayed key information by drawing little scenes: A new landowner, at that moment, Had driven down to his estate And offered equal cause for comment And stringent neighborhood debate. By name Vladimir Lensky, wholly Endowed with Gottingenian soul, he Was handsome, in his youthful prime, A devotee of Kant and rhyme. He brou I was so looking forward to this. My introduction to Pushkin! Everyone loves it. Couldn’t wait. I read the intro with great interest, and in the beginning, enjoyed the way many stanzas relayed key information by drawing little scenes: A new landowner, at that moment, Had driven down to his estate And offered equal cause for comment And stringent neighborhood debate. By name Vladimir Lensky, wholly Endowed with Gottingenian soul, he Was handsome, in his youthful prime, A devotee of Kant and rhyme. He brought with him the fruits of learning From mist-enveloped Germany Those dreams extolling liberty, That fervent spirit, oddly yearning, That language with its ardent flair And curling, shoulder-length black hair. This tells you so much with so few words. I could see it! Lovely. But it didn’t take long for the endless repetition of iambic tetrameter to become like fingernails on chalkboard to me. The more I read, the worse it got, until by the last page all I felt was relief. After giving this a significant rest, I’m going to try Nabokov’s un-rhyming version. I feel better just thinking about it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lobstergirl

    Charles Johnston's English translation of Eugene Onegin is a ridiculously pleasurable read, charming and comprehensible, a story filled with tragedy yet somehow made amusing and comical in the telling. Every 14-line stanza follows an ababccddeffegg scheme, and the novel is as structured as the stanzas ("like a perfect curve or parabola," the introduction proclaims), with Eugene and Tatyana at two opposing emotional poles at the outset, then each undergoing a 180 degree transformation and ending Charles Johnston's English translation of Eugene Onegin is a ridiculously pleasurable read, charming and comprehensible, a story filled with tragedy yet somehow made amusing and comical in the telling. Every 14-line stanza follows an ababccddeffegg scheme, and the novel is as structured as the stanzas ("like a perfect curve or parabola," the introduction proclaims), with Eugene and Tatyana at two opposing emotional poles at the outset, then each undergoing a 180 degree transformation and ending up where the other was (and still apart). Apparently Johnston's translation captures the spirit of Pushkin's verse - here's a sample - I see another problem looming: to save the honour of our land I must translate - there's no presuming - the letter from Tatyana's hand: her Russian was as thin as vapour, she never read a Russian paper, our native speech had never sprung unhesitating from her tongue, she wrote in French...what a confession! what can one do? as said above, until this day, a lady's love in Russian never found expression, till now our language - proud, God knows - has hardly mastered postal prose. - while Nabokov's unrhyming translation (he scorned rhyming attempts) reproduces its literal meaning.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Marianna Neal

    I haven't read Eugene Onegin since... oh, I don't even remember, some time in school, a very long time ago. Though I remembered loving it even back then (seriously, if you've read Pushkin in Russian and somehow didn't love him I don't really know how to talk to you about literature), it's obvious that what you gather from classics in school cannot be compared with consciously reading them later, on your own. But, even taking all of that into account, I am amazed by how Pushkin manages to create I haven't read Eugene Onegin since... oh, I don't even remember, some time in school, a very long time ago. Though I remembered loving it even back then (seriously, if you've read Pushkin in Russian and somehow didn't love him I don't really know how to talk to you about literature), it's obvious that what you gather from classics in school cannot be compared with consciously reading them later, on your own. But, even taking all of that into account, I am amazed by how Pushkin manages to create a portrait of 19th century Russia through iconic, well-developed characters, infused with his own opinions on the culture and values of the time, all told in verse (!!) that flows effortlessly and is very easy to read. Not to mention, the story itself is great, and famous for a reason. I have no idea how this holds up in translation, and to be honest, some of this really feels like it would be impossible to translate (especially the "flavor" of Pushkin's language). However, if you're like me and haven't read Eugene Onegin since your school days—I highly recommend re-visiting one of the most famous classics of Russian literature.

  30. 5 out of 5

    David

    Tatyana falls for Eugene, who rebuffs her (gently). Time passes. Tatyana marries a prince. Eugene falls for Tatyana, who rebuffs him (gently). Pushkin whips the whole affair into this wonderfully frothy souffle, which any Russian will tell you is one of the summits of Russian poetry. It certainly disproves the notion that all of Russian literature is dark, brooding, and gloomy. The Penguin Classic translation is by Charles Johnston. Having just re-read the chapter about Onegin translations in Dougl Tatyana falls for Eugene, who rebuffs her (gently). Time passes. Tatyana marries a prince. Eugene falls for Tatyana, who rebuffs him (gently). Pushkin whips the whole affair into this wonderfully frothy souffle, which any Russian will tell you is one of the summits of Russian poetry. It certainly disproves the notion that all of Russian literature is dark, brooding, and gloomy. The Penguin Classic translation is by Charles Johnston. Having just re-read the chapter about Onegin translations in Douglas Hofstadter's "Le Ton beau de marot", I'm inclined to seek out some of the other versions as well.

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