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!!> EPUB ❄ Verzamelde werken 2 - Jevgeni Onegin ✿ Author Alexander Pushkin – Submitalink.info 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 1820 s, Eug 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 1820 s, Eugene Onegin is a bored St Petersburg dandy, whose life consists of balls, concerts, parties, and nothingUpon 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 fianc e, 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 advisesemotional 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 fianc 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 1970 1348 1357 434 19 De Moeilijkheid Bij Poesjkin Is, Dat Zijn Werk Zo Gewoon Is, Aldus Karel Van Het Reve In Zijn Geschiedenis Van De Russische Literatuur Maar Ook Stelt Hij Vast Wat Hem Van Zijn Tijdgenoten Onderscheidt Is Wat Mozart Van Zijn Tijdgenoten Onderscheidt Hoe Waar Dit Laatste Is Blijkt Eens Te Meer Uit Deze Roman In Verzen, Het Meesterwerk Van Aleksandr Poesjkin Dat, Opnieuw Volgens Van Het Reve, De Volgende Geschiedenis Bevat Jevgeni Onegin, Een Jongeman Uit Petersburg, Raakt Bevriend Met De Dichter Lenski, Die Vrijt Met Een Naburig Meisje Olga, Die Weer Een Zuster Tatjana Heeft Deze Tatjana Wordt Verliefd Op Onegin Maar Hij Wijst Haar Vriendelijk Af Een Ruzie Om Niets Leidt Tot Een Duel Onegin Lenski, Waarbij Lenski Gedood Wordt Onegin Vertrekt Tatjana Treurt, Wordt Naar Moskou Gereden Om Een Man Te Vinden En Trouwt Om Van Het Gezeur Af Te Zijn Met Een Dikke Generaal Als Onegin Jaren Later Tatjana Weer Ontmoet, Wordt Hij Op Haar Verliefd Nu Echter Wijst Tatjana Hem Af, Niet Omdat Ze Niet Van Hem Houdt, Maar Omdat Zij Haar Man Nu Eenmaal Trouw Beloofd Heeft Deze Uitgave Bevat Zowel De Nederlandse Als De Russische Tekst Van Jevgeni Onegin 1Have you ever dreamt in verses,Woke to thoughts that tapped in terces,Units measured in finger tips,Rhymes recurring on your lips,Your whole mind on metre bent,All prose thoughts, elsewhere sent That s what comes of reading Pushkin,Late nights spent with his Onegin.Scanning lines til eyelids droop,And all your thoughts are in a loop.Counting, counting, metres, feet,Endless tapping, then repeat 2Woe to the reader, used to proseWho seeks to fathom Eugene s pose,Who must daily exerce her ear And 1Have you ever dreamt in verses,Woke to thoughts that tapped in terces,Units measured in finger tips,Rhymes recurring on your lips,Your whole mind on metre bent,All prose thoughts, elsewhere sent That s what comes of reading Pushkin,Late nights spent with his Onegin.Scanning lines til eyelids droop,And all your thoughts are in a loop.Counting, counting, metres, feet,Endless tapping, then repeat 2Woe to the reader, used to proseWho seeks to fathom Eugene s pose,Who must daily exerce her ear And progress slowly, full of fear.What if this poem, she can t finish,In her eyes she will diminish.But with practice, she gained speed,And Pushkin s verses, learned to read,Til soon she saw with failing heartThat she and Eugene soon must part.The end loomed near, mere pages left,She knew full well she d be bereft.3But now let s talk of Pushkin s styleWhich she s observing all the while,As eyes scan lines, and pages turn,And poet thoughts by midnight burn,Wondering, wondering, this If what she reads is even his The story, yes, she knows that is.The verse form too, most likely, yes.But oh, how far the language stridesFrom his chosen words, miles and miles.But she reads them how she may, With thanks to Mr Mitchell, Stanley But hush I hear an awesome criticCry Drop your wreath of elegies, So miserable and pathetic, And to us rhymesters bellow CeaseYour whimpering and endless croaking About those times you keep invoking, Regretting what is past, what s gone Enough Sing us another song 4 But where s Onegin, by the way Let s meet the hero of the day.We ve heard the narrator, Mitchell style,So now with Onegin we ll whileA little time away in verse, andSee him just as Pushkin planned Childe Harold to a T, Onegin Lapsed into pensive indolenceBrooding, brooding, among his books,Shunning, shunning, other folks,Guards his heart from all soft feeling,Tho teaching lessons, not resisting, False love to his friend revealing,And keen, harsh truths to introduceTo one whom truth loves far too much.5And what of Tatiana, pray We ll let the narrator have his say A wayward, silent, sad young maiden, Shy as a doe, in forest hidden, She seemed inside her family A stranger, an anomaly By children s games was not beguiled To skip or play, but often, rather, Would at a window silently Sit on her own throughout the day.And so we have our brooding pair Both, loving books and winter s air, And we know Pushkin will indeedHis Eugene and his Tanya leadWhere truth will love so harshly slay,And love for truth, drive love away.6In praise of both, I do confess, I, too, am glad to pen a verse, Secure in my presupposition That any zealous rot of mine Will merit a regard benign, And not the solemn inquisition Of those, who, with their wicked smile, Appraise my nonsense by its style. 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 bethan a curiosity.Tolstoy called this the major influence for Anna Karenina, and you can see it He kinda took this story and said what if, at a crucial moment, things had gone differently The point I m thinking of, if you re interested, is the duel view spoiler Karenin considers dueling Vronsky which choice would surely have ended the same way Onegin s with Lensky does but chickens out hide spoiler So if you read these two together it s basically like a really long Choose Your Own Adventure with only one choice Rad And as an added bonus, Pushkin includes what I m cheerfully going to assume is the most beautiful ode to foot fetishes ever written It s five stanzas long, so that s 70 lines of foot fetishing, including hits like this Once by the sea, a storm impending,I recollect my envy ofThe waves, successively descending,,Collapsing at her feet with love.Oh how I wished to join their racesAnd catch her feet in my embraces 1.32Almost makes you wish had a foot fetish so you could really get into that bit I used to know a dude like that His nickname was seriously Sniffer Anyway, but in case you re not Sniffer, here s a stanza that s not about feet, so you can get a feel for how good this shit is Let me glance back Farewell, you arboursWhere, in the backwoods, I recallDays filled with indolence and ardoursAnd dreaming of a pensive soul.And you, my youthful inspiration,Keep stirring my imagination,My heart s inertia vivify,More often to my corner fly.Let not a poet s soul be frozen,Made rough and hard, reduced to boneAnd finally be turned to stoneIn that benumbing world he goes in,In that intoxicating sloughWhere, friends, we bathe together now VI.46Right And if that doesn t kick your ass, you re no friend of mine.Frankly, even if it does we re probably not friends But we could be, if you want And then, from all a heart finds tenderI tore my own an alien soul,Without allegiances, I vanished,Thinking that liberty and peaceCould take the place of happiness.My God, how wrong, how I ve been punishedAlexander Pushkin, Chapter VIIIContradictions We are made of dreams and contradictions We want something and after getting it, we don t want it any But there s even abitter 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 tenderI tore my own an alien soul,Without allegiances, I vanished,Thinking that liberty and peaceCould take the place of happiness.My God, how wrong, how I ve been punishedAlexander Pushkin, Chapter VIIIContradictions We are made of dreams and contradictions We want something and after getting it, we don t want it any But there s even abitter 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 Thewe spend our time yearning for a fictional life, thewe lose our own I always enjoy reading about amazing cities and great people I ll never meet I usually find theminteresting than people I ve actually met But I set my boundaries I don t want to miss getting to know awesome people in real life they certainly exist, somewhere for a life full of fiction The world of books is a rewarding world that I ll never leave behind, but the one I see out there, is the only one I can truly experience, inhabited by people that can actually answer my questions, soothe my pain and be happy because of my own happiness This is a book where real life and fiction are too close to distinguish one from the other.This novel in verse tells the story of Eugene Onegin, a man that doesn t seem to be quite excited of taking care of his dying uncle But, oh my God, what desolationTo tend a sick man day and nightAnd not to venture from his sight What shameful cunning to be cheerfulWith someone who is halfway dead,To prop up pillows by his head,To bring him medicine, looking tearful,To sigh while inwardly you think When will the devil let him sink Chapter I, Stanza I Through Pushkin s witty and ironic writing we see that Eugene is not exactly a person full of integrity and generosity After the death of this uncle, he inherited his land and moved to the country.Eugene is depicted as a dandy perfect hair and clothes, fond of dances and everything that characterized high society A young man with charm and mind A pedant, yet an able lad In conclusion, an arrogant moron Do you see the clear difference between his words and mine That leads me to my next point.I always say I kind of prefer writing over plot I can deal with a simple plot if it s wonderfully written And this is a fair example of that The plot is quite simple therefore, I can t write about it it s all about Pushkin s talent a beautiful writing that can mesmerize even the most detached human being of the planet However, do not get the wrong idea The plot may be simple, but he still managed to deal in few pages with the higher and most degrading aspects of human nature We have an arrogant and shallow main character, a strong female character that loved to read, an interesting twist, many references to other authors and books literary anxiety levels are increasing by the minute , a complicated ending and Pushkin s superb style and clever insights I can t ask for anythingI 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 farsuperior Both kept a correct rhyming, but Mitchell s flows like water, losing all kind of stiff archaisms And, needless to say, his notes are extremely helpful By the way, Nabokov s translation is coming, soon And then, I shall meet Mr Arndt Still, I can t imagine what reading Pushkin s poetry in Russian must be like A delightful experience, I m sure.Anyway, this masterful poet s words should end this review Beautiful words that irradiate hope That s the thing about Pushkin no matter how unpleasant what he s describing might be or how profound his character s pain seems to be, I can always find hope in him Always Whatever, reader, your opinion,A friend or foe, I wish to partWith you today like a companion.Farewell Whatever you may chartAmong these careless lines, reflections Whether tumultuous recollectionsOr light relief from labour s yoke,The lively image, witty jokeOr the mistakes I ve made in grammar God grant you find here just a grainTo warm the heart, to entertain,To feed a dream, and cause a clamourWith journals and their clientele,Upon which, let us part, farewell Chapter VIII, Stanza 49 March 24, 14 Also on my blog 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 isthan 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 givesof a sense in English of Pushkin s lasting influence, skill and subtly than the poetry What could I possibly say that would beinteresting or beautiful than Nabokov s own comments In case you haven t seen them On Translating Eugene Onegin1What is translation On a platterA poet s pale and glaring head,A parrot s screech, a monkey s chatter,And profanation of the dead.The parasites you were so hard onAre pardoned if I have your pardon,O, Pushkin, for my stratagem I traveled down your secret stem,And reached the root, and fed upon it Then, in a language newly learned,I grew an What could I possibly say that would beinteresting or beautiful than Nabokov s own comments In case you haven t seen them On Translating Eugene Onegin1What is translation On a platterA poet s pale and glaring head,A parrot s screech, a monkey s chatter,And profanation of the dead.The parasites you were so hard onAre pardoned if I have your pardon,O, Pushkin, for my stratagem I traveled down your secret stem,And reached the root, and fed upon it Then, in a language newly learned,I grew another stalk and turnedYour stanza patterned on a sonnet,Into my honest roadside prose All thorn, but cousin to your rose.2Reflected words can only shiverLike elongated lights that twistIn the black mirror of a riverBetween the city and the mist.Elusive Pushkin Persevering,I still pick up Tatiana s earring,Still travel with your sullen rake.I find another man s mistake,I analyze alliterationsThat grace your feasts and haunt the greatFourth stanza of your Canto Eight.This is my task a poet s patienceAnd scholastic passion blent Dove droppings on your monument 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.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 havethan 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 Douglas Hofstadter, in his informative but self indulgentLe Ton beau de Marot , devotes over 500 pages to the subject of translating a 28 line poem from French to English The book is filled with a multitude of attempts, each with its own character, its own aims in conveying some element of the original, and each differing significantly in style, language and emotion There is a seemingly infinite linguistic freedom and complexity in the translation of even a poem of just 60 words, between Douglas Hofstadter, in his informative but self indulgentLe Ton beau de Marot , devotes over 500 pages to the subject of translating a 28 line poem from French to English The book is filled with a multitude of attempts, each with its own character, its own aims in conveying some element of the original, and each differing significantly in style, language and emotion There is a seemingly infinite linguistic freedom and complexity in the translation of even a poem of just 60 words, between languages that are virtual siblings By comparison, Eugene Onegin is a poetic novel consisting of over 200 pages, which utilises a poetry of grammar completely alien to English understanding What is left, then, must be regarded as a vague ghost of the original, and it would be pure folly to attempt an earnest review Perhaps all that survives the distortion of translation are the most salient and immutable elements the captivating story itself Pushkin s playful genius and his eclectic passion and enthusiasm As for the rest, I will leave that to the judgement of the great Russian writers, who have universally regarded Onegin as one of the singular works of Russian literature 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 PV 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 , 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 plentydependent 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 rhymespleasing to the ear, less pat, than many of those Briggs uses, so perhaps I d still prefer his version Perhaps what I am really looking for is the equivalent of Edna St Vincent Millay s Flowers of Evil, a highly liberal translation that uses the essential sense of the poems to create a n IMO beautiful work that sounds like true poetry in English For the reader who d prefer a thorough, scholarly intro of the Penguin Oxford ilk, Briggs isn t terrible He provides a thorough and persuasive case for calling the protagonist Yevgeny Onegin in English, due to the name s musicality and scansion, and how this metrical beauty is at odds with the anti hero s conduct Otherwise, it omitted useful points cultural background which I at least had via reading Tolstoy in the last few years, and I see how scenes in Onegin likely inspired some in War and Peace and the poet narrator and his relationship with his muse as a significant feature of the poem it took the blurb of another edition on GR to make me notice that and not near skim those stanzas as inconsequential fluff interrupting the real story Briggs also spent time on a critical debate about Onegin s moral character in a manner superfluous for the first time reader, as he reaches the same conclusion Pushkin does in the poem His secret inner court will hearHim charged with multiple offences Charge One He had been wrong to jeerAt timid, tender love so easilyAnd so off handedly that evening.Charge Two The poet might have beenAn ass, but this, at just eighteen,Could be excused Judge whose fault this is Yevgeny deeply loved the youth,And should have proved to be, in truth,No mere plaything of prejudices,No fiery, strapping lad, but anHonourable and thinking man Onegin, packed with of its time cultural references, desperately needs annotations, and this Pushkin Press edition sadly has none From chapter two, a handful of the many examples I ve at least heard of Sir Charles Grandison but wouldn t mind a reminder about plot and character, and it s hardly one of the best known bits of British C18th lit would have liked something on origin and reputation of the following gothic behaviour, implied as a French import She took to using blood when scrawlingIn sweet girls albums and in the same stanza, re Russification as she restored without mishapThe padded robe and floppy cap, some background to whose presumed nationalistic significance could, I think, only add to the edition.This same allusiveness gives the poem a satirical, flippant air I hadn t anticipated At first I was in two minds about use of noticeably contemporary phrases a lodging with decent storage a dashing officer who s the delight of local mums but soon felt they sharpened the text After all, the poem, picking over the s 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 endI say, who is that lady, Prince,There in the raspberry coloured beret,Near the ambassador from SpainHowever, 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 Mo tI 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 , 1830 Among my favourite of the human scenes was when Tatyana, pining for Evgeny, reads his favourite books to try and understand him, and instead finds them an excellent way to get over him And my Tatyana comes by stagesTo understand the very man Depicted clearly as outrageous Destined for her by some weird plan,Sent to unsettle and derange her,A maverick oddball bringing danger,A child of heaven, of hell perchance,Devil and god of arrogance.What is he A copy of mischances,A ghost of nothingness, a joke,A Russian in Childe Harold s cloak,A ragbag of imported fancies,A catchphrase monger and a sham.Is heparody than man I ve done similar in my time sometimes the books or films are a key, sometimes they are not not everyone sees themselves in their favourites, or loves works that reflect themselves, though Evgeny clearly did But thankfully, in the early twenty first century, it is easy to get one s own copies of those titles remembered, no trespass required.Sardonic archness wasn t what I expected from Russian epic verse, so for some time I wondered whether this was a property of the translation British dry wit or of the original The duel scene and its immediate aftermath altered my opinion it was clearly meant to be that way The stanzas from the fight itself were marked by an instantaneous a change of tone, gripping and utterly immediate, like a movie scene Out come the pistols how they dazzle ,The ramrods plunge, the mallets knock,The leaden balls roll down the channels,The triggers click, the guns are cocked.The greyish powder streams out, steady,Into the pan, while, waiting ready,The solid, jagged, screwed down flintStands primed Guillot can just be glimpsedLurking behind a stump, much worried.The two foes cast their cloaks aside.Zaretsky walks thirty two stridesWith an exactitude unhurried,Then leads each friend to his far place.They draw their pistols from the case.On its heels, verse reminiscent of one of Hilaire Belloc s Cautionaries, only for slightly older boys But the most fun comes from insistingOn plans for a noble death, somehowFixating on the man s pale brow,And aiming coolly from a distance.But sending him to kingdom come Surely you won t find that much fun.Afterwards, there was profound feeling, which soon admixed back into the former social irony and the odd Keatesian landscape The original s emotional trajectory, and the translator s control of his material became clear my respect for Briggs increased again.Friends who know my tastes will not be surprised to hear that it was mostly the stanzas about peasant customs, and winter, on which I was most swept away I m not sure whether these were also qualitatively better in translation than plenty of others, or if I m simply so very susceptible to this type of scenery I suspect the latter, because so many of the spring and summer verses bored me Through the cold murk the dawn comes searching,The noisy field work has tailed off,The wolf is on the road, emergingWith his half starving lady wolf.A passing horse scents him and bridles,Snorting, at which the wary riderGallops away uphill flat out.At dawn no herdsmen are about,Bringing to pasture hungry cattle,At noon no horn is heard to singAnd bring the cows into a ring.And girls stay home to sing and rattleTheir spinning wheels Friendly and bright,The pine logs sting the winter nightA tubby goose, red footed, fearful,Hoping to breast the waters, crawlsGingerly out, but skids and fallsUpon the ice Here comes the cheerfulFirst fall of whirling, gleaming snow,Star scattered on the banks belowRiding the prairie wild, of course, isPerilous for your blunt shod horses,Who stumble on the treacherous iceAnd down they clatter in a trice.Stay in your bleak homestead Try reading Here is your Pradt, here s Walter Scott Or go through your accounts, if not,Or fume, or drink The endless eveningWill somehow pass, tomorrow too.I ve not read enough classic English poetry lately to be confident in comparing the quality for instance, with Byron, one of Pushkin s inspirations, and whose verse forms Briggs hoped to emulate but I have included ample quotes, so you may be able to make up your mind whether Briggs translation is for you, if you wanted to read Onegin in the first place Incidentally, does anyone else worry about whether reading Russian lit now means , something unsavoury, compared with even six months ago not the same configuration as it might have forty years ago, soconfusing 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 thetypically early nineteenth century themes if it were accompanied by adetailed introduction, and some notes, I dreadily recommend it the lack of either is always a drawback to an edition of a classic, as far as I m concerned Like so much great literature of its time, Onegin is a story of youngsters and their betrothal intrigues, but the irony and detachment means that it may still appeal to those who are no longer in that phase of life though I do think there much to be said for reading classics before or around that time , including those whose years have now outspanned Pushkin s own A few days after reading, I ve noticed that there s an Everyman edition ofYevgeny Onegin same spelling from 1995 translated by Briggs As this Pushkin Press one clearly says English language translation copyright A.D.P Briggs, 2016 , I m assuming that it s is a revised version although surely not entirely new as the blurb suggests Thank you to Edelweiss, and the publisher, Pushkin Press, for this free advance review copy.

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