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Евгений Онегин [BOOKS] ✯ Евгений Онегин Author Alexander Pushkin – Thomashillier.co.uk Eugene Onegin is the master work of the poet whom Russians regard as the fountainhead of their literature Set in imperial Russia during the 1820s Pushkin's novel in verse follows the emotions and dest Eugene Onegin is the master work of the poet whom Russians regard as the fountainhead of their literature Set in imperial Russia during the s 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 reader 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 romantic poet into 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 The introduction examines several ways of reading the novel and the text is richly annotated.


10 thoughts on “Евгений Онегин

  1. Nataliya Nataliya says:

    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 TatyanaIt's the first time we dare To grace with such a name The tender pages of a novel' seem outright sillyYes the familiarity of Russians with 'Evgeniy Onegin' is uite 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 mindsAnd 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 themDid 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 and 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 actuallyThe 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 Tatyana 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 Tatyana who delivers a famous line that although she still loves Evgeniy she belongs to another and will be forever faithful to him End of storyWhat 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 uniue 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 funEvgeniy 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 enad 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 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 LarinaTatyana Larina in contrast to Evgeniy has always been the darling of Russian literature She is viewed as uniuely 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 rightThat'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 uestion her place on the pedestal of ultimate Russian womanhood and because of that actually made her dear and relatable to meYou 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 uiet introspective shy pale and dreamy young woman very well having internalized the idea of a romantic heroine Her love is likely no 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 happyTatyana three years later having turned into a refined Petersburg married lady commanding respect and admiration appears a much 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 conseuences that followedAn 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 storyPushkin seems to have felt the societal conventions very well to so exuisitely 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 laterWhat 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 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 had 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 45 stars and extra respect from my mother for having reread it and that ultimately is priceless


  2. Ahmad Sharabiani Ahmad Sharabiani says:

    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 publicationIn the 1820's Eugene Onegin is a bored St Petersburg dandy whose life consists of balls concerts parties and nothing 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 uiet 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 uickly grow bored with marriage and can only offer Tatyana friendship; he coldly advises 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 uits 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 uestion 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 reacuainted 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 destinyتاریخ نخستین خوانش روز بیست و ششم دسامبر سال 1970 میلادیعنوان یِوگِنی آنِه گین اوژن اونه گین؛ نویسنده الکساندر پوشکین؛ مترجم منوچهر وثوقی نیا؛ تهران، گوتنبرگ، 1348، چاپ دوم 1357؛ در 434ص؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان روسیه سده 19مشاهکاری 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 میگذارددر «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 کنمهرچه باداباد با دست ملتهب و خواستار، این مجموعه ای از فصول رنگارنگ را، بپذیر، مجموعه ای مضحک و تقریبا تاثرآور، عامیانه، ممتاز و ایده آل، ثمرات ناقابل تفنن، بیخوابیها، الهامات سبک ایام نارسی و جوانی، و پیری و پژمردگی من، بررسیها و مشهودات عاری از احساسات عقل، و هیجانات و تاثرات تلخ دل و جانسپس فصل نخست هم در زیستن عجله دارد و هم در احساس، شتاب عموی من قوانین قابل احترامی داشت و ؛ پایان نقلاگر 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


  3. Fionnuala Fionnuala says:

    1Have you ever dreamt in versesWoke to thoughts that tapped in tercesUnits measured in finger tipsRhymes recurring on your lipsYour whole mind on metre bentAll prose thoughts elsewhere sent?That's what comes of reading PushkinLate nights spent with his OneginScanning lines til eyelids droopAnd all your thoughts are in a loopCounting counting metres feetEndless tapping then repeat 2Woe to the reader used to proseWho seeks to fathom Eugene's poseWho must daily exerce her ear And progress slowly full of fearWhat if this poem she can't finishIn her eyes she will diminishBut with practice she gained speedAnd Pushkin's verses learned to readTil soon she saw with failing heartThat she and Eugene soon must partThe end loomed near mere pages leftShe knew full well she'd be bereft3But now let's talk of Pushkin's styleWhich she's observing all the whileAs eyes scan lines and pages turnAnd poet thoughts by midnight burnWondering wondering thisIf what she reads is even his? The story yes she knows that isThe verse form too most likely yesBut oh how far the language stridesFrom his chosen words miles and milesBut 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 dayWe've heard the narrator Mitchell styleSo 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 booksShunning shunning other folksGuards his heart from all soft feelingTho teaching lessons not resisting False love to his friend revealingAnd keen harsh truths to introduceTo one whom truth loves far too much5And 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 dayAnd 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 slayAnd love for truth drive love away6In 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 inuisition Of those who with their wicked smile Appraise my nonsense by its style


  4. Alex Alex says:

    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 uatrain 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 somehowIt 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 rhymesThe 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 than a curiosityTolstoy 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 spoilerKarenin considers dueling Vronsky which choice would surely have ended the same way Onegin's with Lensky does but chickens out hide spoiler


  5. Florencia Florencia says:

    And then from all a heart finds tenderI tore my own; an alien soulWithout allegiances I vanishedThinking that liberty and peaceCould take the place of happinessMy God how wrong how I’ve been punished Alexander Pushkin Chapter VIIIContradictions We are made of dreams and contradictions We want something and after getting it we don't want it any But there's even a 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 we spend our time yearning for a fictional life the we lose our own I always enjoy reading about amazing cities and great people I'll never meet; I usually find them 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 uestions 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 otherThis novel in verse tells the story of Eugene Onegin a man that doesn't seem to be uite 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 sightWhat shameful cunning to be cheerfulWith someone who is halfway deadTo prop up pillows by his headTo bring him medicine looking tearfulTo sigh – while inwardly you thinkWhen will the devil let him sink?Chapter I Stanza IThrough 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 countryEugene 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 pointI 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 uite 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 I LOVED this bookI 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 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 sureAnyway 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 opinionA friend or foe I wish to partWith you today like a companionFarewell Whatever you may chartAmong these careless lines reflections –Whether tumultuous recollectionsOr light relief from labour’s yokeThe lively image witty jokeOr the mistakes I’ve made in grammar –God grant you find here just a grainTo warm the heart to entertainTo feed a dream and cause a clamourWith journals and their clienteleUpon which let us part farewellChapter VIII Stanza 49March 24 14 Also on my blog


  6. Jan-Maat Jan-Maat says:

    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 readPushkin 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 than one translation available so you pay your money and make your choiceThe 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 himThe 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 behaviourIt is a text that is open to a range of readings as Tchaikovsky's later syrupy opera shows yet always has something new to offerThe 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 establishedview 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


  7. Kalliope Kalliope says:

    I finally read this marvel of a novel poem? Inevitably I have felt for a long time daunted by the stature of the work but now after finishing it I feel both still daunted and surprised because it was a much easier read than I had expected While reading it the Onegin story rarely jumped at me This very simple story which I knew beforehand kept receding into the background behind the text Instead it was as if I were sitting with the Author who kept changing chairs with a masked Narrator and to whose musings I listened eagerly Luckily my edition provided excellent notes that clarified many of the references Some were very specific to the Russia of the time or to specific writers that now would be known only to specialists But others elucidated aspects such as the very many literary puns and parodies and ironic verses that could not touch my literary sensibility as it would have done to Pushkin’s contemporaries – and for these I was sorry I was not naturallyculturally euipped The pastiches on neoclassical strophes and the satirical references to the fresher romanticism just cannot have the same effect to a 21st century reader as the writer would have desired And yet in spite of the complex literary texture of the poem that was relayed to me indirectly I highly enjoyed the open and candid tone of the narrator tremendously and particularly as said earlier the very particular rapport the author establishes with his reader As with the other two works by Pushkin Ruslan and Ludmila and Boris Godounov I read this while watching their operatic versions than a hundred operas have been composed based on his writings – three by Tchaikovsky And it is somewhat paradoxical that given that the plot is the least striking aspect of the poem it should be the story what has invited an operatic rendition Tchaikovsky was born in 1840 that is three years after the death of Pushkin and composed this opera in 1879 roughly half a century after the novel was published in complete form The composer was directly involved in the libretto which meant that Pushkin’s exact lines were respected as much as possible Striking is also that Tchaikovsky composed this with the specific intention that it should not be performed by professionals He was seeking a freshness that in his view seasoned singers could not provide may be the fact that Wagner’s Ring had just been premiered could have felt slightly intimidating leading Tchaikovsky to play in a different league Another striking feature is that Tchaikovsky has Eugene sang by a baritone voice while the tenor is the unfortunate Lensky The composer also omits Eugene’s Letter in his version And talking about letters it can only be perceived as uncanny that Tchaikovsky finished the opera at around the time when he met and uickly married Antonina Miliukova who had addressed him a similar passionate letter as young Tatiana had sent Onegin I watched two versions of the opera – both produced by the Met One with Renée Fleming and the my preferred one with Anna Netrebko I wonder what Tchaikovsky would have thought of his young Tatiana being impersonated by such seasoned sopranos I was delighted To return to the text my edition is bilingual with the Spanish also rendered in verse It also includes a fascinating Note on the Translation by Mijail Chílikov Apart from explaining the difficulties of rendering the rhymes of an ‘analytical’ language to a ‘synthetic’ one which means that the former relies on a complex flexing system for its syntax versus the reliance on a plethora of articles prepositions and other particles of the latter which mess up the syllable count Chílikov also explained the structure of Pushkin’s strophes with the alternating malefemale rhymes and the rhythm of the tonics And this made me think that there must have been a musical reason and a framework basis for Tchaikovsky’s wish to keep Pushkin’s text as it was that it went well beyond a general respect for the great literary figure So it is not just the plot that links these two works There is also the musicality of the inner structure


  8. Emma Emma says:

    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 have 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 uite 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 collectionMany thanks to Pushkin Press and Netgalley for this copy in exchange for an honest review


  9. Edward Edward says:

    Douglas Hofstadter in his informative but self indulgent Le 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


  10. Antonomasia Antonomasia says:

    ARC review 2016 Pushkin Press edition translated by Anthony Briggs375? 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 ubiuitous 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 ueen 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 uite often makes good recommendations but admitted himself that he was no expert on Pushkin translationI 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 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 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 euivalent of Edna St Vincent Millay's Flowers of Evil a highly liberal translation that uses the essential sense of the poems to create an IMO beautiful work that sounds like true poetry in EnglishFor the reader who'd prefer a thorough scholarly intro of the PenguinOxford 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 inconseuential 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 offencesCharge One He had been wrong to jeerAt timid tender love so easilyAnd so off handedly that eveningCharge Two The poet might have beenAn ass but this at just eighteenCould be excused Judge whose fault this isYevgeny deeply loved the youthAnd should have proved to be in truthNo mere plaything of prejudicesNo 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 editionThis 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 end “I say who is that lady PrinceThere in the raspberry coloured beretNear 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 Clicuot—or is it Moët? I think that was when Robbie Williams' 'Party Like a Russian' started playing in my headFor much of the poem I didn't feel a great deal for the characters I was sorry for the infatuated Tatyana I felt that fiction and film gave me a similarly misleading impression of social life and romance when I was younger but it was a sympathy often out of step with the ironic relating of the silly girl's fandoms and mopings May as well have been watching a black comedy about hipsters Натан Ячмень Москва 1830? Among my favourite of the human scenes was when Tatyana pining for Evgeny reads his favourite books to try and understand him and instead finds them an excellent way to get over him And my Tatyana comes by stagesTo understand the very manDepicted clearly as outrageous?Destined for her by some weird planSent to unsettle and derange herA maverick oddball bringing dangerA child of heaven of hell perchanceDevil and god of arroganceWhat is he? A copy of mischancesA ghost of nothingness a jokeA Russian in Childe Harold’s cloakA ragbag of imported fanciesA catchphrase monger and a shamIs he 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 reuiredSardonic 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 dazzleThe ramrods plunge the mallets knockThe leaden balls roll down the channelsThe triggers click the guns are cockedThe greyish powder streams out steadyInto the pan while waiting readyThe solid jagged screwed down flintStands primed Guillot can just be glimpsedLurking behind a stump much worriedThe two foes cast their cloaks asideZaretsky walks thirty two stridesWith an exactitude unhurriedThen leads each friend to his far placeThey draw their pistols from the caseOn 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 browAnd aiming coolly from a distanceBut sending him to kingdom come—Surely you won’t find that much funAfterwards 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 againFriends 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 ualitatively 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 searchingThe noisy field work has tailed offThe wolf is on the road emergingWith his half starving lady wolfA passing horse scents him and bridlesSnorting at which the wary riderGallops away uphill flat outAt dawn no herdsmen are aboutBringing to pasture hungry cattleAt noon no horn is heard to singAnd bring the cows into a ringAnd girls stay home to sing and rattleTheir spinning wheels Friendly and brightThe pine logs sting the winter nightA tubby goose red footed fearfulHoping to breast the waters crawlsGingerly out but skids and fallsUpon the ice Here comes the cheerfulFirst fall of whirling gleaming snowStar scattered on the banks belowRiding the prairie wild of course isPerilous for your blunt shod horsesWho stumble on the treacherous iceAnd down they clatter in a triceStay in your bleak homestead Try reading—Here is your Pradt here’s Walter Scott—Or go through your accounts if notOr fume or drink The endless eveningWill somehow pass tomorrow tooI've not read enough classic English poetry lately to be confident in comparing the uality for instance with Byron one of Pushkin's inspirations and whose verse forms Briggs hoped to emulate but I have included ample uotes 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 placeIncidentally 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 so 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 typically early nineteenth century themes; if it were accompanied by a detailed introduction and some notes I'd 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 ADP 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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