Eugene Onegin: A Novel in Verse: Text / Edition 2

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Overview

"In an era of inept and ignorant imitations, whose piped-in background music has hypnotized innocent readers into fearing literality's salutary jolt, some reviewers were upset by the humble fidelity of my version. . . ." Such was Vladimir Nabokov's response to the storm of controversy aroused by the first edition of his literal translation of Eugene Onegin. This bold rendering of the Russian masterpiece, together with Nabokov's detailed and witty commentary, is itself a work of enduring literary interest, and reflects a lifelong admiration for Pushkin on the part of one of this century's most brilliant stylists.

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Editorial Reviews

Slavic and East European Journal
Perhaps [Nabokov's] ultimate masterpiece.
— J. Thomas Shaw
The New York Times
Mr. Nabokov has not merely rendered the most precious gem of Russia's poetic heritage into limpid, literal poetic translation. He has given Pushkin's wondrous lines the glow and sparkle of their Russian original.
— Harrison E. Salisbury
The New York Times - Harrison E. Salisbury
Mr. Nabokov has not merely rendered the most precious gem of Russia's poetic heritage into limpid, literal poetic translation. He has given Pushkin's wondrous lines the glow and sparkle of their Russian original.
Slavic and East European Journal - J. Thomas Shaw
Perhaps [Nabokov's] ultimate masterpiece.
From the Publisher
"Mr. Nabokov has not merely rendered the most precious gem of Russia's poetic heritage into limpid, literal poetic translation. He has given Pushkin's wondrous lines the glow and sparkle of their Russian original."—Harrison E. Salisbury, The New York Times

"Perhaps [Nabokov's] ultimate masterpiece."—J. Thomas Shaw, Slavic and East European Journal

The New York Times

Mr. Nabokov has not merely rendered the most precious gem of Russia's poetic heritage into limpid, literal poetic translation. He has given Pushkin's wondrous lines the glow and sparkle of their Russian original.
— Harrison E. Salisbury
Slavic and East European Journal

Perhaps [Nabokov's] ultimate masterpiece.
— J. Thomas Shaw
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691019055
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/1991
  • Series: Bollingen Series (General) Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 362
  • Sales rank: 666,676
  • Product dimensions: 4.88 (w) x 7.96 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Vladimir Nabokov
Readers of Vladimir Nabokov's books might be slightly uncomfortable with them, were they not so awe-inspiring. Nabokov had a penchant for writing about the tragic and the taboo; but his erudite, inventive approach to narration -- buttressed by his formidable academic and cultural intellect -- made him a literary legend.

Biography

Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov was born on April 23, 1899, in St. Petersburg, Russia. The Nabokovs were known for their high culture and commitment to public service, and the elder Nabokov was an outspoken opponent of antisemitism and one of the leaders of the opposition party, the Kadets. In 1919, following the Bolshevik revolution, he took his family into exile. Four years later he was shot and killed at a political rally in Berlin while trying to shield the speaker from right-wing assassins.

The Nabokov household was trilingual, and as a child Nabokov was already reading Wells, Poe, Browning, Keats, Flaubert, Verlaine, Rimbaud, Tolstoy, and Chekhov, alongside the popular entertainments of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Jules Verne. As a young man, he studied Slavic and romance languages at Trinity College, Cambridge, taking his honors degree in 1922. For the next eighteen years he lived in Berlin and Paris, writing prolifically in Russian under the pseudonym Sirin and supporting himself through translations, lessons in English and tennis, and by composing the first crossword puzzles in Russian. In 1925 he married Vera Slonim, with whom he had one child, a son, Dmitri.

Having already fled Russia and Germany, Nabokov became a refugee once more in 1940, when he was forced to leave France for the United States. There he taught at Wellesley, Harvard, and Cornell. He also gave up writing in Russian and began composing fiction in English. In his afterword to Lolita he claimed: "My private tragedy, which cannot, and indeed should not, be anybody's concern, is that I had to abandon my natural idiom, my untrammeled, rich, and infinitely docile Russian tongue for a second-rate brand of English, devoid of any of those apparatuses -- the baffling mirror, the black velvet backdrop, the implied associations and traditions -- which the native illusionist, frac-tails flying, can magically use to transcend the heritage in his own way." [p. 317] Yet Nabokov's American period saw the creation of what are arguably his greatest works, Bend Sinister (1947), Lolita (1955), Pnin (1957), and Pale Fire (1962), as well as the translation of his earlier Russian novels into English. He also undertook English translations of works by Lermontov and Pushkin and wrote several books of criticism. Vladimir Nabokov died in Montreux, Switzerland, in 1977.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Vladimir Sirin
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 23, 1899
    2. Place of Birth:
      St. Petersburg, Russia
    1. Date of Death:
      July 2, 1977
    2. Place of Death:
      Montreux, Switzerland

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  • Posted October 28, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A must read!

    I heart it!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2007

    Fascinating

    I read this book after watching a movie on the story. One thing for sure is that James Falen did a perfect job on the translation of EUGENE ONEGIN. Much of the Russian nature of glows in this English translation, brining out the humor, wittiness, emotions, grief, sadness and vitality of the original story, which mirrored the Russian society at the time Pushkin lived. The lessons from the story are strong. Never fight against somebody who is not out to hurt you even if you feel he hurt your pride. That was the case between Eugene and his friend and neighbor Vladimir Lensky, which ends tragically over a nonexistent rivalry over Olga Larin: Another lesson is to appreciate the genuine and selfless love of others for, especially when we are lost in life. That was the case of Olga's sister Tatiana, whom Eugene initially rejects, only to fall in love with her later at a time when she had lost faith in him and had committed herself to a man she did not love but respected. Pushkin himself could be seen in the writing. The loss of what we did not know we loved is the overriding theme in this book. In this direction, there are many lessons to learn from Russia .We can see that in UNION MOUJIK, WAR AND PEACE.I enjoyed reading this book, so if you are undecided about reading it, pick it up and do yourself a favor by knowing about this great work of art.

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