Saturday, 7 December 2013

Eugene Onegin Read-Along

Marian at Tanglewood is having a Eugene Onegin Read-Along for 5 weeks beginning January 7, 2014.  Pushkin was seen as setting the foundation for Russian literature so if you are looking for an introduction, this work is a wonderful place to start.

Here is the schedule:

Ch. 1 & 2 - January 7 to 16
Ch. 3 & 4 - January 16 to 25
Ch. 5 & 6 - January 25 - February 3
Ch. 7 & 8 - February 3 to 12

She has decided to allow 1 1/2 weeks per every two chapters, which seems like a decent balance between going at a regular clip and dragging on too long.

Please see the Tanglewood blog for further instructions and also a lovely calendar for a visual schedule of the read.

Since I just finished reading Eugene Onegin, I am very excited to be participating in the discussion of Pushkin's "untranslatable" poem.  Thanks for organizing the read, Marian!


  1. It's very tempting to join this read-along! I just might do it (although January is now heavily weighted with events on my calendar). I saw your comment in my email, but for some reason it didn't show up on the blog--it should have been in the moderation box and wasn't. But my translation is by Babette Deutsch. I would love to read a different one to compare, if you have a recommendation for a translator!

    1. Please join in Jean! Since you've read it before you can't actually look at it as a full book, can you? ;-) How is that for trying to convince you? I know what you mean though; my January is looking very full, but I try not to think about it and just press on.

      Wow, I hadn't even heard of Babette Deutsch! I had an awful translation by Lieut.-Col. Henry Spalding so I dumped that and changed to Sir Charles Johnston's translation, which I really liked. The Arndt and Nabokov translations are the standards but with Nabokov, it is said that if you read his translation, you are actually getting more Nabokov than Pushkin! :-Z Personally, I liked the Falen translation when I compared it with the Johnston. It would be interesting to read Nabokov one day too. I hope that helps a little. As you well know, when dealing with a work in translation, you are always trying to make the best of an imperfect situation. But I am not going to try to learn Russian to get the full understanding of this poem. Sorry Pushkin! ;-)

    2. I WISH I could read Russian. Imagine reading Pushkin and Tolstoy for real! I actually tried in college, but Russian is really really hard.

    3. LOL! I tried Russian on a Rosetta Stone demo. I would have bet money I was pronouncing the words correctly but I was always in the "red" area. Obviously they have sounds that my poor little brain has never heard before. :-( I figure it's better if I stick to practicing my French.

  2. Falen's is a great translation (the first I read). :) Someday it would be lovely to read it in Russian, but that's a long ways off! I am going to be reading Johnston; last time I read Stanley Mitchell's, which is pretty good as well.

    1. So we are both reading opposite translations from our first read! It will be fun at the end to compare. I would really like to read Nabokov's translation but I probably should read some of his works first to be able to recognize his style of writing so I have the ability to compare. There was some really interesting sniping back and forth between Nabokov and Arndt regarding their translations. Just wonderful literary structure; their wording is so lovely that you forget they are having a fight and get lost in the beauty of the sentences.