Panama (spwebdesign) wrote,

Book 29

  1. Matheson, Richard — I Am Legend (161 pages)
  2. McCarthy, Cormac — No Country for Old Men (307 pages)
  3. Dexter, Gary — Why Not Catch 21?: The Stories Behind the Titles (213 pages)
  4. Ryman, Geoff — 253 (366 pages)
  5. Wyndham, John — The Day of the Triffids (267 pages)
  6. Kurkov, Andrey — Death and the Penguin (228 pages)
  7. Chesterton, G.K. — Orthodoxy (183 pages)
  8. Gibbs, Christopher H., ed. — The Cambridge Companion to Schubert (334 pages)
  9. Sendak, Maurice — Where the Wild Things Are (48 pages — though only 1 page will count towards my tally)
  10. Hurston, Zora Neale — Their Eyes Were Watching God (215 pages)
  11. Clarke, Arthur C. — Rendezvous With Rama (245 pages)
  12. Clarke, Arthur C. — The City and the Stars (246 pages)
  13. Chesterton, G.K. — The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare (205 pages)
  14. Tepper, Sheri S. — Beauty (468 pages)
  15. Slawson, Douglas J. — Ambition and Arrogance: Cardinal William O'Connell of Boston and the American Catholic Church (186 pages)
  16. Belloc, Hilaire — The Great Heresies (166 pages)
  17. Waugh, Evelyn — Brideshead Revisited (326 pages)
  18. Rawicz, Slavomir — The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom (278 pages)
  19. Junger, Sebastian — The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea (309 pages)
  20. Seth, Vikram — An Equal Music (486 pages)
  21. Dubus III, Andre — House of Sand and Fog (351 pages)
  22. Kurkov, Andrey — Penguin Lost (251 pages)
  23. Bradbury, Ray — Dandelion Wine (247 pages)
  24. Bradbury, Ray — Farewell Summer (209 pages)
  25. Doran, Jamie and Piers Bizony — Starman: The Truth behind the Legend of Yuri Gagarin (241 pages)
  26. Makine, Andreï — A Life's Music (106 pages)
  27. Barnes, Julian — A History of the World in 10½ Chapters (307 pages)
  28. Chaucer, Geoffrey — The Canterbury Tales (623 pages)
  29. Pushkin, Aleksandr — Eugene Onegin (Vladimir Nabokov, transl.) (351 pages)

Page count: 7681.

I won't attempt this review in verse, as I did for my review of The Canterbury Tales. The latter is easy to mimic, as there is nothing inherently poetical about it aside from its (often awkward) rhyming schemes and meter. Onegin, on the other hand, is fraught with poetic images, metaphors, language. It is much richer, not for its fairly simple plot but for the depth, complexity, and nuances in the telling. Any attempt at imitation on my part would be an affront; even Nabokov refrained from approximating the rhymes and meters of Pushkin's verse, hoping instead to capture the full power of Pushkin's language by translating meaning as precisely as possible.

Nabokov's translation is not easy. He does not much alter the structure of the Russian language, which is far more flexible than English. Thus some sentences do not read "naturally." However, I feel this adds a very authentic Russian flavor to the translation. Nabokov, with his vast intellect, also uses a very broad palette of words, many quite obscure, in his attempt to match the right English word with the most precise Russian meaning. Though this forces far more frequent dictionary queries than usual, it helps convey the richness and vividness of Pushkin's verse.

I wanted to read Onegin because of my current work with Russian language and song, particularly "Gremin's Aria" from Tchaikovsky's opera. It turned out that the bulk of that aria comes from an excised stanza following Lenski's death, completely unrelated to the context of the aria. Nabokov included the stanza in a footnote, and it was illuminating seeing how Pushkin's original intent and Tchaikovsky's ultimate expression differed yet came together so beautifully.

I would like to read Eugene Onegin again someday, perhaps in Russian if I become fluent enough. It bears a closer reading, one that allows me to spend more time absorbing the poem's richness and imagery.

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