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June 18, 2013
  • S is for Saltykov-Shchedrin. Also lots of good post-nineteenth century “S” writers from Lizok, like Roman Senchin, who I’d never heard of two years ago but is now, thanks to Lizok’s Bookshelf, my favorite contemporary Russian writer. (With the caveat that I haven’t read a tenth as many of the contenders as she has!)
  • I just discovered, and recommend, Phillip Routh’s blog How Jack London Changed My Life, which has capsule reviews of a good share of the non-Russian writers I’ve ever read, highbrow and otherwise. There are some Russians too, including Saltykov-Shchedrin again, and this blog’s recent favorite Pisemskii, and Chekhov, next to Booth Tarkington and Nero Wolfe mysteries.
  • Languagehat finds the word подкладень ‘nest egg’ in the non-metaphorical sense of ‘an artificial or natural egg placed in a nest to induce a bird to continue to lay eggs in that place’ and passes on a story about cracks in a rock being mistaken for writing that explains one of Baron Brambeus’s adventures.
  • Not one, not two, but three posts (so far) on Oblomov from Wuthering Expectations. Tatyana Tolstaya: “anyone who wants to understand the inscrutable Russian soul should start by reading Oblomov.” Amateur Reader: “I might then guess that one aspect of the Russian culture is a predilection for self-puffery if that were not a universal human trait.” AR reads Stephen Pearl’s translation; here’s an old post on Barry Scherr comparing that to several other versions.
3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 18, 2013 4:46 pm

    I had never heard of the “Jack London” blog, thanks for that.

    When I was penning that Oblomov bit, I was also thinking of your recent piece on “national character.” The business about the “Russian soul” is nonsense, but differences in culture, in character, yes, that is a good part of why I enjoy literature.

    I kinda remember you post on translation comparisons – it must have reassured me that the one I chose was fine.

    • June 19, 2013 11:07 am

      Yes, Pearl’s translation is supposed to be a good one. I loved your reaction to the “Russian soul” bit – there’s plenty of irony directed at it from within “Russian studies,” but to someone who reads as widely as you do it must look extra absurd. I don’t think I was at my clearest in that national character post, but I’m fascinated by the sliding back and forth between the universal and the culturally specific you experience when you read outside your own culture (and everything’s outside, to some degree).

  2. June 23, 2013 7:03 pm

    I’m finally getting caught up on reading blog posts after travel… I’m very happy to hear you’ve been enjoying Senchin so much, xixvek!

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