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October 22, 2014
  • Satiricon (Сатирикон) for 1908, 1909, and 1913 is now available online, and so are other satirical journals from the early twentieth century (h/t seminarist).
  • C. P. Lesley interviews Oliver Ready about his translation of Before & During (2014; Russian original, 1993) by Vladimir Sharov.
  • I loved this Russian Dinosaur post about a twentieth-century writer who was “a friend of Bunin, one of the beneficiaries of the latter’s Nobel Prize money and also his publicly advocated favourite for the next Nobel award,” “one of the four bestselling émigré writers in inter-war France,” and “the most important Russian author of realist historical prose since Tolstoy, according to his leading critic, C. Nicholas Lee.”
  • A 2007 post with two translations of untitled Tsvetaeva lyrics by Ekaterina Rogalsky, via Languagehat.
  • Be sure to read the Argumentative Old Git on Sologub’s The Petty Demon (Мелкий бес, written beginning in the 1890s, published 1905-07). I was surprised to learn that “Ronald Wilks, perhaps rather confusingly, [translates] nedotykomka as ‘the little demon’ of the title.”
  • The AOG is also rereading Turgenev, and writes about the dramatic qualities of Rudin (Рудин, published 1856): “when, having introduced Rudin as a character, Turgenev wants to tell us something of his past, instead of giving us a flashback, as might have been expected, he gives us a long narrative speech from someone who had known him earlier – exactly as he would have done had he been writing a play.”
  • On the other hand, Tom of Wuthering Expectations thinks “Turgenev had the bad habit of introducing characters with long, instantly forgotten descriptions, as if he were writing not a story but a play.” This is more or less the exact opposite way of making prose like a play. But the descriptions are not to be forgotten in “A King Lear of the Steppes” (Степной король Лир, 1870).
  • Languagehat’s latest foray into Vel’tman (the comments and the post are both delightful) includes a link explaining the Palladius system for rendering Chinese characters in the Russian alphabet (the syllable hui doesn’t follow the general system for reasons of taboo avoidance). There’s also a passage in Vel’tman with some deliberately and amusingly distorted Moscow geography.
  • Another LH post where you’ll want to read the comments too is on folkloric elements in the Russian chronicles. And while you’re there, read Afanasy Nikitin’s languages. I learned from a John Cowan comment to that last post that Hebrew Elohim ‘the Lord’ is morphologically plural, and its singular form Eloah is cognate with Arabic Allah.
  • Which leads naturally to “biblical vine-growers at a corporate event schmoozing up to their ultimate shareholder, God.”
5 Comments leave one →
  1. October 22, 2014 8:54 am

    Oddly, Ekaterina Rogalsky, who wrote those translations when she was in college, seems to have vanished off the face of the internet. (Maybe she got married or changed her name for other reasons?)

  2. October 22, 2014 8:54 am

    Maybe the technique is not as common as I remember. But see, I don’t know, “Mrs. Warren’s Profession” (search for “A gentleman walking”).

    I wonder if I ha been reading Shaw, who is an extreme case. No, I see I had been reading “Peter Pan” – the single most extreme case.

    • October 22, 2014 10:15 am

      No, I completely agree with you. I think you’re right about the technique, and that it’s similar to that George Bernard Shaw example.

      What I meant is, you and the Argumentative Old Git are both right about what Turgenev does, and both things are similar to a play, but descriptive stage directions aimed at the director, cast, and other readers of the script in a modern play are play-like in a different way than one character giving a long speech about another character for the benefit of a live audience.

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