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Eugene Onegin: A Novel in Verse (1832)

by Alexander Pushkin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,595472,439 (4.06)144
Eugene Onegin is the master work of the poet whom Russians regard as the fountainhead of their literature. Set in 1820s imperial Russia, Pushkin's novel in verse follows the emotions and destiny of three men - Onegin the bored fop, Lensky the minor elegiast, and a stylized Pushkin himself -and the fates and affections of three women - Tatyana the provincial beauty, her sister Olga, and Pushkin's mercurial Muse. Engaging, full of suspense, and varied in tone, it also portrays a large cast of other characters and offers the reader many literary, philosophical, and autobiographicaldigressions, often in a highly satirical vein.Eugene Onegin was Pushkin's own favourite work, and it shows him attempting to transform himself from a romantic poet into a realistic novelist. This new translation seeks to retain both the literal sense and the poetic music of the original, and capture the poem's spontaneity and wit. Theintroduction examines several ways of reading the novel, and text is richly annotated.… (more)
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» See also 144 mentions

English (42)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  German (1)  All languages (46)
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
I visited a friend of mine in Eugene, Oregon, last week. Wanting to be prepared, I picked up a copy of this book, figuring it would tell me which restaurants to eat at and which ones to avoid, what to do during the days and during the evenings, how to get around the city, and so on.

Instead it all got a bit philosophical. Rather than a guide to the city it seemed to contain detailed instructions on how to be an ennui-suffering Russian aristocrat in the early nineteenth century, with particular emphasis on how to break hearts, shoot hearts, and have one's heart broken. I'll admit this was more useful than I initially expected, but I can't imagine that it would have killed Pushkin to at least explain where the public bathrooms are. Would not recommend for visitors to Eugene. ( )
  imlee | Jul 7, 2020 |
I visited a friend of mine in Eugene, Oregon, last week. Wanting to be prepared, I picked up a copy of this book, figuring it would tell me which restaurants to eat at and which ones to avoid, what to do during the days and during the evenings, how to get around the city, and so on.

Instead it all got a bit philosophical. Rather than a guide to the city it seemed to contain detailed instructions on how to be an ennui-suffering Russian aristocrat in the early nineteenth century, with particular emphasis on how to break hearts, shoot hearts, and have one's heart broken. I'll admit this was more useful than I initially expected, but I can't imagine that it would have killed Pushkin to at least explain where the public bathrooms are. Would not recommend for visitors to Eugene. ( )
  leezeebee | Jul 6, 2020 |
Yevgeny Onegin by Alexander Pushkin is a Russian masterpiece of literature. Pushkin was a Russian poet, playwright, and novelist of the Romantic era who is considered by many to be the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. Pushkin was born into Russian nobility in Moscow.

I picked up this book because it was listed as poetry. I later asked a Russian friend about the book and she said it was magnificent, but never read it in English. It dawned on me that this is much more than just a simple translation from Russian. It is essentially a novel-length poem that must be translated. I understand the difficulty of translation but adding in meter and rhyme patterns, especially without sounding repetitive, is extremely difficult in translations. It's nearly impossible to keep the author's original meaning in the pattern he created.

Perhaps almost as brilliant as the novel itself is the explanation of the translations. The historical descriptions and efforts to treat line and rhyme translations are fascinating. One of the major problems in translating Russian poetry involves feminine rhymes. Feminine rhymes are rhyming words where the last syllable is unstressed. The Russian language is full of natural feminine rhymes, but English is not. Rhyme, chime, dime, time are all masculine rhymes. The last syllable is stressed and that creates the rhyme. This works well in English where the poems are written in iambic meter, meaning the last syllable is stressed. Feminine rhymes are words the rhyme on the last unstressed syllable, like pleasure and leisure or painted and acquainted. The last syllable is not stressed. To create this rhyme suffixes are added to words. This can create boring and repetitive rhymes in English and destroy the more commonly expected iambic meter. Feminine rhymes are important in Russian poetry and even play a role in the title. In English, the book is often translated to Eugene Onegin. But in Russian, the title Yevgeny Onegin is a small feminine poem:

Yev-ge-ny / An-ye-gin

Each word one iambic foot ending in an unstressed syllable and creating the feminine rhyme.


Pushkin also writes in the fourteen line sonnet form with a fixed rhyme scheme, adding his own minor changes to the original format. First, the initial line is shortened by a foot. Secondly, he freely switches between English and Italian sonnet formats at will. He sticks to his rules but not necessarily everyone else's rules.

This is a book where the introduction is important and informative. Many times people will pick up a book and skip over the lengthy introduction and jump into the story. Sometimes the reader catches on and other times the reader get frustrated and puts the book done. Granted, at times, introductions are boring, but here the introduction provides detailed information about the story, it’s structure, it’s translation and translation history. It acts as an appetizer for the novel. The reader will enter the novel fully informed and eager to enjoy. ( )
  evil_cyclist | Mar 16, 2020 |
Read this aloud to my baby. She is a big fan of iambic tetrameter. And like Douglas Hofstadter, she prefers the James Falen translation. ( )
1 vote AshLaz | Jan 24, 2020 |
Fan-bloody-tastic. A novel in verse with a translation that maintained the original rhyme scheme. So good on the truth of young love, so light and so funny. The duel is genuinely shocking and the ending abrupt and sad.

I hadn't realized that this would be a novel in sonnets. What a treat to find out that this translation was the inspiration for Vikram Seth's The Golden Gate which I read 20 years ago. I kinda feel that I should seek out Nabokov's non-rhymed translation for comparison. ( )
  asxz | Mar 13, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (101 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pushkin, Alexanderprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Agt, F.J. vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Arndt, WalterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Balbusso, AnnaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Balbusso, ElenaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barios, ArnauTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bazzarelli, EridanoEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Boland, HansTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Feinstein, ElainePrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnston, Sir Charles HepburnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jonker, W.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kayden, Eugene M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Keil, Rolf-DietrichTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nabokov, VladimirTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stekelenburg, L.H.M. vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Timmer, Charles B.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Pétri de vanité il avait encore plus de cette espèce d'orgueil qui fait avouer avec la même indifférence les bonnes comme les mauvaises actions, suite d'un sentiment de supériorité, peut-être imaginaire.
Tiré d'une lettre particullère

[Steeped in vanity, he had moreover the particular sort of pride that makes one acknowledge with equal indifference both his good and evil actions, a consequence of a sense of superiority, perhaps imaginary. From a private letter.] (Falen translation)
Dedication
Not thinking of the proud world's pleasure,
But cherishing your friendship's claim,
I would have wished a finer treasure
To pledge my token to your name--
One worthy of your soul's perfection,
The sacred dreams that fill your gaze,
Your verse's limpid, live complexion,
Your noble thoughts and simple ways.
But let it be. Take this collection
Of sundry chapters as my suit:
Half humorous, half pessimistic,
Blending the plain and idealistic--
Amusement's yield, the careless fruit
Of sleepless nights, light inspirations
Born of my green and withered years . . .
The intellect's cold observations,
The heart's reflections, writ in tears.

[Originally addressed to Pushkin's friend and publisher P. A. Pletnyov.] (Falen translation)
To Véra
First words
'My uncle, man of firm convictions...
By falling gravely ill, he's won
A due respect for his afflictions--
The only clever thing he's done.
(James E. Falen translation)
Alexander Pushkin (1799 - 1837) is the poet and writer whom Russians regard as both the source and the summit of their literature. (Introduction)
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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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The Planet

An edition of this book was published by The Planet.

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