Doctor Zhivago LE, brand new translation
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Ordered. I am interested to see what number of the edition will appear. The cost of the expedited and the standard shipping were the same at $50.
Unless this new translation is on an Edith Grossman Don Quixote level, I’m unlikely to shell out for this one, although I like the look of the book itself.
Given that Suntup is going to announce a new trilogy on Monday, I better save my money.
I still am avoiding all LEs - I just can't justify the price. But, it looks wonderful. I'll be eager to hear what folks say about the translation, and maybe if they publish a standard edition in a few years I'll buy it. It's a great novel.
>10 folio_books: I'll get both eventually but I figure this won't last as long in the warehouse :)
Looks lovely! Hopefully this will not sell out very fast because I have spend way too much on books lately. Is this the first time Folio commissioned a translation? Surely it will not be exclusive to the 750 copies of this LE? Let everyone have access imho.
I ordered it - I ended up spending less than I had budgeted for on the Christmas Collection, so I'll make up the budget with this one, I think it looks like a beautiful book. Now, after having received copy #6 of Dracula, we'll see how low this one is!
Another 750 limited edition on a classic, quite quickly after Dracula. Selling out within 3 weeks like Dracula/Count of Monte Christo will be less likely though, seeing the high price point compared to the other two. That Jemma Lewis marbling looks absolutely jawdropping though!
This has everything I would want in an LE. I am actually tempted by the unique angle FS chose for this book. A unsurpassable triumph. I tip my hat.
Instant buy from me. Russian literature is one of my main collecting focuses and marbled papers always make me quiver in delight. It was a battle I was never going to win.
The fact that it's all in the family is just an additional treat.
It`s a warzone out there these days, and the publishers fight for my money ..
I don`t have Dr. Zhivago in my collection, the family element makes this a very special collectible edition / and from a family perspective this edition would most probably be labeled the definite edition and it is gorgeous and all that, and i have been looking for it .. and here it is, as an LE at only .. £395.00. Just what i needed ! Another (pricey) temptation ..
Here is what i will do: I will wait for the Suntup private announcement on monday, and from thereone look over my economy and then decide .. i am supposed to stay in this game at long term. Plan ahead and spend wisely .. (my new motto) ..
Either way, i will be somewhat careful of which editions i will spend on in the future come Folio Society, as this new way of the LE business will challenge which editions i am going to spend on. So i think i will stand off from buying f.ex Frankenstein from the secondhand market ..
VN: "a sorry thing, clumsy, trite and melodramatic, with stock situations, voluptuous lawyers, unbelievable girls, romantic robbers and trite coincidences."
Although, I am a bit interested in reading this book, and the FS LE does look like the most beautiful edition ever made. Although I do think if it was closer to $350 rather than $550 it would be a much easier sell.
Speaking of which, how about a limited edition of Lolita?
Sorry. Got to say it.
I think I might need a doctor at this price. Standard slip case too; no solander box. The latter obviously being a rare outing for Folio these days it seems.
It seems that a "Paper covered slip case", according to Folio, amounts to the "Ultimate edition."
Yea. I know, it might be relevant. But to be flair, i like to buy what i can afford. Starting with instalments can be a dangerous business. There are so many upcoming future editions to be prepared for so it would probably come and bite me sometime in the future.
That said. If it's interesting enough or even better, excellent. It might be worthy to consider as an option.
Folio is bankrupting me as of late. This new edition is stunning but I need a second mortgage for it!
Why can't they go back to crappy releases like the Autumn release to give my purse a break!!!!
Nabokov might very well be right, but he's probably not the best person to rely on when it comes to literary assessments - unless you're willing to agree that Dostoevsky, Conrad, Hemingway, Faulkner, Balzac, Stendhal, Camus, Sartre, Gorky, T.S. Eliot, Thomas Mann, Henry James - to name some - are all sh*t.
Myself, I started on Zhivago(in the original) in my late teens or very early twenties, but gave up after a few dozen pages. At the time, his initial set up felt a bit too laborious, as if he specifically set out to write the 20th century War and Peace, so I set it aside for later. Those were the college days, so with many distractions such as parties, booze, girls, concerts, adventures and various mischief with friends, sports, and pesky exams and projects, there was not much free time left for reading so I never got back to it. Close to a couple of decades has passed since, so I guess it's time for me to give it another attempt.
Folio edition looks great, love the illustrations. I'm glad they decided to use Pasternak's father's art. The edition is not for me as I read Russians in the original only, but I applaud Folio for the effort. And it's great they seem to be championing new/recent translations lately (this, Montaigne, Sappho, The Phantom, etc.)
-Edited for typos and afterthoughts.
What beautiful illustrations! Incredible that they're the work of the author's father and that he also illustrated Tolstoy's War & Peace and Resurrection. Now, Ms. Mole, offer me a limited edition of War & Peace with illustrations like these and a translation like the Maudes' translation as recently revised by Amy Mandelker (NOT the clumsy, unnatural V&P translation, please) and then come and have my lawn and wallet.
Not advocating, merely giving choice of models and prices. A new Jaguar is probably 5 times the price of a new Kia. This new Jaguar is 26 times more expensive as a LE than a good quality single owner, rarely driven second hand Kia.
>28 wcarter: that looks amazing, and having not read the Pasternak, so therefore unsure as to whether it would be best use of my budget to buy the LE, i may take the plunge on this previous FS edition
>28 wcarter: You're absolutely right of course :)
Meaning that if any Devotee acquiring this new very limited edition Pasternak Jag crafted by three generations of the same family of talented engineers were to experience 27 times the pleasure afforded by the second-hand mass-produced Kia, they'd be getting a bargain!
Nabokov was a very opinionated guy; on the other hand I could not care less about his views after reading Speak Memory (l know personal matters and literary qualities do differ, but still, Nabokov style is not to my taste)
One would guess that someone would have more animosity against those who killed their father and brother (worthy individuals assasinated by Russian fascists and German Nazis) than against those who confiscated his family wealth... But Nabokov was not one of those: while his memories have plenty of bitter comments against the Bolsheviks, there is not a single condemmnation of fascism or nazism in them, except some matter-of-fact references. Money was very important after all for Nabokov.
I somehow guess if he had not succeded in leaving Germany and then France his views would be a bit different (having a Jewish wife and son, he would have shared their same fate).
>20 LesMiserables: "$900 delivered. "
Maybe you can submit the bill to your insurance company and get them to pay for a portion of your doctor fee.
I’m impressed with this production—both that it’s all in the family and with the half-leather with marbled boards. I’m also very curious to see what the translation is like. I will probably buy it sooner or later, but will wait until next week to see what Suntup releases. (They usually don’t publish what I’m into, but someone else on this forum was speculating LOTR, and if that’s the case...)
Out of curiosity, is the Max Hayward and Manya Harari translation FS originally used really as bad as they state now that they have a new one for this limited edition?
An interesting take on the original translation compared to the one from a few years ago, written by Pasternak’s niece:
Interesting, thank you.
Now this really threw me:
The dangers originally posed by Pasternak's prose are inconceivable to the modern reader. In the 70s, I met a Russian who told me, rather sourly, that he'd served six years in the camps for possessing a samizdat chunk of Doctor Zhivago. Ten pages of blurry carbon copy. "Oh dear," I said; "I hope it was worth it." "Worth it! A chapter of nature description?"
I love the concept of this new LE and the execution looks super too, but the price is not one I am willing to pay. I had a small windfall today - I don’t ever bet but back in Feb I broke my own rules and backed the Springboks to win the World Cup - and that can go towards my purchases from the Christmas collection instead.
It looks very interesting and secured a copy for myself. The duo are presenting their work at the British library this month and a good chance for local people to peruse the contents of this publication.
I would want to see the translation reviewed by several respected critics before plunking down US$550.
Hopefully (and maybe even likely) it will not sell that fast .. and if someone are going to attend that seremony mentioned over - might also share some valuable emotional insight .. the sell factor here are that it`s all in the family .. if the attendant would wish to take a beer with any members of the family then they are probably likable people .. if not then the value of the autograph exuals none ..
.. oh yeah, and the translation. The rest we know. It`s a lovely edition if not very pricey and costs a lot of pieces of eight !
Do we have any spies in London ? .. any more Cambridge spies or closer kinds of species / spies ? - We want you - !
Here's a review from the Independent that makes points similar to those in the Guardian. https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/doctor-zhivago-by...
And one from the Globe and Mail by someone who seems to know no Russian (and who thinks the semi-colon archaic). https://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/books-and-media/dr-zhivago-by-boris-pastern...
The translation was published nearly 10 years ago, so there should be plenty of reviews out there.
Granted that there are many reviews of the older H&H and the P&V translations, there aren’t any (as far as I know) of the Nicolas Pasternak Slater translation, because it was commissioned by FS and is brand new. It might be magnificent or it might be no better than the others.
>42 jroger1: You could probably get a sense by reading Pasternak Slater's C&P. The reviews for that seem positive, although I'm unfamiliar with the work itself. I've also seen some interviews with him on the subject, which are interesting if not illuminating.
>36 SF-72: Now this really threw me:
The dangers originally posed by Pasternak's prose are inconceivable to the modern reader....
Yes, the modern reader is surrounded by various dangers. For example, apocryphal anecdotes. Zhivago was published after Stalin's death during Khrushchev's Thaw. Generally speaking, people were let out of the camps at the time, including Pasternak's own mistress, not sent in for silly reasons. Even Pasternak himself was not imprisoned, just publicly hounded (the mudslinging campaign earning the ironic name "I haven't read it but condemn it" in Russia). And even despite the harsh severity of the official public criticism, a ban on Zhivago, and being kicked out of the Union of the Soviet Writers, some of Pasternak's poetry and translations were still being published in the Soviet Union, he continued to earn some royalties and kept living in his large country home in an elite writers' village granted to him by the Soviet state in the 30s (now a museum, see pic below).
While being a dissident and publicly voicing opinions contrary to the Party line was still dangerous at that time, the level of repressions reduced drastically after Stalin's death. KGB wasn't out looking for random people possessing unapproved literature and people weren't sent to Gulag just for owning a bootleg copy of "a chapter of nature description". You'd have to go farther than that to get in trouble.
I don't know if Ann Pasternak Slater made up the anecdote, someone mislead her (I guess it's possible as she was born and raised in the UK and never lived in the USSR), or if it's a radically reworked story (e.g. a copy of Zhivago was indeed found during the arrest of some dissident who was then imprisoned, but then he was certainly imprisoned not because he possessed Zhivago).
I dislike the Soviet regime intensely no matter the period of its existence, but I also feel that specious information that appears credible to "the modern reader" is uncalled for.
Finally gave in and have placed an order for Doctor Zhivago. Could not take the exquisite illustrations out of my mind.
i see that FS have announced on twitter that they also hope to release this as a standard edition in the future.
i dont know whether thats such a great marketing move, but im sure they know better than i do about such things
My honest opinion is that is what they should have done in the first place. Quarter buckram instead of quarter leather, no limitation page, fine edition £79.95. I may even have bought it.
>48 folio_books: It`s the family`s fault. If it was not for their Dr. Zhivago family project, we would likely have had a cheaper option ;) - (to go with the buckram latest, Crime & Punishment)
Although the family connections with the edition make it special in many ways, the lack of any real link of the illustrations to the text bothers me, as does the lack of information about the translation. Not to mention the price. In any event, though I greatly admire Russian literature, Zhivago is not high on my list. I am going to pass on the LE and wait for the standard edition. It has already been an expensive year with FS.
The version I have (first Folio edition) is, I think, quite lovely and I'm in no hurry to change it. You can pick up a copy on Abe for under £20. I do like the illustrations in the LE but at they worth another £375? This is what I asked myself when the LE was announced. I don't feel anywhere near competent to judge the difference between the translations but the same question arises - is the new one £375 better than the one I have now? It's doubtful, to me, anyway. So I'll stick and await either a sale, if it lasts that long (I think i might) or take a look at the standard edition, whenever that sees the light of day. No hurry.
Edited to add:
>47 stumc: i dont know whether thats such a great marketing move
An enormous blunder, I would say. I'm beginning to wonder how Readers Digest survived as long.
I think it's good to be as transparent and honest as possible. If this becomes accepted as the best translation, it would be crazy to let only a few hundred people in the world experience it - they should definitely plan for a less limited edition, and not hide that from the current buyers.
People who want the current lovely, superior edition can get it and know they will be the sole readers for at least a few years, as well as having a great work of art. Feels like everyone wins.
I find it odd that we haven't been offered a sample of the text given this is the main selling point of this version
This is a book I love, the leather marbled boards and illustrations are supurb, but will I enjoy the style of the new translation? For most of us ths is personal choice and not something I would take on blind faith.
How do others feel about this?
>54 Kiwi_Booklover: I think that is an excellent point and a very odd omission by FS.
Well Slater Pasternak is doing a talk at the British Library later this month (sold out) where he will discuss his new translation. I will report from there. I’ve never read Doctor Zhivago, but the history behind it’s publication and family relationships, such as the family correspondence seems (far more) interesting to read about. Slater Pasternak does talk about it one or two articles I read online about him being denied (as well as the whole family) a visa to the former Soviet Union when he was reading Russian at Oxford and how the first publication was smuggled out of the country for a quick translation.
I would definitely prefer it if FS generally offered a little preview of the texts. In some cases it's no big deal since you can use amazon, but this one (and some other titles) aren't accessible elsewhere. I do like to get an impression of a writer's or translator's style before buying.
Initial Thoughts: So... Mixed feelings here. The paper doesn’t feel like paper. It feels artificial. FS says it is printed on Arctic Volume Ivory Paper. The first three words feel accurate to the material. The fourth...not so much. If you shine a light very close to the material there is an interesting speckled quality to it. So there’s that.
The quarter leather: Is it leather? It doesn’t smell like leather. Again is smells artificial. Chemical.
The type: The type is lovely. It’s set well and feels really good on the page and to the eye.
The translation: This is really only a cursory evaluation. Very poetic. There is a real voice to it and I like it a lot. It possesses an almost lyrical quality that feels..poetic. Again this is a very initial evaluation and I haven’t been through the whole text.
The Art: Beauftiful. Stunning work wonderfully transferred and inserted into the text.
There is a real heft to the book. It’s heavy and conveys a sense of importance.
I’m unsure. I don’t know whether I hate the paper or can tolerate it. I do not like the leather. I feel like it was chosen to trick us into thinking it’s premium without actually being premium. On the other hand the art is fantastic and the textual work is also fantastic.
This one is going to be controversial I think. There will be real mixed opinions here when it’s in hand.
EDIT: This should have been letterpress. It would have been a triumph in letterpress and quarter goatskin.
>59 Sorion: Thanks for the review!
I think I'm going to get it anyway -- I want to support Folio when they make ambitious choices like commissioning new translations, for one. But perhaps I'll put it off for a month or so.
>59 Sorion: Reading about Arctic Volume Ivory Paper it seems to be optimised for both reading and displaying colour images. So I'm assuming the images are not on separate pages and that's the reason for the paper choice. About the smell - are you sure you're not smelling the ink of the marbled paper?
There has been a lot of discussion about the new Pasternak translation of Dr. Zhivago commissioned by the Folio Society.
I felt the best way to compare them was to show a few pages where the FS standard edition from 1997 is compared with the 2019 limited edition.
First of all, the Limited Edition is at least one third larger and thicker than the 1997 edition, and probably three times the weight. A very substantial and solid volume.
Below selected chapter openings are shown from both editions, with the 1997 standard edition shown before the 2019 Limited Edition. The layout differs significantly between the two volumes.
Now you can choose which translation you prefer.
Further information about the 1997 edition can be seen here.
Call me a pedant, but my preference for the 1997 translation, established in the first two paragraphs of the first sample on grounds of its to me more agile prose, was cemented at the end of the third paragraph by the sloppiness (I assume it isn't the author's) of the new version's apparent statement that seamstresses and apprentices were bought as part of the purchase of the business.
Agreed. The 1997 examples just strike me as being better English and show more control over the nuances of the prose (the inflections are clearer and relay which parts of each sentence or idea are most important). The new translation examples seem built for compactness or just have a disinterest in capturing the nuances of the storytelling.
Even the very first line is jarring. Such a statement would nearly always be separated by a comma in English, not a full stop. I assume that's how it's written in Russian, but it sounds completely stilted in English.
Just opened my copy (#23) - I think it’s a beautiful book and I actually kind of like the different paper, I think it’s nice for the illustrations. I am happy I got it, it’s taller and heavier than I expected but it looks very nice nestled in with my other LE’s. I would agree with the comments though that it’s price point is on the high side.
>62 wcarter:, Warwick, thank you so much for the comparison of the two versions. I must admit taht I prefer the 1997 version, which is Hayward’s translation - the first English translation that was rushed. Haynard chose to read a Russian paragraph and then translated off by memory. From the samples it seems quite a joyful read.
I think we’ve now learned between the Montaigne discussion in the Christmas Collection thread and this thread that translation preferences are a deeply personal thing and there is no telling who will prefer which one.
And as always thank you >62 wcarter: for always bringing so much effort to this forum.
Thank you for posting the links. I watched them both in their entirety and was fascinated.
Beautifully produced and informative videos.
Very pleased that I purchased the new LE.
Just received my copy (#81) this weekend. In my opinion, this is an unqualified triumph and Folio should be congratulated for presenting us with a unique all-Pasternak family volume. Perhaps I was not paying close enough attention to the pre-publication materials, but while I knew the illustrations were done by Boris' father and the modern English translation by a nephew, I did not realize that the nephew's wife and yet another relative also contributed (the aunt of the translator who herself contributes several translations of Zhivago's poems at the end). I also did not recall anyone commenting that the Zhivago poems are laid out with Cyrillic on the verso and English on the recto. And while I cannot read Russian, I have always found the Cyrillic lettering beautiful to look at.
Upon unboxing, I carefully looked through each and every illustration and I find both the style and variety of them quite pleasing if not downright thrilling to me. I have never read the book before, so cannot comment on the quality of the translation, but the book itself is wonderful. It is larger than expected (even though I did look up the dimensions) and much heavier. The paper is quite a thick stock but seems very sturdy and luxurious and can support both the well laid out text and the illustrations (some color, some charcoal and other sketch reproductions).
I do not share an earlier poster's dislike of the paper. I also do not share the criticism of the quarter leather binding. It is a luxurious blue (goatskin?) leather reminiscent of many other Limited Editions. The hand-marbled paper sides by Jemma Lewis are by far my favorite design choice and complement the quarter leather color and the endpapers quite well. The entire design holds together well and screams luxurious.
So yes, this was a very expensive edition of a title that I already own in the 1997 Folio standard edition, a book with several gorgeous double-spread and evocative color illustrations that I never suspected would share shelf space with an alternative edition. But they are so different I'm pleased to own both versions and in the final analysis, while I would have preferred a price point of $350 instead of $550, I have no purchase regrets and think the price can be justified by materials quality and pure satisfaction.
If you are on the fence about purchasing, I would highly recommend placing an order. You will not regret it and you can always spread payment over 4 months by calling Folio Society directly (and demanding to speak to the London office).
Thanks for this detailed appraisal, Sean. It comes after today's post brought the rather elaborate 12-page flyer, which does a much better sales job than the website; between the two, this book has shifted from maybe not to probably yes, although a budgetary breathing space will be taken, unless sales are much brisker than I expect.
Oh dear! The enableometer is getting dangerously near to critical. My wallet has been put on full alert.
I got #95 yesterday and I totally agree with you.
Love the illustrations, the paper is exquisite- appropriate for the illustrations and text. The leather and the hand marbled paper sides are also amongst the best that I have seen on a FS LE.
I have 43 Folio Society LEs + the full Shakespeare set. I can say that Doctor Zhivago easily ranks amongst the top five for me.
#6 for me. All of the elements of a great book came together on this one. Collecting FS books since 1974 and this Doctor Zhivago is already one of my favorites.
Not a book that is high on my radar as I've never read it. The regular edition seems sufficient for my purposes but the comments above have me questioning my first instinct. Still, I'm already well past my 2019 book budget so I think I will keep my credit card on lockdown until I see the New Year sale offerings.
The 12 page brochure for the Dr. Zhivago LE has now been uloaded to the FSD wiki here.
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