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Eugene Onegin: A Novel in Verse: Commentary: Commentary v. 2 (Bollingen Series (General)) Paperback – 21 Jan 1991

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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  • Eugene Onegin: A Novel in Verse: Commentary: Commentary v. 2 (Bollingen Series (General))
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  • Eugene Onegin: A Novel in Verse: Text: Text v. 1 (Bollingen Series (General))
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  • Speak, Memory: An Autobiography Revisited (Penguin Modern Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 1052 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; Reprinted Ed edition (21 Jan. 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691019045
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691019048
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 5.2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 496,093 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

Nabokov's translation and commentary, taken together, can best be considered as a sui generis work of art--perhaps his ultimate masterpiece.--J. Thomas Shaw "Slavic and East European Journal "


Nabokov's translation and commentary, taken together, can best be considered
as a sui generis work of art--perhaps his ultimate masterpiece.
--J. Thomas Shaw "Slavic and East European Journal "

"Nabokovs translation and commentary, taken together, can best be considered as a sui generis work of art--perhaps his ultimate masterpiece."--J. Thomas Shaw, "Slavic and East European Journal"

"Nabokov's translation and commentary, taken together, can best be considered as a sui generis work of art--perhaps his ultimate masterpiece."--J. Thomas Shaw, Slavic and East European Journal

-Nabokov's translation and commentary, taken together, can best be considered as a sui generis work of art--perhaps his ultimate masterpiece.---J. Thomas Shaw, Slavic and East European Journal

From the Back Cover

Available for the first time in an edition of two individual paperback books, Volume I contains Nabokov's introduction and his translation of Pushkin's novel, and Volume 2 contains his commentary and an index.


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Format: Paperback
Though flawed, Nabokov's is the definite English version of EO, and it should be stressed that Eugene Onegin is a brilliant, life-affirming novel that no serious reader should forego the pleasures of. Unfortunately, its virtuosity has left it largely untranslatable; like most of Pushkin's works, it is the exclusive preserve of Russian speakers, to the detriment of everyone else. Reading Nabokov is still miles away from reading Pushkin - his translation clunks where Pushkin's soars - but a little perseverence offers an entirely different pleasure. His translation is useful, but it is the commentary that's essential.
Nabokov doesn't attempt to rhyme, or even make the English pretty (if you're after the general feel of EO, go for Johnstone's adequate Penguin Classics translation). Instead, he provides an imposing compendium of explications, marginalia, facts, linguistic points that explain academically what a Russian would intuitively grasp when faced with the text. Whilst this does not sound like much fun, if you do take the trouble to read his translation in tandem with the commentary (and, even if you only have a shaky grasp of Russian, the original), you will be rewarded with a profound knowledge of not only every detail of the book (making the Russian verse sparkle anew), but of Pushkin, his times, his country, literature as a whole, and, somehow, of life itself.
In short, Nabokov somehow manages to turn his commentary into not only the single most authoritative guide to EO, but a work of literature in its own right. It's full of fascinating insights on just about every topic imaginable, and opens up the enigma of Russia better than any history book, or indeed most novels.
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Format: Paperback
I'd echo what other reviewers have said about the overall quality of Nabokov's version of Eugene Onegin, which combines scholarship with artistry and represents an extraordinary achievement in its own right.

But I'd like to an add an explanation of what's in this second volume - "The Commentary and Index" - since before purchase it wasn't clear to me what "abridged" meant. [For the sake of clarity, I'm calling this two-volume paperback edition Volumes I and II, while the four-volume 1975 hardback is here referred to as Volumes 1, 2, 3 and 4.]

Here's what's written on the flynote of this companion volume II. It's what a prospective purchaser would be looking for if they picked up a hard copy in a bookshop: "This two-volume work is an abridgment of the four-volume hardcover edition... Volume I omits the correlative lexicon of the 1975 edition, Volume II combines the commentary, from Volumes 2 and 3, and the Index, from Volume 4, and omits the appendices and the Russian text. The pagination of the 1975 edition has been retained."

In other words, put this companion volume alongside Volume I and you've got pretty much everything that's useful and relevant from the four volume 1975 edition (at least, assuming you have your own copy of the Russian original). Volumes 2 and 3 are reproduced in their entirety.

Here's what is in Volume II. First, Volume 2 covers the Foreword, Preliminaries and Chapters One to Five of Eugene Onegin. It is 547 pages long.

Next, Volume 3 covers Chapters Six to Eight of the original, plus several addenda, including various expunged fragments, and ends with Nabokov's translation of Pushkin's lovely poem of goodbye to the work: "Trud". It is 384 pages long.
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Format: Paperback
This is the companion volume to Nabokov's translation of Eugene Onegin. The original, in Russian, was written early in the nineteenth century by Pushkin. Many Russians can attest to learning it by heart in school, as a jewel of Russian literature. It is a love story, full of digressions on what love is. It is a "novel in verse", but, being in verse, is written to a formal scheme. Many novelists will tell you that they do not know where their novel will go, but that the characters make it their own. Many poets will tell you that poetry writes itself, dictated by the muse, by sound, by form, by God.
Who, then, is to say with such a "novel in verse", whether the neat tight rhyme scheme every verse, and the build up of sound from verse to verse drives the original poet, Pushkin, where the work will take him? Is it the characters? Is it the music?
How, I may ask, would I know, a non-Russian speaker? I'd love to feel some of what Pushkin was feeling as he contemplated each new verse, and each new chapter. I feel it when I read a novel in English, or a poem in English. The challenge to the translator, I think, is to put me in Pushkin's driving seat the same way. I want to feel so excited by the flow of the words that I feel I want to learn some Russian to get even closer to Pushkin, in the original. I think Nabokov does this as no other translator of Pushkin. He teaches me a bit of Russian, a bit of consciousness I desire that I can only get in Russian.
I first came across excerps from Nabokov's translation in Hofstader's On the Music of Language. Hofstader knows some of a lot of languages, and I think reads a translation next to the original, having some Russian already. He really slates Nabokov, for his purpose. But mine is different, and so may be yours.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars 10 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A literal translation of Pushkin's poem 10 Jan. 2017
By rurix - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Translation has the merit of being literal, all others I have seen are paraphrases. Pushkin's
poetry, of which this work is a part, cannot be translated into English retaining the rhymes
and meter of the original. Any attempt to do so is really a composition of a different work, using Pushkin's work
as a starting point. Anyone who does not understand this does not understand the nature of languages
and their differences. Nabokov's work at least gives an idea of what the literal meaning of Evgeny Onegin, insofar
as that can be translated. It is the next best thing to reading the original in Russian.
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a great work, done with an unbelievable attention and unending ... 6 Feb. 2017
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's a great work, done with an unbelievable attention and unending knowledge of the topic. As usual, Nabokov's language is very funny.
4.0 out of 5 stars For lovers of Nabokov and Pushkin 30 Nov. 2012
By Tono - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is the ideal companion to any translation of Onegin. Nabokov is at his best with his great narrations and digressions. Ideal for lovers of Russian literature often considered untranslatable. Necessary to the better comprehension of Pushkin masterpiece. .Just refuse to be turned off by the size (over 1000 pages) and brick weight of this important book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eugene Onegin: A novel in Verse volume 2 5 Jan. 2013
By Melinda Suhajda - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This portion of the two novels, is commentary and annotation of the prose poem by Vladamir Nabokov. It is the most complete
commentary of the work ever.
5.0 out of 5 stars Nobody can translate like Nabokov. A classic in the best translation possible 24 April 2015
By Debbie Platts - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Nobody can translate like Nabokov. A classic in the best translation possible.
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