Sparked by reading Jim Falen's beautiful English version of Eugene Onegin (published in 1992), Douglas Hofstadter presents a more liberal, distinctly American, colloquial version of the Alexander Pushkin classic. Hofstadter's version is entirely in so-called "Onegin stanzas"--a unique sonnet form devised by Pushkin with a very intricate rhythmic and rhyming pattern. There is also a preface in Onegin stanzas, in which Hofstadter talks about Pushkin, his novel in verse, its form and content, the challenges of translating it into English and his deep admiration for Falen's version.This work will correspond with Pushkin's 200th anniversary; thus, it should be a timely and well accepted literary gem.
"The first, most famous, and greatest novel in verse is the best known--by Russians--work in Russian literature, Pushkin's Eugene Onegin. Englished many times in this century, here it is again by the author of the 1979 intellectual best-seller Godel Escher Bach, who prefaces his handiwork with a delightful explanation of the novel's verse form, how he came to translate it, his procedure as a basically non-Russian-speaking translator, and his travels, thanks to an American descendant of Pushkin, to the poet's St. Petersburg apartment, in which he translated the novel's last stanza. Pushkin's story of a rich, bored young man who rather offhandedly destroys his chance at love by killing a friend in a duel and alienating his would-be beloved is equally delightful in Hofstadter's sparkling, breezy version that catches the novel's combination of wry, Austenish provincial romance and Byronic irony, digressiveness, and satire. Comedy doesn't come more ultimately tragic, nor tragedy more bitterly comic. Many thanks to Hofstadter for a job well done, just in time for the Pushkin bicentennial. --Ray Olson"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
|| New York :Basic Books,1999
|| Evgeniĭ Onegin.
Hofstadter, Douglas R.,
Translated from the Russian.
xli, 137, lxvi pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages lxi).