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Russian Literature


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#46 vagansmom

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 07:52 AM

Pherank (whom my iPad keeps trying to call Phreak), thank you for writing about Dr. Zhivago. I saw the movie first, back when I was quite young. I thought it was good, not great. I remember that I was bothered by Zhivago's infidelity. But my mom, a strict Catholic who didn't believe in divorce, told me to read the book so that I could understand the characters better; she had enormous sympathy for Zhivago. I did too once I read the book. Except for the cinematography - the snow was practically a character in the novel - the book is so much richer, both politically and in terms of characters. I know that's often true, but I found it to be truer of this book and movie than most others.

As far as what great Russian novel to read first, mine was Anna Karenina. My boyfriend at the time had to read it for college, so I read it too. I then launched into War and Peace, followed by Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov, and then a series of shorter works by Tolstoy and Dostoyevski. I look back on that year with great fondness as my mind was fully immersed in all matters Russian. I've never lost that affection.

I've mentioned it on other threads, but I reread War and Peace once every decade. It's a different book each time even though, until my most recent read, I used the very same physical book that I'd originally read. I switched things up this last time and found a whole new world! I read a modern translation. Until then, I hadn't known how funny Tolstoy could be! His descriptions of the military are especially hilarious. The translation I read is the one by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. I've just begun rereading a modern translation of the Brothers Karamazov.

#47 dirac

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 09:29 AM

Hello, vagansmom, good to hear from you. I started out with Anna Karenina, too, probably because I'd seen one of the movie or television versions first. I tend to be in favor of reading the book before seeing the movie, since even bad movies have a way of imposing their images in your mind's eye, but it's not always possible.

#48 pherank

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Posted 16 April 2013 - 01:26 PM

Pherank (whom my iPad keeps trying to call Phreak), thank you for writing about Dr. Zhivago.


Perhaps that is my real name, and I just can't hide from it! Nice to hear your thoughts on Zhivago - "the snow was practically a character in the novel" - Yes! And I happen to love that sort of imagery, so the descriptions of the weather will stay with me perhaps longer than the philosophizing, but it was all good for me. I've always remembered the chapter "Snow" from Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain - part of my personal mythology.

Hello, vagansmom, good to hear from you. I started out with Anna Karenina, too, probably because I'd seen one of the movie or television versions first. I tend to be in favor of reading the book before seeing the movie, since even bad movies have a way of imposing their images in your mind's eye, but it's not always possible.


I'm realizing that I just can't remember what Russian Literature book I read first, and it rather bothers me. I know that Dostoyevsky's The Idiot came early, and I was personally very affected by that book and still count it one of the most important readings in my life. During my adolescence I read a huge amount of European Literature and philosophy, especially in highschool (when I thought it was important to know all the 'classics' before going to college - How innocent is that!). So Russian Lit books are scattered throughout my reading history, but in no particular order.

#49 dirac

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 10:49 AM

vagansmom writes:

During my adolescence I read a huge amount of European Literature and philosophy, especially in highschool (when I thought it was important to know all the 'classics' before going to college - How innocent is that!).


Innocent, indeed, alas....

#50 vagansmom

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 04:54 PM

dirac, that's a great quote, but it's not mine - it's pherank's.

#51 pherank

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 05:04 PM

dirac, that's a great quote, but it's not mine - it's pherank's.


I didn't even notice that myself. ;)
And no offense taken.

#52 dirac

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Posted 02 May 2013 - 10:32 AM

Homer nods, what can I say? Sorry, pherank. Posted Image

#53 pherank

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Posted 17 September 2014 - 03:27 PM

I'm reviving the thread because I happened upon an interesting article in The Guardian -

Rereading: Doctor Zhivago which includes a fascinating discussion of the pitfalls of translation from Russian to English (or any Romance language, I would think).



#54 atm711

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 10:15 AM

While not in the category of Russian Literature my favorite is "Bronislava Nijinska's Early Memoirs"---it has the sweep of a Russian novel.

There was supposed to be a sequel, but her daughter Irina who edited the first volume passed away.



#55 pherank

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 11:59 AM

While not in the category of Russian Literature my favorite is "Bronislava Nijinska's Early Memoirs"---it has the sweep of a Russian novel.

There was supposed to be a sequel, but her daughter Irina who edited the first volume passed away.

 

Thanks for the suggestion - I wasn't aware Nijinska had written a memoir.




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