Tag Archives: Russian Literature

Dante’s Shoe Soles

It’s difficult reading poetry in translation. I’ve read all the usual Russian poets: Akhmatova, Tsvetaeva, Pasternak, Brodsky, and the elusive Mandelstam, but I can’t imagine that much of the poetry comes through. English translators usually avoid trying to reproduce the … Continue reading

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Interpretative Revelation

But all at once it dawned on me that this Was the real point, the contrapuntal theme; Just this: not text; not the dream But topsy-turvical coincidence, Not flimsy nonsense, but a web of sense. Yes! It sufficed that I … Continue reading

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Portrait of Anna Akhmatova

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Rare Birds

Where does the Blogger’s Code (you know those self-appointed men that harangue from street corners) stand on updating old posts? I’d never thought much about it, except to correct typos, until I read One Activity You Should Do On Your … Continue reading

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Reshaping People

I adore Richard Rorty’s introduction to the Everyman edition of Nabokov’s Pale Fire: But Nabokov helps us remember that we can only respect what we can notice, and that it is often very hard for us to notice that other … Continue reading

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So This Is How I Turned Into A Dog

This is entirely unbearable! As though bitten all over by malice. I rage not like anyone could possibly, Like a hound at the bareheaded moon – in its face then howl at everything. Nerves, it must be…. Go outside, take … Continue reading

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Better than a Dublin jarvey!

Mehmed IV, Sultan of the 1676 Ottoman Empire, demanded that the Cossacks submit to Turkish rule. The Cossacks reply, led by Ivan Serko, is one of the finest streams of invective since Rabelais: Zaporozhian Cossacks to the Turkish Sultan! O … Continue reading

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Coetzee’s The Master of Petersburg

Such darkness in Coetzee’s The Master of Petersburg, ostensibly the tale of a haunted, fictionalised Dostoevsky returning to nineteenth century St Petersburg to mourn and collect the papers of a dead stepson, who has apparently become the political tool of … Continue reading

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Dostoevsky, Notes From Underground: A List of Ten

Nabokov often displayed his contempt for Dostoevsky (whom he nicknamed Dusty) categorising him as one of the mediocre and overrated people. Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, which I read as a teenager, a dozen times, remains one of my favourite books. Having read … Continue reading

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Joseph Brodsky: Six Years Later

So long had life together been that now the second of January fell again on Tuesday, making her astonished brow lift like a windshield wiper in the rain, so that her misty sadness cleared, and showed a cloudless distance waiting … Continue reading

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