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vegaji
Apr 14, 2004

john brown split this heart


So, the old Russian literature thread has sunk to the bottom of the Book Barn sea. Here's a new one! I'll put a tiny amount of effort into this post:


Alexander Pushkin
This is the #1 man in Russian literature. He lived for about 40 years, is commonly called the "Shakespeare of Russian literature," and had a super interesting life. He wrote in the early part of the 19th century, as a main component of the Golden Age of Russian literature.

He's especially amazing because he not only wrote in, but mastered almost every genre of writing you can imagine. He wrote the best prose in verse novel you can find in Russian, possibly in any language in Eugene Onegin. He had great short fiction, such as in "The Queen of Spades." He wrote nonfiction, in researching Pugachev's rebellions along the Great Steppe. Plus, he wrote a magnificent historical fiction novel called The Captain's Daughter towards the end of his life.

Did I mention that he is indisputably Russia's greatest poet, and among the greatest poets in all of literature?



Leo Tolstoy
Who doesn't know good ole' Lev Nikolaevich? He wrote two of the greatest novels in history and is considered the master of realist literature, along with Gustave Flaubert (at least, in this poster's opinion). He led an incredibly interesting life, with a lot of work in education reform, religious philosophy (he was something like a "Christian Anarchist," in loose terms), and poetics. You probably already know him, but if not -- read Anna Karenina! You can't understand Russian literature as a whole until you do. If you just want a taste of his prose, read The Death of Ivan Ilych, a wonderful novella.



Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Another man known for his monstrously long novels. He has three Great Novels, and another that isn't quite so good. The Brothers Karamazov, Crime & Punishment, Idiot are the three big ones. Devls/Demons/The Possessed is the very-long-but-not-so-great one. The dude was a gambler, alcoholic, and possibly a mystic. He was defined by his troubles and his mock execution, after being associated with the wrong folks during the reign of Nicholas I. He was sent off to Siberia, where he gathered the material to write The House of the Dead. His novels are obviously Great, with a capital G, but I'm more of a Tolstoy guy than a Dostoyevsky one. He is absolutely requisite reading for anyone remotely interested in Russian lit. His most accessible novel is C&P. Brothers K and Idiot are both daunting and filled with philosophy. Idiot is my favorite of his novels, but most people are all about the wonderful Brothers K.


Anton Chekhov
The monocle. His gun. He's the greatest playwriter and short story writer in the language, and maybe the best short story writer of all time. He wrote around the turn of the century and is maybe my favorite Russian writer. His short stories (and plays, to an extent) are characterized by their method of showing a snippet of real life, in a self-contained world. That is, they begin with problems preexisting, and end with unresolved issues. He is by far the easiest of these writers to read in Russian and English -- he could easily be read in his native language by a 2nd or 3rd year nonnative Russian student.

Some of his best plays are The Seagull and The Cherry Orchard. Some of his best short stories are The Lady with the Lapdog and Sleepy, though he has a heap of them. They're all wonderful.


Anna Akhmatova
Outside of Gogol's short story, she has the most recognizable and iconic nose in all of Russia. She is possibly the greatest of the Silver Age poets and had a really goddamned hard life. She wrote from the early 20th century all throughout her life, dying eventually in 1966. I have a professor that was actually in Leningrad at the time of her funeral, stood next to Akhmatova's soon, and went to the funeral (which was unpublicized by the state media).

She slept with all of the great poets of the time, married a ton of times, and lived through the Siege of Leningrad as the country's national poet at the time. She had her poetry read through loudspeakers to the people of the city, who would be starving and downtrodden from the German siege. Her Requiem is absolutely terrific and has some of the best poetry around. She was a symbolist early in her writing, but then shifted away from it as the 20s winded down.




It's almost midnight and I just ran through some of the Big Names here. I'll add more later when I have more energy and time. Please feel free to add any profiles for your favorite Russian writers.


Starter question: I've been getting into Mayakovsky lately, with the Bedbug and his poetry. What are some of your guys' favorite poetry/drama from him?

A second question: Similar question for Zamyatin. Obviously We is his big story, but I want to read a lot more of his poetics and short stories. "The Cave" is one of my favorite short stories in any language. Any suggestions/direction?

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z0331
Oct 2, 2003

Holtby thy name


Thanks for re-posting this.

I've been starting to realize how much I enjoy Russian lit. I love a good psychological/philosphical/theological treatise in narrative form, and few do it better than the Russians.

My experience is pretty small, though. I read Brothers Karamazov a while back (the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation) and loved it. A short while ago I read a collection of short stories by Chekhov and enjoyed them quite a bit, too, Ward No. 6 especially.

Right now I'm working through Crime and Punishment. It's the Garnett translation (all that's available on Kindle) but so far I'm enjoying it a lot.

I think one thing that has struck me so far is that, after reading so much pain and anguish in Russian literature, it's almost surprising to read about true familial love or friendship. For example the letter Raskolnikov receives from his mother wherein she really seems to love and care about him, or when his friend tries to help him while he's sick. Granted I haven't finished so I'm not sure how these relationships end up (though I know the basic plot of the book) but it makes it all the harder to see how Raskolnikov will gently caress it all up.

I will say, too, that even knowing how the crime would end up, I practically had a heart attack during the lead up to it and the immediate afterwards.

Ayato
Jul 26, 2005

what

So, I read Fathers and Sons awhile back and loved it, I haven't heard much about Turgenev's other novels though. Where should I go from there?

Dr Scoofles
Dec 6, 2004



vegaji posted:

Outside of Gogol's short story, she has the most recognizable and iconic nose in all of Russia.

I would like to tip my hat to Gogol Nikolai for being one weird son of a bitch. I've read a few of his short stories and find them to be so very delightful. My own prejudice against Russian lit (I beleived it was all as thick as tar and impossible to get through) was pretty much snuffed out.

Minimaul
Mar 8, 2003



I read Crime and Punishment about a month ago. That was my first dip into Russian lit. I really liked it. Next on my list is Anna Karenina. I'd like to start that one next week, when I finish the books I'm reading now.

With C & P I started with the free Kindle edition, but something about it bothered me. Ended up hearing about the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation. I found it in a local book store and read a page or so and preferred that over what I was reading so I picked up the book. Also, felt better holding that hefty thing in my hands while reading. Also go the P & V translation of Anna Karenina.

Not sure where I'll go after that.

vegaji
Apr 14, 2004

john brown split this heart


Minimaul posted:

I read Crime and Punishment about a month ago. That was my first dip into Russian lit. I really liked it. Next on my list is Anna Karenina. I'd like to start that one next week, when I finish the books I'm reading now.

With C & P I started with the free Kindle edition, but something about it bothered me. Ended up hearing about the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation. I found it in a local book store and read a page or so and preferred that over what I was reading so I picked up the book. Also, felt better holding that hefty thing in my hands while reading. Also go the P & V translation of Anna Karenina.

Not sure where I'll go after that.
In general, following Pevear and Volohkhonsky translations is a great idea. They've translated a big part of the Great Texts, and obviously their translations are top notch. A handful of years ago, they put out a fantastic translation of Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. It's probably the best Russian novel of the 20th century, though you have to be familiar with a lot of culture and literature to really understand it (Stalinist Russia, the purges, Goethe's Faust, etc).

Also, like Dr Scoofles said, Gogol is absolutely tremendous. He's insanely accessible, with his short stories ranging from Ukrainian folk tales turned into weird mystical journeys ("Viy"), to the Petersburgian tales, such as "Nose" and "Nevsky Prospekt." Also, he wrote some good theatre, with The Inspector General. Pevear+Volokhonsky did translations of his collected short stories.

Dr Scoofles
Dec 6, 2004



I've been tempted to give Crime and Punishment a go on audiobook. I'm too snowed under with reading for uni to get into the book, so audio in the car for my 2 hour daily commute is perfect.

I don't suppose anybody has any recomendations of a good unabridged audiobook?

barkingclam
Jun 20, 2007


Can anybody recommend a translation for Gogol's Dead Souls? I almost bought the one by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky yesterday but wasn't sure if that's one to go for.

DurianGray
Dec 23, 2010

King of Fruits


The Pevear and Volokhonsky translations are considered the best ones currently, so you should be good. I've heard people warn against anything that was translated by Constance Garnett for some reason, but I haven't read anything translated by her so I can't give you much more than that.

I pretty much just started The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov and I have to say it's pretty drat enjoyable so far. I've read at least a little of most of the big names (Tolstoy, Dosto, Chekhov, etc.) because of a Russian Literature course I took recently that was a lot of fun. I still need to read Gogol and Pushkin though.

Extortionist
Aug 31, 2001

Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.

vegaji posted:

Starter question: I've been getting into Mayakovsky lately, with the Bedbug and his poetry. What are some of your guys' favorite poetry/drama from him?
Maybe I haven't read the right stuff from him but I always had the feeling that Mayakovsky was important more for his place historically (being opposed to romanticism and modernism, and outspokenly Soviet) than for any timeless quality to his poetry. That is, I found him interesting to read in opposition to earlier poetry, but on his own he doesn't come anywhere near Akhmatova et al. (And I've never come across his drama, so I can't comment on that)

Though I remember thinking Из улица в улицу (From Street to Street, probably) was interesting, along with some of his other earlier work. Left March is one of his more well-known poems, I think.

Also if you ever find yourself in Moscow you must go to the Mayakovsky museum.

Minimaul
Mar 8, 2003



DurianGray posted:

The Pevear and Volokhonsky translations are considered the best ones currently, so you should be good.

Definitely. I'll be sticking with those translations till I find something better, or end up liking other translations more... Or till I can magically read Russian.

Dawncloack
Nov 26, 2007
ECKS DEE!

I'm a complete ignorant, but I'm a bit surprised that Marina Tsvetaeva wasn't even mentioned...

Bohemienne
May 15, 2007


I read gobs and gobs of classic/Soviet literature in college, but now I'd really like to get into contemporary writers of all genres. Last time I was in Russia (2003) I tried asking around, but most of the Russians I met were reading Haruki Murakami and the like. What's out there, besides the Nochnoi Dozor/Night Watch series?

Stella Jay
Dec 25, 2010



barkingclam posted:

Can anybody recommend a translation for Gogol's Dead Souls? I almost bought the one by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky yesterday but wasn't sure if that's one to go for.

I minored in Russian/Russian Lit and we always read the Pevear/Volokhonsky translations. They provide a lovely English translation that flows well and reads beautifully while maintaining as much of the original context as possible.

I need to give a shout-out to my homie Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov, who makes me ashamed of my language skills. His earlier works are written in Russian, but later novels were written originally (and masterfully) in English. He puts most native English speakers to shame. His prose is a trip and a delight to read. I just finished Pnin and it's hilarious in a sad way. I intend to rip right through his other works as soon as possible.

vegaji
Apr 14, 2004

john brown split this heart


Bohemienne posted:

I read gobs and gobs of classic/Soviet literature in college, but now I'd really like to get into contemporary writers of all genres. Last time I was in Russia (2003) I tried asking around, but most of the Russians I met were reading Haruki Murakami and the like. What's out there, besides the Nochnoi Dozor/Night Watch series?
Most of the Russians in the Petersburg metro I saw would be reading Metro 2033 books and The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo. Sigh.

But really, my favorite living Russian author is Valentin Rasputin. He wrote a ton in the 1970s with Village Prose. He's still alive and is always in the background of Nobel Prize for Literature conversation, but he'll never get it. I actually bought one of his books today at a used book store, which was a great find

Mikhail Kuraev, a Petersburgian writer, is visiting my school so I'm going to give his stuff a read. It's hard tracking down his stuff in Russian, but I found a translated novel of his called Night Watch on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Night-Patrol-...ntt_at_ep_dpt_1

That said, have you read any Yuri Trifomov? I haven't read a ton of Soviet lit, but I found one of his books in Russian. It was called The Old Man/Старик and was tremendous -- it reminded me of Faulkner so much.

Grushenka
Jan 4, 2009

There's nothing better than borsch.


As for living writers, I still love Sorokin. I remember reading The Queue and loving it. Blue Lard is good too.

Also I have been to the Mayakovsky museum in Moscow, it's ace, but the people that run it are utterly bonkers. If you want to get into Mayakovsky, I'd start by reading the manifesto "Slap in the Face of Public Taste" and then maybe read "лиличка" and "облако в штанах", which is really quite great. I find that his obvious passion is what really makes his poetry.

I actually am doing postgraduate work in Russian literature, so seeing this thread get revived is awesome. Thanks so much Vegaji!

OWLS!
Sep 17, 2009

You'll be back.

~SMcD

Whazzup St. Petersburg homies.

Gonna have to chime in here and vouch for Goncharov. The Frigate Pallada and On The Eve (though I'll take issue with the translation of the title of the latter into English, but eh.) are pretty great reads.

As for living writers, I tend to hit the pulp fantasy and scifi side of Russian lit myself, plenty of cheesy shlock, but hey. Probably somewhat shameful to admit that I re-read Zubko/Зубко 's Волхв Самозванец (Magus/Priest - Impostor) every two years or so, but eh.

DaveThompson
Oct 2, 2006

I want this pilot. It's a matter of national security. Wherever you are, Mr. Helicopter Pilot, come out of your hole.

DurianGray posted:

I pretty much just started The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov and I have to say it's pretty drat enjoyable so far. I've read at least a little of most of the big names (Tolstoy, Dosto, Chekhov, etc.) because of a Russian Literature course I took recently that was a lot of fun. I still need to read Gogol and Pushkin though.
If you're looking for more Bulgakov I highly recommend reading Heart of a Dog, which I found to be quite an amusing short story. I've been trying to introduce a friend to russian lit so I used that as a short introductory piece.

Gogol's The Government Inspector is another great piece of satire that makes for a quick read.


I just finished up Notes from the Underground / The Double recently. These are some of Dostoyevsky's earlier works, which apparently set the stage for his better known titles. I will probably try out some Chekhov or Pushkin before getting back to F.D. though.

Pfirti86
Oct 23, 2005


I really enjoyed Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's Cancer Ward. The one quote that really gets me is "'An evil man threw tobacco in the macaque-rhesus eyes.' Oleg was struck dumb. Up to then he had been strolling along smiling with knowing condescension, but now he felt like yelling and roaring across the whole zoo, as though the tobacco had been thrown into his own eyes. 'Why?' Thrown into its eyes, just like that! 'Why? It's senseless! Why?'" . I'm hoping to read The First Circle soon, as there's a relatively new translation out after years of inferior and out-of-print versions.

Doghouse
Oct 22, 2004

So many people we vaguely knew died the weeks we were there - car accidents, AIDS, murders, overdoses, fell into vats of acid - that the amount for the

Chekhov is really the best writing out there. The House With the Mezzanine is probably my favorite thing. The Kiss and The Duel are also amazing. Some of his earlier writing is hilarious. I have about 10 short story anthologies that I collected from a used bookstore. I couldn't make it through The Steppe, though - I just found it incredibly boring.

I like Tolstoy and Dostoevsky a lot also, but I've never read Pushkin. I'm surprised you called him "#1" - I was under the impression that Tolstoy was considered the top of the top.

vegaji
Apr 14, 2004

john brown split this heart


Doghouse posted:

I like Tolstoy and Dostoevsky a lot also, but I've never read Pushkin. I'm surprised you called him "#1" - I was under the impression that Tolstoy was considered the top of the top.
Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky are 1 a. and b. among non-Russians.

Among Russians, Pushkin is #1, with everyone else miles and miles away from being 2. I cannot overstate how important he is to the Russian language and culture. Quite a few cities have statues to him, schools are named after him routinely, and I saw a ton of graffiti about Pushkin all over Petersburg in the most random of places. I'd see "PUSHKIN IS OUR EVERYTHING" (ПУШКИН - НАШЕ ВСЁ) in the super low-income area I lived in, next to "I love Masha" and drawings of dicks.

He isn't as big in America because he's really hard to translate. Within the Russian language, he's unmatched.

Grushenka
Jan 4, 2009

There's nothing better than borsch.


I have to back up that sentiment. I met a big name in Russian studies who came to speak at our university, and during the dinner afterwards we all came to a discussion of why Pushkin isn't more popular in English. The answer is that part of what makes Pushkin so great is the language he uses. Obviously, translating it makes it lose a bit of the magic, you know?

HeroOfTheRevolution
Apr 26, 2008



Bely's Petersburg, Olesha's Envy, Pelevin's Omon Ra, and Erofeev's Moscow to the End of the Line are a few of my favorites. Petersburg is batshit crazy, Envy is a fun because it's basically a goon sitting on a guy's couch and being an rear end in a top hat in the early days of the Soviet Union, and the other two are newer and more accessible.

God I hate Tolstoy and Dostoevsky.

silly
Jul 15, 2004

"I saw it get by the mound, and I saw Superman at second base."


I'm thinking about the next big piece of Russian literature I want to take on, it's been a while. My main criterion at this point is that a good translation version (preferably Pevear and Volokhonsky) is available on Kindle. I read their War and Peace a couple years ago and their Brothers K way back in high school.

Right now I'm thinking either Doctor Zhivago because I dig the movie and haven't read any Pasternak or a re-read of Anna Karenina since I read another translation and that was about a decade ago.

Any other suggestions?

fret logic
Mar 8, 2005
roffle


I found The Brothers K on my sister's bookshelf when I was house sitting for a month, I didn't know she had such similar taste in books (I loved that bookshelf) and I found many I enjoyed. I picked up The Brothers and started reading before I knew anything of it or Dostoevsky. I found it very rich in detail and humanity and absolutely loved it. I'm still not finished but it's a joy to read. Also "The Grand Inquisitor" was as amazing as everyone said it was.

Around the same time when I picked up my own copy and gave hers back (hah I felt wrong about taking so long to read someone else's book), I also picked up Crime and Punishment. Go ahead and yell at me but I like The Brothers better.

fret logic fucked around with this message at Feb 24, 2011 around 21:24

ketamino
Dec 6, 2010


silly posted:

I'm thinking about the next big piece of Russian literature I want to take on, it's been a while. My main criterion at this point is that a good translation version (preferably Pevear and Volokhonsky) is available on Kindle. I read their War and Peace a couple years ago and their Brothers K way back in high school.

Right now I'm thinking either Doctor Zhivago because I dig the movie and haven't read any Pasternak or a re-read of Anna Karenina since I read another translation and that was about a decade ago.

Any other suggestions?

I read the original Hayward & Harari translation of Doctor Zhivago and I will say that it gets hung up on details at times, but just when you're about to put it down you turn the page and get assailed by raw and incredibly moving prose. I started reading the original Constance Garnett translation of C & P in high school and really struggled with it until I went and bought the Pevear and Volokohnsky translation, which was MUCH more fluent and engaging (they just released a translation of Zhivago last year). I'm a believer in their work and I could definitely see where they could do some good with Zhivago, particularly with their attention to the narrative tone.

If you're interested I'd read this:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/201...nak-translation
Just a different view.

Also the Zhivago movie kicked rear end that's one to see whether you've read the book or not.

silly
Jul 15, 2004

"I saw it get by the mound, and I saw Superman at second base."


That's an interesting read about the Pevear & Volokhonsky translation. I confess though I've taken a few classes on Russian lit years ago and even struggled with the language for two years I find it hard to truly look critically at translation. I've read different translations of the same material but never side-by-side or anything like that.

At this point I'm a bit of P&V fanboy which was probably instilled on me by a teacher in high school and reinforced because I liked their War and Peace a lot. So I'll probably stick with them for Doctor Zhivago when I get around to it.

And yes I saw the old Omar Sharif movie back in high school, it's really amazing. I want to watch it again but three hours is a long haul for my attention span.

vegaji
Apr 14, 2004

john brown split this heart


I was accepted into a Master's Program for Slavic Languages/Literatures on Friday!

To celebrate, here is my favorite Russian short story (sorry, only in Russian, I can't find the English version online). It's a pretty easy story to read in Russian, if you've only had two-three years of study.

"The Cave" by Yevgeny Zamyatin
http://az.lib.ru/z/zamjatin_e_i/text_0110.shtml

vegaji fucked around with this message at Mar 6, 2011 around 23:03

z0331
Oct 2, 2003

Holtby thy name


Congrats on the acceptance.

I've been accepted to at least one Comparative Lit. MA program where I'm planning to do Japanese/American lit. studies. Recently, though, I've been thinking of trying to throw some Russian into the mix since I think there are some interesting things that could be said in comparing Japanese and Russian authors.

Pokeytax
Jun 13, 2005

"Nigga, is you taking notes on a criminal fucking conspiracy?"

Stella Jay posted:

[Nabokov's] earlier works are written in Russian, but later novels were written originally (and masterfully) in English.

Yeah, if you want to dip your toes into Russian lit Nabokov is a great choice; he was one of the great English prose stylists of the 20th century, and oversaw most of his translations (even retranslating Laughter in the Dark himself when the first attempt was inadequate). Pevear & Volokhonsky have thankfully greatly closed the gap by producing quality translations of the rest of the canon, but Nabokov's Russian output is still remarkably continuous with his English.


That was an interesting read, thanks. Certainly don't agree, though. I'm not saying it's necessary, or even always desirable, for the author of a book to take a large role in its translation, but for example, the Nabokov-influenced translations of his own work are chock-full of the kind of "Russified English" she derides, and it's not as if he wasn't paying attention. Quite possibly her point is that Zhivago demands a more immediate translation than Nabokov's disembodied prose, which is fine, but even if Pasternak is your uncle, you don't get to decide the one correct way to translate his book... translation isn't just a sliding scale between "each of these words run through Babelfish" and "Shakespeare in Russian".

Lakedaimon
Jan 11, 2007



Its probably considered a minor work but I also really enjoyed Varlam Shamalov's Kolyma Tales

vegaji
Apr 14, 2004

john brown split this heart


Lakedaimon posted:

Its probably considered a minor work but I also really enjoyed Varlam Shamalov's Kolyma Tales
I read a few of those stories back in 2008 or so, and you're right -- they are tremendous. There is a lot of great literature about the Siberian labor camps outside of Solzhenitsyn.

Rurik
Mar 5, 2010

Thief
Warrior
Gladiator
Grand Prince

I'm currently reading Tolstoy's Resurrection and I reached the second part just yesterday. So far I have enjoyed it far more than Tolstoy's other works. Anna Karenina and War and Peace are excellent too, but I got into reading Tolstoy relatively recently and his shadow precedes his texts. So I expected Christian existentialism and was disappointed when I found very little of it in Anna Karenina.

However Resurrection has been exactly what I have been expecting. It contains just the sort of theological and moral contemplation I am attracted to and the writing is superb. I like realism, but too intense realism can feel at some points tedious. In Resurrection Tolstoy has the narrator at some point commenting on the events and the moral condition of Man and The System. I like to think of this commentary as the spice of the book.

I must confess I haven't read a single Russian classic in its entirety. I have read over a half of Anna Karenina, a quarter of War and Peace and about a hundred pages separates me from having read the Karamazov Brothers completely. At the time I read Anna Karenina I had other course books requiring my attention and something similar happened with War and Peace. Don't know why I left the Karamazovs though even though I was nearly finished. Having read 150 pages of Crime and Punishment I've concluded that Dostoyevsky's style is simply too tedious. He writes well but there's also stuff that offers this particular reader no enjoyment.

After having read Resurrection, I'm planning to give it as a gift to my friend. He already got War and Peace from me for birthday, but I'm not sure how much he liked it (said that "so far it's been only presentation of characters").

Grushenka
Jan 4, 2009

There's nothing better than borsch.


vegaji posted:

I was accepted into a Master's Program for Slavic Languages/Literatures on Friday!

Congratulations!!! Welcome to the wonderful and weird world of postgraduate studies. What will you be focussing on?

vegaji
Apr 14, 2004

john brown split this heart


Grushenka posted:

Congratulations!!! Welcome to the wonderful and weird world of postgraduate studies. What will you be focussing on?
I want to work with cognitive linguistics in Slavic languages and the Silver Age of Russian lit. I'm also going to start taking Polish and maybe BCS. My school rules in that it also offers Slovene, Czech, and sometimes Bulgarian. So, I have plenty of options.

Here is a parallel Russian/English translation of Master and Margarita:
http://getparalleltranslations.com/...nd-Margarita/11
It's arranged very nicely and good for reading in bits and pieces for when you're busy/at work.

CaptainPsyko
May 2, 2004

CAN YOU PICTURE THAT


vegaji posted:

Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky are 1 a. and b. among non-Russians.

Among Russians, Pushkin is #1, with everyone else miles and miles away from being 2. I cannot overstate how important he is to the Russian language and culture. Quite a few cities have statues to him, schools are named after him routinely, and I saw a ton of graffiti about Pushkin all over Petersburg in the most random of places. I'd see "PUSHKIN IS OUR EVERYTHING" (ПУШКИН - НАШЕ ВСЁ) in the super low-income area I lived in, next to "I love Masha" and drawings of dicks.

He isn't as big in America because he's really hard to translate. Within the Russian language, he's unmatched.

Pushkin is to Russia what Shakespeare is to English literature. It's just that simple. It's not just the quality of his work (which is astounding), but the fact that he is basically the originator of 'Russian Literature' as a real source of national pride - not only was he the best, he was the first. Furthering the analogy, Pushkin did a lot to expand the Russian vocabulary at the time, and on top of it all, the operas adapted from his work are some of the finest pieces of that storied Russian art.

So yeah, Pushkin is a Big Deal.


On an unrelated note, the OP has nowhere near enough Gogol.

HeroOfTheRevolution
Apr 26, 2008



vegaji posted:

I want to work with cognitive linguistics in Slavic languages and the Silver Age of Russian lit. I'm also going to start taking Polish and maybe BCS. My school rules in that it also offers Slovene, Czech, and sometimes Bulgarian. So, I have plenty of options.

I speak fluent Bulgarian. Bulgarian is probably the easiest, especially coming from Russian. Also the most useless. At least the literature is pretty interesting.

Pfirti86
Oct 23, 2005


HeroOfTheRevolution posted:

I speak fluent Bulgarian. Bulgarian is probably the easiest, especially coming from Russian. Also the most useless. At least the literature is pretty interesting.

Hmm, Bulgarian lit does sound like a neat subgenre. Any that you'd recommend (that maybe have been translated to English)?

Grushenka
Jan 4, 2009

There's nothing better than borsch.


My Bulgarian is okay, but I've read some Bulgarian literature in English. I quite like Ivan Vazov's Under the Yoke but that's nineteenth century and I can't think of anything more recent that I've read

Also Peyo Yavorov has some lovely poetry.

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Minimaul
Mar 8, 2003



I'm about 200 pages into Anna Karenina right now. I'm really enjoying it so far. I feel like I'm a part of the world and each character is a friend of mine. I also don't really mind the long detailed paragraphs, while over all they mostly just describe trivial things, I feel that those things are the details of the painted picture. The little things in the background that while you don't need it to understand and like the picture or painting as a whole it just gives it that finer detail that adds to it. I donno. Just really digging it so far.

Went through this thread and even one of the older Russian Lit threads. Got a whole slew of books on my to-buy and to-read list now. I read Crime and Punishment back in January, and We in February. I almost picked up The Master and Margarita the other day when I was at the book store, but decided against it because I have a few others sitting on my shelf that I want to read. I think I'll go back and pick it up and have that be my next main book to read when I'm done with Anna Karenina. After that I'd like to dive back into some Dostoyevsky and read The Brothers Karamazov. For me, I think it's best if I alternate between a few of the writers otherwise I'll get burnt out. I'll also be reading non-Russian writers between and sometimes simultaneously just to keep things fresh.

Does anybody else, when reading this stuff, read it in a kind of frantic manner? I don't know if it's just me, or if I read poorly but whenever I read Russian Lit I have a frantic, speedy, all exclamation reading style while going through it. Does it come across like that for anyone else? Is it supposed to? Is it just because of it being translated, or is it like that in Russian too? Or am I just horribly retarded? Anyway.

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