Eugene Onegin – a day late

Once again, I was surprised how much I enjoyed this reading and many thanks to Marian at tanglewood for hosting.  The pace was excellent for me, leaving plenty of time to slip the chapters in between other readings and yet not forget what had happened.   Taken as a whole it’s a bit odd.   Sort of jumps around abruptly.   It does feel like he wrote the different parts at widely different intervals.   Suddenly Tatyana’s all sophisticated and grown-up and Eugene has lost his Byronic indifference.   There’s a fine how-do-you-do.   But whatever you make of the plot such as it is, the verse is amazing.   So light.   So full of humor.   This is a Russian?   It reminds me of someone, but then I tried to think of whom and no one I’ve read is like this.   Granted, my reading of poetry is pretty minimal.   Did I say already it’s like watching a ballet?   A witty ballet.   I must definitely read some more Pushkin.  I must also recommend the Falen translation.  I don’t know Russian and have only read a stanza of other translations, and honestly, most of them seemed fine, but I can say Falen keeps up the tone and captures at least some of the wit.   Unless you know both languages, you don’t know what is lost, but Falen captures so much that I believe I can recommend his version without hesitation.


My book says Pushkin died March 1st, Wikipedia says February 10th.   Did someone get confused switching calendars?  Either way it was close to 177 years ago, having fought a duel, though Eugene Onegin illustrates how stupid duels could be.

In addition to the Readalong, I believe this also qualifies as Russian Literature and European Reading and A Classic in Translation.   It is not a cozy mystery.   Definitely need more Pushkin in my future.   Maybe someone will host another readalong?  Hint, hint.


6 thoughts on “Eugene Onegin – a day late”

  1. Thanks for linking your post to the Back to the Classics Challenge! I’ve never read Pushkin and my knowledge of Russian classics is pretty sadly lacking. I’ll have to look for this one when I get over my fear of Russian writers.

    1. Pushkin, at least Eugene Onegin, is probably the least intimidating Russian writer I’ve read. Even though it’s poetry which always gives me pause. Is it the Byronic influence? French influence? I don’t know, but it takes real artistry and skill to write that lightly, I believe. So completely different from Dostoevsky and Tolstoy.

  2. I’m really sorry that I didn’t realize that you were doing the read-along, otherwise I would have commented on all your posts as we went. This was my second time reading the poem and I got much more out of it this time. I prefer the Falen translation to the Johnston (my first read).

    Yes, I was surprised at the jaunty tone of the poem. After being used to serious dramatic Russian works, this was a pleasant surprise.

    I enjoyed your reviews and I hope to run into you at another read-along! 🙂

    1. I’m glad you found out so I could thank you for hosting and introducing me to Pushkin! For some reason there are a whole lot of blogspot blogs I can’t comment on. It’s very strange and annoying.

      I hope to read-along with you again sometime, too! I really enjoy read-a-longs. It’s like belonging to an ever-changing book club that only reads things you’re interested in.

      1. I didn’t host this one, that was Marian, but I was happy to participate. I try to make it around to everyone’s blogs for read-alongs and at least make a comment or two so it feels more like we’re reading together.

        Well, there is an Odyssey read-along in progress, a Candide read-along that just started and the Chronicles of Barsetshire & a Madame Bovary read-along coming up. Also I’ve heard rumours of a Canterbury Tales read-along in April but nothing official yet. Most of them are posted on the Feb-Mar Event Call on the Classics Club site or you can check my blog if you’re interested!

      2. Oops, how embarrassing. Thanks, Marian! I’m doing the Candide and Barsetshire – at least the first book. Canterbury Tales would be good. I love these readalongs. They get me reading things I always meant to. I think I actually read Candide in school, but was too young to get it, really.

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