Then he quotes “an old poet” (presumably Nabokov himself):
These lectures were given by Nabokov at several of the universities he taught at over the years. He also conducted a course on literature in general which was not restricted to Russian works. In this book, six different Russian authors were discussed. I only read two of the lectures, since I was only interested in his comments on Gogol and Turgenev. There were also lectures included on Dostoevski, Tolstoy, Chekhov, and Gorki. As additional material, the publishers also included two other articles by the author: “Philistines and Philistinism,” and “The Art of Translation,” both of which were interesting. Although former students stated that Nabokov simply stood in front of his classes and read from his lectures, it would still have been a great experience to have been in the audience when he did so. The two works that I went through on Gogol and Turgenev were excellent, and pointed out things that I had missed totally when I had read those authors. What also impressed me was that Nabokov had read all the various translations into English available for these authors at the time. It was amazing to me that such variability existed among them, and how such differences made striking differences in the final meanings of the texts. This book is more of a reference book than a collection of essays – though I am forced to place it in my essay shelves. If you are interested in the Golden Age of Russian literature, then this volume should be in your library.
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Also in the issue: a debut short story by Toronto-based writer Camilla Grudova, exploring the strange, hypnotic workings of Agata’s machine; another story by Jessie Greengrass from her debut collection An Account of the Decline of the Great Auk, According to One Who Saw It (published in July by JM Originals); and a selection of poetry by the Russian poet, film-maker and artist, Tatiana Daniliyants (translated by Katherine Young).
Nabokov essays on russian literature images
The third annual January translation online issue, edited by Daniel Medin, opens with an interview with the foremost Afrikaans writer of her generation, the novelist, poet, critic and scholar Marlene van Niekerk, whose ‘work casts an unflinching, penetrating regard on post-apartheid South African society, registering beauty and frailty alongside almost unbearable cruelty’. Alongside her, Russian poet Galina Rymbu contributes a long poem, ‘Sex Is a Desert’. We also have new short stories by Bolivian writer Liliana Colanzi, a rising star in Latin American fiction; and Indonesian novelist Eka Kurniawan, whose novels Beauty is a Wound and Man Tiger were published last year in English to great critical acclaim.