From Fyodor Dostoyevsky, “The Idiot”

tr Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky--letter written by a terminally-ill teenager, so Dostoyevsky is fully on-trend: First of all, there is a strange thought here: who, in the name of what right, in the name of what motive, would now take it into his head to dispute my right to these two or three weeks of my term? What court has any business here? Who precisely needs that I should not only be sentenced, but should graciously keep to the term of my sentence? Can it really be that anyone … [Read more...]

“The Quiet Rebels of Russian Translation”: An Interview with Pevear and Volokhonsky

at LitHub:VOLOKHONSKY Yes. We had yet another critic, at the very beginning, an old Russian émigré lady. When we first told her we were translating The Brothers Karamazov, she said, Oh, Dostoevsky, I hope you correct his awful style. I said, No, that is precisely what we’re going to keep. more … [Read more...]

Never Go to Dostoyevsky’s Parties: “The Eternal Husband and Other Stories”

Just a quick note to say that I finished this collection of short stories, translated by Pevear & Volokhonsky, and it's not solely for completists. I mean there is a lot of recognizably Dostoyevskyan howling, and some situations and images I hadn't seen elsewhere in his work. If you like him you should move it up your queue a bit, is what I'm saying.P/V are controversial. I don't know enough Russian to have an informed opinion, but my uninformed opinion is that they make Dostoyevsky … [Read more...]

“The Gift Shop of the Dead”: I Visit the Museum of Crime and Punishment

for AmSpec: For the past twelve years I’ve volunteered at a crisis pregnancy center serving mainly low-income women in the District of Columbia, and I’ve noticed something about how our clients talk: Nobody ever says “prison.” Boyfriends, husbands, fathers, sons were never “locked up,” “in jail,” or “serving time”; they were always “incarcerated.” There is an unexpected poignancy to the bureaucratic term—a lacy Latinate word suffused with so much pain, as if standardization and abstraction coul … [Read more...]

Dostoyevsky Pitches “Crime and Punishment”

don't miss the endnote: TO M.N. Katkov[First half of September], 1865, WiesbadenK[ind] S[ir] M[ikhail] N[ikiforovich]May I hope to have my story published in your magazine, R[ussian] M[essenger]?I have been working on it for 2 months now here in Wiesbaden, and it is nearing completion. It will contain between five and six printer’s sheets. I still have a couple of weeks’ work left on it, or perhaps a bit more. In any case, I can promise definitely that in a month at the very lat … [Read more...]

“Baby’s Touch ‘N Feel Guide to Russian Literature”

via NJMKW:The Brothers Karamazov Feel the soft little bag where Dmitri hides his shameful money. He wears the bag around his neck. It is full of rubles. Why doesn’t Dmitri save himself? more … [Read more...]

“Sparrows and Fathers”

me at AmCon. … [Read more...]


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