Archive for the ‘Russia’ Category

Constance Garnett’s “flaws were not the figment of a native speaker’s snobbery”

Constance Garnett

David Remnick writes:

Garnett’s flaws were not the figment of a native speaker’s snobbery. She worked with such speed, with such an eye toward the finish line, that when she came across a word or a phrase that she couldn’t make sense of she would skip it and move on. Life is short, “The Idiot” long. Garnett is often wooden in her renderings, sometimes unequal to certain verbal motifs and particularly long and complicated sentences. The typescripts of Nabokov’s lectures, which he delivered while teaching undergraduates at Wellesley and Cornell, are full of anti-Garnett vitriol; his margins are a congeries of pencilled exclamations and crabby demurrals on where she had “messed up.” For example, where a passage in the Garnett of “Anna” reads, “Holding his head bent down before him,” Nabokov triumphantly notes, “Mark that Mrs. Garnett has decapitated the man.” When Nabokov was working on a study of Gogol, he complained, “I have lost a week already translating passages I need in ‘The Inspector General’ as I can do nothing with Constance Garnett’s dry shit.”

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Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko dies at 84

Yevgeny Yevtushenko

The Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko has died of heart failure in the United States at the age of 84.

Yevtushenko was the last surviving major poet of those who came to prominence in the USSR of the 1960s.

He is best-known for his epic work, Babi Yar.

It commemorates one of the worst Nazi atrocities of the Second World War, in which tens of thousands of Jews and other prisoners were killed in the Ukrainian capital Kiev.

Beauty and the Beast: Russia considers ban over ‘gay moment’

The movie's trailer had almost 130 million views in 24 hours

The movie’s trailer had almost 130 million views in 24 hours

Russian officials are coming under pressure to check if Disney’s new film Beauty and the Beast breaches the country’s law against “gay propaganda”.

One MP described it as “shameless propaganda of sin” and Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky said action would be taken after the checks.

The live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast features Disney’s first ever gay character and love scene.

A Russian law prohibits the spreading of “gay propaganda” among minors.

The 2013 legislation, which angered human rights activists and the international gay community, suggests that homosexuality – described as “non-traditional sexual relations” – is alien to life in Russia.

Many homophobic attacks have been documented in Russia.

Director Bill Condon has spoken of an “exclusively gay moment” in Beauty and the Beast.

Tolstoy Death & Funeral/ Video

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Tolstoy Death & Funeral/ Video.

“Requiem” by Anna Akhmatova/ Audio

Anna Akhmatova

Anna Akhmatova

Requiem by Anna Akhmatova/ Audio.

Anna Andreyevna Gorenko, better known by the pen name Anna Akhmatova, was a Russian and Soviet modernist poet, one of the most acclaimed writers in the Russian canon.

Akhmatova’s work ranges from short lyric poems to intricately structured cycles, such as Requiem (1935–40), her tragic masterpiece about the Stalinist terror. Her style, characterised by its economy and emotional restraint, was strikingly original and distinctive to her contemporaries. The strong and clear leading female voice struck a new chord in Russian poetry. Her writing can be said to fall into two periods – the early work (1912–25) and her later work (from around 1936 until her death), divided by a decade of reduced literary output. Her work was condemned and censored by Stalinist authorities and she is notable for choosing not to emigrate, and remaining in Russia, acting as witness to the atrocities around her. Her perennial themes include meditations on time and memory, and the difficulties of living and writing in the shadow of Stalinism.

Primary sources of information about Akhmatova’s life are relatively scant, as war, revolution and the totalitarian regime caused much of the written record to be destroyed. For long periods she was in official disfavour and many of those who were close to her died in the aftermath of the revolution.