Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Review: Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin

I said most of what I wanted in the last post, but I need a break from writing my thesis (yeah... summer classes :P), so I'm doing this.
Long story short, I liked it. I know, against all odds. Usually I can't stand books in verse, but this time around I found I liked the story enough to get around the whole 'book in verse' thing. The problem I have with books in verse is that usually I have a super hard time figuring out what the deuce is going on, but in Eugene Onegin, the plot is easy to follow without being extremely simple. I'd love to read this in Russian someday, but I don't know if I could learn it well enough. We'll see.
The characters were interesting. The cast was small and easy to keep track of, unlike a lot of Russian novels. Not like having a huge cast is a bad thing, because I love Russian novels.
I feel like I can't judge the writing because I read a translation. With regular prose, you can directly translate what the author was saying. When translating poetry and having rhymes to preserve... let's just say that maybe what the author wanted to say hasn't completely gotten across.
The thematic elements were beautiful, and I learned a lot about Russian culture (at least in the 1800s) from the useful footnotes, so this was a lovely experience.
Pushkin inspired a lot of my favorite composers to write music about his stories, so I'm very excited to try and read some more! I'd like to read The Blizzard next, because one of my favorite concert suites is based on that story.

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