Tags: fyodor tyutchev

One Hundred Years of Solitude: Aureliano

Drink at the source and speak no word.

In my Russian Lit book, we've reached the section on Tyutchev, which is quite short -- just a handful of poems. After reading the first poem I thought, my god, this is stunning. And after every other poem I thought the same thing. They were far too wonderful to be translations.

At first I said to myself, hell, these must be translated by Nabokov. But I quickly decided, no, that's awful -- as if Nabokov were the only person capable of translating Russian literature! Surely there are other translators with this kind of talent. There's no reason to imagine Nabokov is the only one.

But I flipped back to the front of the book where the translators are credited, and sure enough -- Nabokov.

God damn you, Nabokov.

Anyway, I notice that almost none of these translations seem to exist online, so I'm posting a few of them (a bit early for April Poetry Month, but whatever). Some of you, no doubt, have read these in Russian, and I have no idea how the translations actually compare to Tyutchev's originals, or whether Nabokov took preposterous liberties in order to make them work so well in English, but I'm impressed either way.

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I need to find some Nabokov translations of Pushkin so that I'll stop thinking Tyutchev was a better poet. :/ The Pushkin poems in the book are nowhere near this good.

Unrelatedly, tomorrow there's an open lecture on Oscar Wilde in the Lang & Lit building. I may try to go, since I don't have classes. It's at 3:15, in room 316, on 3/17, which should be easy enough to remember...