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A good select sample of Pushkin's poetry for one who is unfamiliar with this Russian literary giant. Even in a time of rapid change his poetry still resonates with today's Russians. His love poems are recited from memory and his life story told and retold.This edition is thin so it will not take up too much room in your backpack.
The problem with translating Pushkin, any Russian will tell you, is that he is a very musical poet and most English translations lose the music by being too literal. Not so this collection, whose poems sing and fly with a distinctive 19th century flavor. I don't speak Russian but I am a poet and I recognize the artistry of the work here. The translator is fluent in rhyme and the poems are clear and well rendered. I will leave it for Russian scholars to determine the accuracy of the words.
For a poor soul like me that doesn't speak Russian but feels an inexplicable affection towards that literature, to find a nice, unrealistically faithful translation is an exhausting but fascinating task. I'm always swinging between a robotic and a more humane voice of those writers. But I honestly enjoyed this one. This book includes Pushkin's work in his original language. I spent some quality time not just reading, but looking for meanings, translations, comparisons. With such insufficient tools I tried to observe the remaining essence that deeply wants to prevail over the limits of the translating process but usually does not succeed. In this case, Kneller gave shape to Pushkin's poetry maintaining rimes and forms but without taking too many liberties that would jeopardize this author's exquisite voice. The meaning was there, the poetic forms were there. A fine translation that flows more gracefully than a previous one I've read.
This book is phenomenal! I like the arrangement and selection of Pushkin's poetry. Russian poetry like this is very passionate, self-reflective, and powerful! It also has the poems in Russian and English, so you can read both and tell if the English translation is good. Finding a correct, proper English translation is important to me as a fan of Russian literature.
)Again, not being able to read the Russian, I can only go by the translation--the poetry seems very much of its time, somewhat pedestrian Romantic verse. There is little in the way of striking imagery or new eyes on the world. The collection is a decent selection of Pushkin's love and political poetry.