Happy New Year 2014! It’s going to be an awesome year for reading – I’m so very excited to start the challenges I joined for the year.
In one week, in fact, we start the Eugene Onegin Read-Along! On January 7th, there will be a post with the first link-up/check-in. Over the following week and a half, you can then add the link to your blog post(s) on chapters 1 & 2.
I mentioned briefly before a quick list of copies and places to read Onegin. Here I want to talk about them a little more in-depth:
Online – original Russian
I am (sadly) in no ways qualified to make a recommendation for a Russian edition. However, a free online version, linked to by Wikipedia, can be found here: ЕВГЕНИЙ ОНЕГИН.
Online – English translation
The one I have read is Henry Spalding’s translation, from Project Gutenberg. It comes in many formats, and it has a Victorian vocabulary, which is kind of nice. On the other hand, some of the word choices are very “thesaurus.”
Hard copies – English transl.
The two I have read are Stanley Mitchell (Penguin Classics, 2008) and James E. Falen (Oxford World’s Classics, 1998). They are pretty comparable translations; personally I like Falen’s a little better (it was the first I read).
The Mitchell translation features a beautiful cover and formatting, as you expect from Penguin Classics. There is also a map inside and extensive notes (too extensive, maybe?). It also includes some fragments of an unfinished chapter (Onegin’s travels). If you like to get a full grasp of the story’s background, this would be a great translation to start with. My main quibble is that the poetry/rhyme is less intuitive than other translations.
The Falen translation is less artistic, format-wise, but the translation is emotive and well-done. There are a couple of anachronistic word choices (“girlfriend” and “zen”); still, I like this one best, so far. The stanzas and rhyme are more melodic than Mitchell or Spalding.
There are at least two free ones (which I have yet to listen to): Librivox and Stephen Fry. Librivox is generally excellent and professionally done, and Fry’s is, of course, professional. You could hardly go wrong with either one. Audiobooks are a great way to go, and poetry is particularly fun to listen to.
Please do comment with your own recommendations! There are many, many editions I haven’t listed. Also, this blog has an excellent comparison of the first stanzas of several English translations, a great resource if you need help deciding.