Eugene Onegin: Editions, editions, editions

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.”

Another freely/legally available online translation is one by Poetry in Translation. I haven’t read it yet.  It does come in PDF, Mobi, and Epub formats.

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.


  1. o Avatar

    Happy new year! Looking forward to starting Onegin with you tomorrow 🙂


  2. Deseree Avatar

    I have a 2 volume set that is translated by Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov. The 2nd volume includes commentary by Nabokov.


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