Monday, July 18, 2011

Bathing at bedtime

We have been postponing our Pushkin, and this is plainly not sustainable. Nabokov gives us the reason, quite unabashedly, in an unforgettable chastisement - 

Pushkin was a brilliant wit (especially so in his correspondence); but he did not shine in the didactic genre, and his indebtedness to the elegant generalities of his time .. is sometimes painfully evident.

Yet in an age whose generalities are drained ever more of elegance by the day, an evening shower in Pushkin can be restorative. 

To live it hurries and to feel it hastes.

Prince Vyazemski, cited by Aleksander Pushkin at the opening of his first chapter of Eugene Onegin.

Then, when tumultuous youth's season for Eugene came, ..

He did understand.

Aleksandr Pushkin
Eugene Onegin
  A novel in verse
Vladimir Nabokov, translation
  and commentary
Bollingen Series LXXII
Princeton University Press, 1975©

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