Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Turgenev: Before He Pissed Off His Mates


We're such a literate and art-appreciating bunch here so, following on from Ramon's Monday painting session, as well as Puss's similarly inspiring contributions and the always wonderful Poetry Slams, I'd like to draw your attention to Ivan Turgenev's shorter works.

His 1852 compilation of short stories entitled Sketches from a Hunter's Album (also called A Sportsman's Sketches depending on the translator) gained him due recognition, and also drew the attention of the likes of those twin towers of Russian literature, Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky (or Dostoevsky depending on the translator).

For what it's worth - and it's not worth a great deal - my favourite of these sketches is The Clatter of Wheels (or The Rattling of Wheels...) the suspense of which surely inspired Hitchcock. It's a terrific read about a carriage journey between towns taken by the first person narrator (quite unusual in 19th century Russian literature) and his driver, in search of more shot with which to kill stuff. It's one of my favourite short stories although is rivalled - in my humble opinion - by Nabokov's best. You can read it in full here (it's not painfully long or anything, but it will give you something to do while we await Perseus's next post...or you could do some work). I don't know which translation it is but my preferred translation is Richard Freeborn's (published by Penguin).

Good day to you.

17 comments:

squib said...

Thanks Lewd, not bad, not bad at all

Those Russian greats were a bitchy lot, weren't they

My favorite Russian stories are Chekhov's 'Misery' and Gogol's 'The Overcoat'

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

I am rather partial to some Anton Chekhov.

"More tea, Ivan Ivanovich?"

"Yeah, fuck it, why not".

The Red Setter said...

Has anyone noticed that the only interesting writing on this blog is the stuff Perseus does? More Perseus and tales of the suicide girl (or not), please.

Puss In Boots said...

It's all subjective, RS.

squib said...

We had exciting lives too, once, RS

You wouldn't believe the kinds of mischief we got up to in the bunker when the Jerrys were dropping bombs on us

Cath said...

And Perseus is the only person that seems to piss off Kitten.....

But I like *all* the posts on here guys. Keep up the good work.

gingatao said...

I enjoy thinking about these famous old writers and whether they would have made it as bloggers, Turgenev would have been a great blogger. I like thinking about whether they would have got published if they lived now, Turgenev, I doubt it, not in Australia at least.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Quite so, Squib.

I remember turning to Boogeyman and saying, just before we took off on a mission;

"Boogey, old chap. Let's teach this cunting fascist cunts a Goddamn cunting lesson".

He smiled quietly to himself.

Lewd Bob said...

Squib, add to the Gogol collection The Nose for an hilarious romp through the miserable streets of St Petersburg. Was ahead of the absurdist comedy genre curve by a century.

squib said...

Yeah, 'The Nose' was a treat

Pepsi said...

I was reading the introduction to Crime & Punishment last night by David Magarshack who translated the copy I have. He talks about nihilism, Turgenenv and Fathers and Sons, co-incidence?

PAVEMENT in my town, March 4th 2010

Thats a treat.

Lewd Bob said...

Pepsi, isn't it a treat. Stephen Malkmus is a champion of champions.

Coincidence you say? I'd agree.

Perseus said...

I just want to rub it in... again... that I saw Pavement at their peak at the Prince with Dirty Three supporting (when nobody had heard of them).

squib said...

I thought Pepsi was getting pavement in her town, as in a footpath

Perseus said...

Do you have them in Perth yet?

Pepsi said...

Perth gets their Pavement on the 8th March.

Pers, we've had this discussion before - Pogues before they kicked Shane out the first time....I win.

Bob, yes sir, true and proper.

Dr. Golf said...

I don’t really read the poetry and Russian stuff, but I like the thought of it being there. It makes me feel intelligent.

Any new thoughts on Marieke?