The English rhyme [is] Echo's poor relation, a genteel pauper whose attempts to shine result merely in doggerel garishness. For if in Russian and French, the feminine rhyme is a glamorous lady friend, her English counterpart is either an old maid or a drunken hussy from Limerick.
(from Nabokov, "Problems of Translation: Onegin in English").
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Russian Rhyme & Reason
You wouldn't expect an essay on the finer points of translating Russian poetry to give you your biggest laugh of the day. But, when it's written by Vladimir Nabokov...