‘Russia’ Category

  1. “It was his book that had irritated me”

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    July 20, 2017 by AK

    Himadri C., the Argumentative Old Git, is taking another look at Turgenev’s Smoke, a short novel from 1867. (Old Smoke links: Erik McDonald; yours most humbly.) Back in 1830, Pushkin had Tatiana tell Onegin, at a point when it was too late for anything but regrets: “And happiness was so possible, // So close!” A …
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  2. Soloviev, Leskov, de Genlis and Gibbon

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    July 16, 2017 by AK

    From Erik McDonald’s translation of It Didn’t Come Off (1867) by Ol’ga N. (Sophie Engelhardt, 1828-1894): Once I started a sentence this way: “I think…” Madame Petitpierre, my governess, interrupted me: “You think? In that case you will have dinner in your room tonight. Children do not think.” This made me appreciate the passage in Sergei …
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  3. Wenn’s um unsere Zukunft geht

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    July 15, 2017 by AK

    A follow-up on my previous post on the Russian lawyer (“V”) who met with Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner last year. It bears repeating that, while it was a run of the mill meeting of the sort every politician takes a thousand times a year, the lady’s radioactivity should have set off the Americans’ inner …
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  4. A question of hygiene

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    July 14, 2017 by AK

    Due diligence and background checks are sometimes as indispensable as an antiseptic liquid or protective gloves. Some people are literally contagious; others are metaphorically toxic. It may be tempting for a germaphobe’s son to ignore these precautions but prudence shouldn’t have yielded to temptation. I don’t disagree with Prof. Pirrong’s take on the Veselnitskaya-Trump Jr. …
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  5. Tortured with Les Annales de la vertu

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    July 5, 2017 by AK

    Erik McDonald is translating a novella by Sophie (Sof’ia) Engelhardt (Engel’gardt), nėe Novosil’tseva (1828-1894), a Russian author who published her fiction under the pen name Ol’ga N. In 2016, Erik translated another long story by Ol’ga N., The Old Man, now available as a free .mobi e-book. The female narrator in Engelhardt’s story, published in 1867, grew up under the strict …
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  6. Franco in the 1960s: the case of Grimau

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    June 26, 2017 by AK

    Putin was born 60 years after Franco (October 1952, December 1892) and was appointed prime minister 60 years after Franco was installed in Madrid (August 1999, March 1939). Chronologically, Franco’s 1959, the year of the Stabilization and Liberalization Plan, which led to fifteen years of economic growth, roughly corresponds to Putin’s 2019 or 2020. But …
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  7. An odd disclosure

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    June 23, 2017 by AK

    This is a bizarre piece overall but its ending is simply unbelievable: But Obama also signed the secret finding… authorizing a new covert program… The cyber operation is still in its early stages and involves deploying “implants” in Russian networks deemed “important to the adversary and that would cause them pain and discomfort if they …
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  8. Neither Latin nor Arabic?

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    June 20, 2017 by AK

    In his 1886 etymological dictionary of Slavic languages, Franz von Miklosich (Franc Miklošič) derives šapka (czapka) from Medieval Latin cappa but also mentions “Turkish šabka.” Miklošič was one of Max Vasmer’s sources for the etymology of шапка. Four decades later, Alexander Brückner claimed in his etymological dictionary of the Polish language that czapka/šapka was a native, proto-Slavic …
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  9. Latin or Arabic?

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    June 17, 2017 by AK

    The Russian word шапка “hat” is ultimately derived from Latin cappa “head-covering” according to Vasmer. The likely route is via Old French and Middle High German. Čapka (Czech) and czapka (Polish) begin with a “tch” sound because in Old French, “ch” was pronounced much as it is in modern English, as “tch.” In Turkish, şapka – …
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  10. Roots and routes: Mandelshtam on Khlebnikov

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    June 12, 2017 by AK

    To add to my recent note on Anselm Kiefer’s new Khlebnikov-inspired exhibition and to my earlier posts on the poet (Jakobson reading K.; Bobeobi 0, 1, and 2), two excerpts from Notes on Poetry by Osip Mandelshtam (1923): Modern Russian poetry did not fall out of the sky but was foretold by the whole poetic …
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