‘arts’ Category

  1. “Someone 1917”: Boris Grigoriev’s “Faces of Russia”

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    November 14, 2017 by AK

    A most rewarding exhibition – well thought through and thoroughly prepared. It features a selection of works, mostly paintings, created by Russian artists around 1917, roughly from the start of WWI until the early 1920s. The revolutions of 1917 broke out in the midst of a golden age for Russian visual and performative arts – …
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  2. Erase and rewind

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    November 9, 2017 by AK

    The BBC reports: US actor Kevin Spacey is to be erased from a completed Hollywood film following the allegations of predatory sexual behaviour against him. “Erased.” The Guardian settles on “cut out.” Incidentally, retroactive film editing in the Soviet block peaked after Stalin’s death, when the Communist leaders decided that the best way to deal …
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  3. Blok, 1903

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    November 6, 2017 by AK

    Alexander Blok wrote this poem aged twenty-two, in 1903, two years before the start of the first Russian revolution. This is not a word-by-word translation but, I hope, one accurate enough, if thoroughly unpoetic. – Is everything quiet among the people? – No. The emperor has been killed. Someone is talking about a new freedom …
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  4. Define “embarrassment” for me

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    September 25, 2017 by AK

    Here’s a good write-up of the monumental gun snafu in Moscow: It’s a blunder so bad it makes you look twice: On the new sculpture dedicated to Russia’s most famous small arms designer, there is an unintentional homage to a weapon of Russia’s hated adversaries during the Great Patriotic War. The author, Nathaniel F, seems …
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  5. The Shooting Party

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    September 23, 2017 by AK

    Simon Karlinsky wrote in Anton Chekhov’s Life and Thought: Selected Letters and Commentary (1973): The other novel of Chekhov’s student years, the somewhat Dostoyevskian murder mystery The Shooting Party (the original Russian title was Drama During a Hunt) of 1884, had an even more distinguished career; its basic narrative structure was borrowed by none other …
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  6. Chekhov’s Prank

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    September 21, 2017 by AK

    Chekhov started writing around 1880 to support his family while studying medicine and produced “more than 500 comic stories, spoofs, and vignettes for Moscow’s popular weekly magazines” in the 1880s. Some of them can be found in The Prank, the collection Chekhov himself compiled (and his brother Nikolai illustrated) in 1882, which was never published …
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  7. “You are a little mistaken about all this.”

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    September 17, 2017 by AK

    Chekhov’s first published work was a short story, A Letter to a Learned Neighbor. It’s what the title say it is – a letter to an apparently retired professor from an old fool full of childishly absurd opinions. The professor has certain ideas à la Jules Verne, which his neighbor rebuts brilliantly: … if people …
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  8. Houellebecq and the Karamazov family

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    September 14, 2017 by AK

    In a review of Michel Houellebecq’s H. P. Lovecraft: Against the World, Against Life, Lee Rourke quoted the opening lines of the French author’s 2001 novel Platform: Father died last year. I don’t subscribe to the theory by which we only become truly adult when our parents die; we never become truly adult… As I stood before …
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  9. Subterranean work

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    August 2, 2017 by AK

    In 1877, Nikolai Nekrasov wrote an epigram, To the Author of Anna Karenina: Tolstoy, you have proven with patience and talent That a woman should not have affairs Either with a sub-chamberlain or with an aide-de-camp When she’s a wife and a mother. There’s still some bite in this because of Tolstoy’s ineradicable moralizing, and …
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  10. 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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