Have been working the mail carrier a bit the last week or so but there are a lot of goodies coming a reader's way this summer and fall. And in the way of translations of classics? First I was so over-the-moon about the upcoming Lydia Davis translation of Madame Bovary due out in September that I decided to sponsor a read-along in October. Now a galley for the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation of Doctor Zhivago has slipped through my door, and I am wondering how many would like to read this in November. Hmmm.
Doctor Zhivago is on my Hall of Shame list, books I should have read by now but have not. So the time is now (or at least this fall) for my experience with the story to extend beyond the David Lean film and tapping out a little "Somewhere My Love" stuff on my grandparent's piano as a child. Pushed further along when I stumbled upon this from The New Yorker, November 15, 1958 by Edmund Wilson:
"...one of the very great books of our time.... The incidents succeed one another with so much invention and vivacity, with such range of characterization and description, each submerges us so completely in the atmosphere of its moment of Russian life... Doctor Zhivago will, I believe, come to stand as one of the great events in man's literary and moral history. Nobody could have written it in a totalitarian state and turned it loose on the world who did not have the courage of genius.... His book is a great act of faith in art and in the human spirit."
And then really curious about the promise of the new translation when I read Pasternak's reaction to the first English translation of his lauded novel in 1958:
"Do not blame [the translators] too much. It's not their fault. They are used, like translators everywhere, to reproducing the literal sense rather than the tone of what is said - and of course it is the tone that matters."Oh, and love that retro styling on the cover. Never hurts to be wearing a great cover.