Thursday, July 14, 2011

Collage 464

"But how do you say it in Russian?" That is the last line of Volume III, Part Two, Chapter XVII. That's what I'm trying to figure out! In the story, Julie Karagin, a wealthy heiress, is attending a "soiree". The party-goers have agreed not to speak French or if caught, will have to pay a fine. Julie rarely or barely speaks Russian, but French exclusively, the language of the approaching Napoleonic troops. Interestingly, the first few sentences of the book start in French at another soiree where they are discussing Napoleon's European transgressions.

Four of us are traveling to Yasnaya Polyana, the Tolstoy Estate and Museum in Tula, Russia, late next month. We are going to spend 5 days there, to meet with the staff of Yasnaya Polyana and plan our show that is scheduled for next summer. In preparation, I am attempting to re-learn Russian. I was a Russian major as an undergraduate almost 30 years ago. It is a complex language! At this point I have only a very crude understanding, just enough to get in trouble! When you speak just a little bit, sometimes the listener assumes you have a stronger grasp of the language. TROUBLE!

A friend has a bilingual copy of War and Peace that I intend to borrow, to see if I can follow along side-by-side. Tolstoy uses many very long sentences, so it will be a challenge. But what a pleasure to get the feel for this text in the original language! -- Lola

Lola Baltzell
from page 183-184, Volume 2 of original text
made 4/8/11
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 747-748

No comments:

Post a Comment