Vladimir Nabokov

The Art of Translation
April 21, 2014

Vladimir Nabokov explains the perils of translating, and the great Russian short story.

From the Stacks: “The Art of Translation”
June 27, 2013

The many sins of the irreverant translator, according to the great novelist.

Cabbage Soup and Caviar
January 17, 1944

A Treasury of Russian Life and HumorEdited, with an introduction by John Cournos. New York: Coward-McCann, Inc. 706 pages. $3.75. A Treasury of Russian Literature Selected and edited, with a foreword and biographical and critical notes, by Bernard Guilbert Guerney New York: Vanguard Press. 7,072 pages. $3.95. Some fifty writers are represented in Mr. Cournos' anthology and some thirty in Mr. Guerney's. Except that the latter goes much farther back into the past while the former includes a much greater number of contemporary authors, both volumes cover much the same ground.

Mr. Williams' Shakespeare
May 19, 1941

Mr. Shakespeare of the GlobeBy Frayne Williams New York: E. P. Dutton and Company. 596 pages. $5. The biographical part of this book will not disappoint the imaginary not-too-bright giant for whom blurbs are fattened and human interest lavishly spread. Surely, there must be something very attractive in the illusion Mr. Frayne Williams tries hard to keep up, namely, that environment can be made to influence a poet once it is neatly deduced from his works. "No poet," he says, "can be comprehended without estimating his attitude toward marriage." How very true!

Homes for Dukhobors
January 13, 1941

Slava Bohu, The Story of the DukhoborsBy J. F. C. Wright. New York: Farrar and Rinehart. 438 pages. $3.50. Nu (as the author would say), this is a highly entertaining account of what the Dukhobors did, or declined to do, in Caucasia and Canada. Although the first chapters dealing with the history of the movement are anything but dull, the real fun starts when the bearded babes have been shipped to the remote wood selected for them by hopeful humanitarians.

Crystal and Ruby
November 25, 1940

The Knight in the Tiger's Skin By Shot'ha Rust'hveli New York: International Publishers. 347 pages. $4.50. Tariel, the sunlike, the cypress-formed, may be inferior, spiritually and intellectually, to his Western brethren, King Arthur's knights, but, otherwise, he puts them rather into the shade. Matched with this mournful, moaning, "mad-minded" rover, great Lancelot of the Lake would seem almost perky, and romantic Sir Tristram a very lukewarm lover.

Diaghilev and a Disciple
November 18, 1940

Serge Diaghilev: An Intimate Biography By Serge Lifar New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. 413 pages, $5 The Russian Renaissance is a curiously lovely thing to look back at over one's shoulder, blending as it does priceless artistic magic with a touch of eerie futility and the pathos of its impending doom.