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Oh Those Russians

80s Forum: Oh Those Russians
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  1. #1
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    Oh Those Russians

    Any one else read the Russians? Don't know if anyone else produced the quantity and quality of literature and playwrighing that Russia produced in the 19th century. They are my favourites

    Tolstoy's sweeping epics Anna Karenina and War And Peace.

    Dostoevsky's psychological studies Crime And Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov, The Idiot.

    Turgenyev's pastoral Fathers And Sons.

    Gogol's thoroughly humorous Dead Souls.

    Checkov's masterful The Cherry Orchard and Uncle Vanya.

    Pushkin's nation forming poetry and his Eugene Onegin that inspired movies, operas and ballets.

    And countless others.

    What a place it must have been.
    What a tme it must have been.
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  2. #2
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    Sorry, the closest to Russian Literature I've read is Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith and I'm sure that doesnt; count
    Last edited by Caligula; 1-07-02 at 11:14 AM.
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  3. #3
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    Originally posted by Caligula
    Sorry, the closest to Russian Literature I've read is Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith and I'm sure that doesnt; count
    Great movie though. Was the book good too?
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  4. #4
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    I've read Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. Absolutely brilliant book.

    What about Vladimir Nabokov's infamous Lolita? He wrote this in English (not his native language) and then translated it into Russian. This novel represents the english language at it's best. Every phrase is poetic.
    "ask me i won't say no, how could i?"

  5. #5
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    Hehehe. I was trying to stick to one century so I wouldn't bore everyone so much. lol

    Nabokov was one of those rare people, wasn't he? Like Joyce. Capable of doing many things with many different languages. It's a bit of a lost art now. Their primary-school education would have included at least Latin and Greek in addition to their native tongue. We're lucky now if we graduate high-school with a decent knowledge of our own language.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Oh Those Russians

    If you're interested in modern russian literature / philosophy / madness - try Victor Pelevin .. anything .. "Generation P" (Pepsi) or "Babylon" (in English version) to start with. That's not an easy reading though.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victor_Pelevin

  7. #7
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    Re: Oh Those Russians

    Bogie,

    I have read many classics, both American and English, but never any Russian lit. I've been considering reading Tolstoy and/or Dostoevsky. I have a friend who translated War and Peace back into Russian in college. He thinks it is the best books ever written. If you had to pick one book by these two authors to start with, what would it be? I have both War and Peace and The Brothers Karamazov right here, just never got around to reading them.

    Thanks.

    Josh

  8. #8
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    Re: Oh Those Russians

    and here I was thinking the thread might be about Sacha B. Cohen.

  9. #9
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    Re: Oh Those Russians

    Quote Originally Posted by Chancemurphy View Post
    Bogie,

    If you had to pick one book by these two authors to start with, what would it be? I have both War and Peace and The Brothers Karamazov right here, just never got around to reading them.

    Thanks.

    Josh
    Much too late for this I am sure... but for what it's worth. Just started re-reading War and Peace. Couldnt move my books to Costa Rica so have started a new collection.

    War and Peace and Anna Karenina make most top 10s (no point trying to pick one book as the best ever or we will be arguing about Finnegan's Wake, Tale of Two Cities and a hundred others for a lifetime lol). And for good reason too. Tolstoy was just an out and out master of understanding people. He was perhaps a bit misguided when it came to his personal philosophies, but he could render totally believeable characters from any social stratum, gender, age. War and Peace is the best example as it includes characters as diverse as Alexander I, Napoleon, foot soldiers and household staff. All completely presented. Not one character makes a move that is out of place with their personality. Simply deep and full like few other novels have ever been. Same is true of Anna Karenina but without the broad expanse of characters. Tolstoy's work is a much easier read than Dostoevsky. With language, paragraph structure and other mechanical components delivered at manageable space, tempo and size.

    Having said all that, and I think it is too much already lol, Brother's Karamazov rivals War and Peace in size, depth and breadth. Any Dostoevsky novel is a deep wade into the psychology of its characters. This can be overwhelming by about page 700 lol. But well worth the effort. In BK there are few motivations and perspectives that are not reviewed in depth. From fraternal competition, religion, good/evil in a person, fratricide, love, death. It is all there and all done magically. Just be prepared for 10 page paragraphs

    Both should be required reading. I hope you have read one or both by now. If not, you will enjoy when you finally get the chance.

    If you want to start with something more manageable but a good introduction to Dostoevsky, I would recommend The Idiot. Shorter somewhat and a little more focused in terms of plot. Poses a really amazing question even though it was written so long ago. If Jesus walked into the room you were in today and started to expound his philosophies... would you think he was brilliant or simple? The book is a marvellous look at how jaded and affected we have become. If we met someone without guile, without their own agenda, without the need to aquire things... would we think they were a bit simple? I am afraid we probably would. And that is our loss.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Oh Those Russians

    Quote Originally Posted by Vilji View Post
    and here I was thinking the thread might be about Sacha B. Cohen.
    You always make me smile

    Hope you doing well.
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  11. #11
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    Re: Oh Those Russians

    Pre-Revolution Russia, Judaica and The Holocaust are topics I soak up every chance I get. I haven't read Russian classics, but I have read a LOT of literature from newer authors from there.
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