Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tolstoy's style

Orlando Figes has an excellent piece on translation (specifically, the new translation of War and Peace) in the latest NYRB (no subscription required). It's intellectually stimulating, and it also produced in me the requisite sense of yearning--for time to read War and Peace (which I read greedily for the first and only time the summer I turned eighteen, surprising myself by liking the war parts very much more than the peace ones, but have not looked at again since--but I'm reading it again as soon as I can!), for the lost window of opportunity in which I might have learned Russian properly rather than in a half-assed and cursory fashion (but I always would have been too lazy to read the whole of War and Peace in the original), and indeed for a copy of Figes' The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia, which sounds quite indispensably wonderful