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Wild Horses

Claude Rawson, 1 April 1983

‘The Bronze Horseman’ and Other Poems 
by Alexander Pushkin, translated by D.M. Thomas.
Penguin, 261 pp., £2.95, September 1982, 0 14 042309 5
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Alexander Pushkin: A Critical Study 
by A.D.P. Briggs.
Croom Helm, 257 pp., £14.95, November 1982, 0 7099 0688 9
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‘Choiseul and Talleyrand’: A Historical Novella and Other Poems, with New Verse Translations of Alexander Pushkin 
by Charles Johnston.
Bodley Head, 88 pp., £5.25, July 1982, 0 370 30924 3
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Mozart and Salieri: The Little Tragedies 
by Alexander Pushkin, translated by Antony Wood.
Angel, 94 pp., £5.95, September 1982, 0 946162 02 6
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I have come to greet you 
by Afanasy Fet, translated by James Greene.
Angel, 71 pp., £5.95, September 1982, 0 946162 03 4
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Uncollected Poems 
by John Betjeman.
Murray, 81 pp., £4.95, September 1982, 0 7195 3969 2
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Travelling without a Valid Ticket 
by Howard Sergeant.
Rivelin, 14 pp., £1, May 1982, 0 904524 39 6
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... Stone Guest’: the two statues, as we are from time to time reminded, most recently by A.D.P. Briggs, were probably related in Pushkin’s mind. Both translators would seem to have picked up a real element of the original, but neither has achieved a blend of both. Writing on the problems of translating Russian, Thomas says: ‘No English horse gallops ...

Two Hares and a Priest

Patricia Beer: Pushkin, 13 May 1999

Pushkin 
by Elizabeth Feinstein.
Weidenfeld, 309 pp., £20, October 1998, 0 297 81826 0
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... or extracts from them. Some of them are her own translations, others are by Antony Wood, A.D.P. Briggs and D.M. Thomas, all experienced and with idiosyncrasies of their own. The considerable variety in the way the translators work suits Pushkin’s own versatility. The lines Feinstein quotes from her own rendering of The Bronze Horseman demonstrate how ...

You may not need to know this

John Bayley, 30 August 1990

A Wicked Irony: The Rhetoric of Lermontov’s ‘A Hero of Our Time’ 
by Andrew Barratt and A.D.P. Briggs.
Bristol Classical Press, 139 pp., £25, May 1989, 1 85399 020 5
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The Battle for Childhood: Creation of a Russian Myth 
by Andrew Baruch Wachtel.
Stanford, 262 pp., $32.50, May 1990, 0 8047 1795 8
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... always there because he has never existed. He is an aspect of literary sensibility. As Barratt and Briggs observe, ‘in Pechorin Lermontov created a character whose unhealthy commitment to inauthentic “bookish” behaviour makes him the direct forebear of the Underground Man.’ This is certainly true, for heroes have always modelled themselves, or been ...

In a Spa Town

James Wood: ‘A Hero of Our Time’, 11 February 2010

A Hero of Our Time 
by Mikhail Lermontov, translated by Natasha Randall.
Penguin, 174 pp., £8.99, August 2009, 978 0 14 310563 3
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... faults onto others. In A Wicked Irony: Rhetoric of Lermontov’s ‘A Hero of Our Time’ (1995), A.D.P  Briggs and Andrew Barratt suggest that Pechorin may be in love with Princess Mary and desperate to control this unwanted weakness. Near the end of the book he tells Mary that he is leaving town. She pales and sickens before him, and Pechorin says, in ...

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