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Bees in a Deserted Hive

Daniel Soar: Nikolai Gumilev, 27 April 2000

The Pillar of Fire 
by Nikolai Gumilev, translated by Richard McKane.
Anvil, 252 pp., £12.95, August 1999, 0 85646 310 8
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... alien, but Gumilev is at home with them: his stars hang low. In translation, and particularly in Richard McKane’s (the second book-length selection to be published in English), Gumilev’s language can sound sadly clumsy as well as strange. Gumilev would never have allowed his unicorns to ‘prance’: the Russian is neutral, carrying no other sense ...

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