NABOKV-L post 0006861, Mon, 30 Sep 2002 15:28:00 -0700

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Fw: Clive James & VN's translation of EO
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----- Original Message -----
From: TA Colquhoun
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum
Sent: Monday, September 30, 2002 1:32 PM
Subject: Re: Clive James & VN's translation of EO


Who didn't learn a bit of Russian in the 1970s? The point is surely that to opine on something like EO with any authority, you need to be able to do more than order another vodka. I'm very doubtful that CJ's Russian is anything near what it ought to be for this or Solzhenitsyn. I think I got suspicious of these self or otherwise proclaimed 'polyglots' when I read Anthony Burgess' 'Honey for the Bears' which has a Russian character cry out (if I remember this rightly) when attempting to prevent someone from opening a door he/she is not supposed to: 'Nye mozhno! Nye mozhno!'

I think "varying degrees of fluency" might be the operative expression...

----- Original Message -----
From: D. Barton Johnson
To: NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU
Sent: Monday, September 30, 2002 6:57 PM
Subject: Clive James & VN's translation of EO



----- Original Message -----
From: Jerry Goodenough
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum
Sent: Monday, September 30, 2002 3:43 AM
Subject: RE: Fw: VN's translation of EO


I think Alex is mistaken here. James learned Russian in the 1970s, originally to be able to read and review the works of Solzhenitsyn as soon as they came out, rather than wait for a translation to appear. I am fairly sure that this is mentioned in some of the reviews he wrote for the London Review of Books in the 1980s. His abilities here have been criticised - see the debate about his review of Voznesensky in the New York Review of Books http://www.nybooks.com/articles/7631 He has also, according to a 2001 interview http://www.abc.net.au/rn/arts/atoday/stories/s351989.htm learned to speak Japanese. According to another article http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/2001/06/25/FFXM9WS4DOC.html "Clive James is a polyglot. He speaks, with varying degrees of fluency, Italian, French, Spanish, German, Russian and Japanese." I don't know how good he is in any of these languages, but he clearly has enough Russian to be able to read and review literary works in the original. (Which is more than I can....)
Jerry Goodenough
University of East Anglia

From: TA Colquhoun
To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum
Sent: Friday, September 27, 2002 1:59 AM
Subject: Re: Fw: VN's translation of EO


Clive James doesn't speak Russian. How on earth did he suddenly become some sort of authority on EO or anything translated from Russian...??

Alex Colquhoun