NABOKV-L post 0020161, Thu, 3 Jun 2010 12:11:36 EDT

Re: [NABOKOV-L] TNR Criticism: Berndard Guilbert Guerney (1944)

Re's Guerney's 1944 review of VN's Gogol. In it, VN gives high praise to
Guerney's translation of Dead Souls, not that Guerney would ever be one to
praise or damn anyone who praised or praised or damned his work. Guerney
was a singular character in Manhattan book(ish) circles, or anywhere he
ventured. Besides his numerous other translations, such as Bunin for Knopf and
Viking's Portable Russian Reader, he was the proprietor of the Blue Faun
Bookshop, and I knew him well when he moved the shop to Third Avenue in the
East 30s in the 1950s.. He labeled the shelves by subject matter. e. g.
"Stool Pigeons", and put up a notice announcing "All Our Sleepers Have Upper
Berths." He served as my mentor in Russian literature, and one day while
he was expounding on the wonderful sound of the Russian language, I said,
"But Mr. Guerney, there are other Slavic languages. What about Polish?"

"Polish! Have you ever listened to two Poles talking?"


"It sounds like a cow pissing on a flat rock!"

RH Boyle

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