NABOKV-L post 0006099, Mon, 30 Jul 2001 09:43:08 -0700

A Review (fwd)
From: Kiran Krishna <>

Looking for poems by Howard Baker in Poetry, I came across this
interesting review (mostly for its massing of some of VN's most hated
adjectives towards the end), entitled *Russian Romantics*, by one
E.K.Brown, of *Three Russian Poets*:

"No great poet is so little known and read in America - or in Britain - as
Alexander Pushkin. To the Russians he is quite simply the greatest figure
in their literature. The fault does not lie with Pushkin. His poetry is
neither difficult nor exotic. In subject and in form it belongs with the
work of the great romantic poets who were his contemporaries. He is
another Byron, passionate, satirical, amusing, but with a beauty in
language and in music, with a splendid rightness in form to which Byron
rose only at his best. The fault lies with the earlier translators, whose
versions made the impression that Turgenev's made on Flaubert" "Il est
plat, votre poete!" Later attempts, those for instance of A.F.B. Clark,
have not succeeded, for all their skill and spirit, in reversing the
earlier judgment. Mr Nabokov devotes twenty-five of his thirty-two pages
to Pushkin. Fortunately Lermontov and Tyutchev lend themselves to
representations by brief lyrics. I cannot judge of his accuracy. The
renderings from Pushkin are simple, quick, and vigorous. Nothing could be
more readable, but a certain flatness lingers, and it is difficult to take
from his book a conviction that we have been missing a rare esthetic