NABOKV-L post 0004848, Fri, 3 Mar 2000 08:44:35 -0800

Russian PALE FIRE: On problem of word-for-word translation.

oT: Donald Barton Johnson <>
dATA: 1 MARTA 2000 G. 20:55
tEMA: Russian PALE FIRE: On problem of word-for-word translation. (fwd)

>---------- Forwarded message ----------
>Another question to Sergei Il\'in.
>Why did you transform Shade\'s daughter (my darling) into Death in
>your translation \"Pale Fire\" on Russian?
>Is it a vexatious lapsus only?
>I\'m reasonably sure that we survive
>And that my darling somewhere is alive,
>As I am reasonably sure that I
>980 Shall wake at six tomorrow, on July
>The twenty-second, nineteen fifty-nine. . . . (68-69)
>I\'a veruiu razumno smerti nam / I\'m reasonably sure we should not
>Ne sleduet boiatsia, - gde-to tam / be afraid of death -- somewhere
>Ona nas zhdet, kak veruiu, chto snova / (She) It waiting us, as I
>am sure that again
>980 I\'a vstanu zavtra v shest\', dvadtsat\' vtorogo / 980 I Shall wake
>at six, on July
>Iiulia, v piat\'desiat deviatii god, / The twenty-second, nineteen
>fifty nine. . . .
>I veriu den\' ne tiagostno proi\'det.
>For Russian reading nabokovians.
>Welcome to

Translator's Reply to above query.

>Well, as a person responsible for that 'lapsus' (and most of the others in
the poetical part of Pale Fire), I have to reply.
'Ona' here refers to Hazel, not to Death. Earlier in the text of the Poem,
she is referred to as Ona (without her name mentioned) at least twice, so it
is quite justified. Ona should definitely be italisized here, which we
neglected to do in the first run of the book, but changed in the second.
Alexandra Glebovskaya