Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0025866, Sat, 29 Nov 2014 23:56:22 -0200

B.Boyd's and O. Voronina's reply at the LRB

London Review of Books: Nabokov slips up

Valentin Lyubarsky wonders ‘who is at fault here, Nabokov or his
translators’, in the quotation from Pushkin which we have rendered, in
Letters to Véra: ‘They say that misfortune is a good school. Yes, true. But
happiness is the best university’ (Letters, 6 November
<http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n21/letters> ). Lyubarsky notes, ‘What is
translated as “Yes, true” should have been translated as “Quite possible”,
if Nabokov was quoting Pushkin correctly.’ He wasn’t. Although Nabokov was
quoting fairly accurately from memory, he remembered Pushkin’s ‘mozhet byt’’
(‘perhaps’) as ‘Da eto tak’, which we rendered accurately as ‘Yes, true’.
Had Lyubarsky seen Letters to Véra, he would have found that the note to
this letter translates Pushkin’s original remark in context, including the
Brian Boyd
Auckland, New Zealand
Olga Voronina
Annandale-on-Hudson, New York

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