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The Song of Igor's Cam...
Vladimir Nabokov
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The Song of Igor's Campaign: An Epic of the Twelfth Century

3.28  ·  Rating Details  ·  190 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
The Song of Igor's Campaign is the most imaginative, celebrated, and studied work of early Russian literature. It describes a chivalric expedition undertaken in the late 12th century by a minor prince in the land of Rus' to defeat, against overwhelming odds, a powerful alliance in a neighboring territory. The anonymous poet who chronicled this adventure packed unprecedente ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 135 pages
Published 1960 by Vintage Books (first published 1800)
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Christopher Sutch
Aug 28, 2010 Christopher Sutch rated it really liked it
Nabokov is typically self-deprecating regarding his talents as a translator and a poet, but this "unreadable" poem is actually quite readble indeed. I don't agree with him that it is among the best medieval poems, but it is an interesting historical document and Nabokov's historical and poetical notes make interesting reading.
Mary Overton
Vladimir Nabokov's translation of Igor's defeat:
From early morn to eve,
and from eve to dawn,
tempered arrows fly,
sabers resound against helmets,
steel lances crack.
In the field unknown, midst the Kuman land,
the black sod under hooves
was sown with bones
and irrigated with gore.
As grief they came up
throughout the Russian land.

What dins unto me,
what rings unto me?
Early today, before the effulgences,
Igor turns back his troops:
he is anxious about his dear brother Vsevolod.
They fought one day;
they fought
Czarny Pies
Dec 03, 2015 Czarny Pies rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who has read Beowulf or the Song of Roland.
Recommended to Czarny by: I am a great fan of the Borodin opera.
Shelves: russian-lit
The Song Igor's Campaign can be read in less than 90 minutes and is well worth the effort for anyone who has already familiarized themselves with the conventions of medieval oral epics. If you have read Beowulf you will be prepared for Igor's campaign. If you have read the Song of Roland, you will actually enjoy it.

I read an earnest but flat version in French that I found on WikiSource. I later found the Nabakov version online. I needed to read only a few stanzas to realize that it had dramatica
Oleg Kagan
Apr 04, 2015 Oleg Kagan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russia
Nabokov translates this anti-epic about a pompous prince who goes on an insignificant copycat campaign with his homies only to get blown out and captured. Luckily, he escapes and makes it to Russia where the grass can grow green once again. Whatever the point of this poem is, the language is full of beautiful metaphor and figurative language. At only 860 lines, it won't take long.
Jan 28, 2016 Tanveer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting read. I do not usually read epic poems but this poem combined with the history it talks about made me want to read the book. It is not a hard read, and the detailed explanation of the terminologies definitely helps. I only wished that if the translated version was more rhythmic.
Skeletor666 BL4Z3 1T
A very interesting epic one has to say. Not so long to read as others, but even this dosen't takes away it's charm.
Beth Roberts
Feb 01, 2015 Beth Roberts rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Magnificent translation (and notes), as expected. And a very strange epic!
Aug 06, 2015 Smita rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was actually pretty cool :D
Aug 10, 2014 Hamish rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
To be honest, epic poetry is not really one of my favorite genres. I enjoyed this more than I expected to, though. Nabokov's introduction and commentary (which is almost overkill at times) helped my understanding and appreciation a lot, and there really are some beautiful passages in it. But something about parts of it felt off to me, and I couldn't quite see the genius that Nabokov so eloquently argues for. But definitely worth reading if, like me, you're a Russian lit nerd.
Mar 07, 2014 Stacy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This epic poem was one I could appreciate, but I cannot say I really enjoyed it. It's a bit hard to follow, as I find Russian literature to be in general.
Jun 05, 2012 Cody rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I know absolutely nothing about Russian history or mythology, so this poem lost a lot of meaning for me, but it was still rather beautiful to read, and rather interesting on top of that. At least I can say I read it right? That still counts? Haha.
Aug 04, 2008 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love medieval epics of all shapes and sizes. Can't really comment on whether this is a good translation or not.
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Russian: Владимир Владимирович Набоков

Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov, also known by the pen name Vladimir Sirin, was a Russian-American novelist. Nabokov wrote his first nine novels in Russian, then rose to international prominence as a master English prose stylist. He also made significant contributions to lepidoptery and had an interest in chess problems.

Nabokov's Lolita (1955) is frequently cit
More about Vladimir Nabokov...

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