The Readers Review: Literature from 1714 to 1910 discussion

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Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
I want to take a moment and welcome you to "The Readers Review." First, I am very much looking forward to meeting and getting to know all of you. Second, I am ready to get started reading and discussing some great books, short stories, and poetry with all of you. Finally, I want you all to know that 'the door is wide open,' and that any and all suggestions for improving this group will be considered. Feel free to leave a posting in the 'Group Improvement Suggestions' thread, or send me a note. Cheers! Chris


message 2: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Wonderful idea Chris and thanks for all your sterling effort in putting the site together!


message 3: by Grace Tjan (new)

Grace Tjan Hi Chris! Thanks for inviting me and I'm looking forward to read some great books together with the group.


message 4: by Joy (new)

Joy (joylnorth) I am very excited about being a part of this group! I look forward to reading some great works of literature and engaging in stimulating discussion. Thank you, Chris, for creating this lovely group!


message 5: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Sandybanks wrote: "Hi Chris! Thanks for inviting me and I'm looking forward to read some great books together with the group."

Good to see you here Sandybanks:).


message 6: by Grace Tjan (new)

Grace Tjan MadgeUK wrote: "Sandybanks wrote: "Hi Chris! Thanks for inviting me and I'm looking forward to read some great books together with the group."

Good to see you here Sandybanks:)."


Same to you, Madge. : )


message 7: by Gail (new)

Gail | 91 comments I'm looking forward to exchanging vews and information here. My reading is skewing more and more toward this area. Thanks,Chris, for setting this up.


message 8: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Gail wrote: "I'm looking forward to exchanging vews and information here. My reading is skewing more and more toward this area. Thanks,Chris, for setting this up."

The reading list on your Profile certainly seems to fit here Gail - looking forward to your input:).


message 9: by Gail (new)

Gail | 91 comments Hi, Madge. I often look at/read/pore over your posts, particularly at the Paradise Lost discussion, with some trepidation. My thoughts are usually nowhere near as deep. I'm looking forward to sharing with all of you, though; I've learned quite a bit already, just lurking!


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
Ami wrote: "Congratulations, Christopher! This group is EXACTLY what I need to both enhance and enrich my reading experience. I already recognize some names (Madge and SandyBanks) and am so excited that they a..."

Ami, what an awesome comment! Thank you! I think you're a terrific addition to the group too. I have no doubt that we will greatly benefit from all of your participation. Welcome!


message 11: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Gail wrote: "Hi, Madge. I often look at/read/pore over your posts, particularly at the Paradise Lost discussion, with some trepidation. My thoughts are usually nowhere near as deep. I'm looking forward to shari..."

Gosh - thanks Gail. There were some very deep and lovely folks in the PL discussion, I just paddled in their wake:).


message 12: by MjerrieT (new)

MjerrieT | 5 comments Hi, I was looking for a place to put my new ereader to good use and it looks like this is the place along with classics, western canon and victorian groups.

I live in muncie indiana with my cat jerrie. recently, I have a lot of time on my hands to sit at home because of a back strain injury that has to heal before I can return to work without restrictions.

So far, I have enjoyed reading the classics such authors as, austen,alcott,dreiser, hardy, stoker and cooper but not favorite as of yet. I have been reading some the tread on this and other boards that have been a big help when up late at night. Hope to enjoy reading classics with this group and others, thanks.


message 13: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments Good to meet you and Jerrie, Charlene, although I am sory to hear about your back injury, which I hope gets better soon. What a great excuse to do a lot of reading though!:)


message 14: by Jan (new)

Jan (auntyjan) | 483 comments Gail, I gave up after book 2 of Paradise Lost...it felt like I was ploughing through and I know there will always be people more widely read, more informed about philosophy, politics or whatever it may be. However it is always interesting to try different things and learn from other people's insights. Madge is a great provider of relevant websites some of which even include pictures and recipes! I think you'll love this group!
And Charlene, I fully understand the painful, wakeful nights...I broke my arm 3 months ago...slowly healing. Welcome to both of you! If either of you like to write poetry, pop in to my notebook in the poetry corner...it's a place where everyone can post their poems...all welcome.


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
Gail and Charlene, I want to extend a late, but heartfelt 'welcome' to both of you. I look forward to getting to know both of you much, much better too. Have fun! Cheers! Chris


message 16: by MadgeUK (last edited Sep 09, 2010 10:40AM) (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments I have just noticed that Natalie from South Korea has joined our already international group so we are really spanning the world here! Welcome Natalie!


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
I cannot tell all of you how delighted I am at how fast our little group has taken off, and how much fun we are having already. I truly didn't know what to expect when I formed the group just a couple of weeks ago. Each of you has made significant contributions to organizing the group too, for which I will always be grateful. It has been a wonderful experience meeting each of you, and I am very much looking forward to getting to know you all better as we move ahead exploring our beloved books! Cheers! Chris


message 18: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 | 3742 comments I've heard some details about why this group was formed. Was the group an offshoot of "Western Canon" or "Victorians?"


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
Rochelle wrote: "I've heard some details about why this group was formed. Was the group an offshoot of "Western Canon" or "Victorians?""

Frankly, Rochelle, neither. I formed the group a couple of weeks ago just to fill a need. I think I have always liked the idea of a group that spans a period of time that includes some of the very best literature written, i.e., late-18th century to the early-20th century. I was always very interested in opening it up to literature from other cultures in that time period, and especially ensuring that we included a strong emphasis on poetry.

I thought it might be fun to try and focus on, and discuss, the various literary movements and connections with other artistic and cultural movements (e.g., music, architecture, etc.). I'll be the first to admit that there is certainly a lot of overlap with certain areas of interest in both the "Western Canon" and Victorians" groups.

Hopefully, this answers your question, Rochelle. Cheers! Chris


message 20: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Christopher -- I want to encourage you to allow plenty of time for the reading of Brothers Karamazov. It's a book which is packed with a ton of stuff to talk about, and it's one that a first read can only touch the surface of. It is one of those books to be chewed slowly and digested. i hope we schedule enough time to do that.


message 21: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Patrice wrote: "I certainly second that Eman. My course is devoting eleven weeks to BK, discussion of over 3 hours a week and we're feeling rushed."

What course is that?


message 22: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Patrice wrote: "Oh, I thought I'd mentioned it. I'm taking a course in Brother Karamazov. We're in week 6 right now."

I hope you're taking really good notes for the discussion here. Maybe Chris should recruit you as co-moderator for the discussion!


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
Everyman wrote: "Patrice wrote: "Oh, I thought I'd mentioned it. I'm taking a course in Brother Karamazov. We're in week 6 right now."

I hope you're taking really good notes for the discussion here. Maybe Chris..."


Actually, I am hopeful that someone will volunteer to moderate, or at least co-moderate, BK. Of the Russians, I'm sorry to admit that I've only read Tolstoy and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. This will be my first Dostoevsky.

I think we should certainly rely on your assessment of the time required for the group read too. Another issue is what translation to utilize. Personally, I am planning to use the Pevear-Volokhonsky translation. I have hear nothing but good things about their BK edition. I love their renditions of Tolstoy's W&P and AK.


message 24: by Grace Tjan (last edited Oct 22, 2010 08:26PM) (new)

Grace Tjan Everyman wrote: "Christopher -- I want to encourage you to allow plenty of time for the reading of Brothers Karamazov. It's a book which is packed with a ton of stuff to talk about, and it's one that a first read ..."

I first read Karamazov last year, and yes, it's a fascinating but also very rich. I'm sure that I'm missing quite a bit. I don't know if I want to reread it in its entirety again so soon after reading it, but I'm very interested in the insights that others here will be able to bring to the discussion. Please share your lecture notes, Patrice!


message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

Christopher wrote: "Everyman wrote: "Patrice wrote: "Oh, I thought I'd mentioned it. I'm taking a course in Brother Karamazov. We're in week 6 right now."

I hope you're taking really good notes for the discussion h..."


It might be interesting to have several translations. The differences have really added to the discussion on the Oresteia.

I was planning on using the Ignat Avsey translation because I found the flow of his words appealing. A GR friend of mine who is a native Russian speaker used http://www.dartmouth.edu/~karamazo/tr... as a guideline for a side by side comparison of 5 translations (plus her own!!) of a BK prose paragraph. I have to say that the P&V translation seems the most awkward and difficult for me to read, but it's very interesting to see the differences between them. If anyone wants to take a look, PM me your email and I'll send it to you.

She also rated them for me as to how close they captured the meaning and nuance of the Russian when it came to dialogue and came up with the following:

here is my rating only with respect to the spoken lines:

Pevear & Volokhonsky 4out of 5 - In addition to being scrupulously accurate in most cases, they also did a good job in translating the nuances of the dialogue. However, their English is a bit stilted :), since they sacrificed flow for accuracy.

David McDuff 4 out of 5 - Does a pretty good job, satisfactorily accurate but the language flows better than Pevear & Volokhonsky

Ignat Avsey - 3 out of 5 - He does better with the prose than dialogue. I suspect his problem is the English, not the Russian

Constance Garnett 2 out of 5 - not very accurate or nuanced, and skips lots of phrases (I can see why Nabokov detested her translations)

Andrew MacAndrew 2.5 out of 5 - does a marginally better job than Garnett (doesn't skip as many words or phrases), but doesn't catch many of the nuances either.




Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) | 1483 comments Mod
Kate wrote: "Christopher wrote: "Everyman wrote: "Patrice wrote: "Oh, I thought I'd mentioned it. I'm taking a course in Brother Karamazov. We're in week 6 right now."

I hope you're taking really good notes ..."


Fascinating post, Kate! I also agree with you about The Oresteia. I originally read Robert Fagles' translation, and then followed that up with Richmond Lattimore's (I managed to find a very nice hardbound edition of Lattimore's in a used bookstore in the tiny town of Brownville, Nebraska). While I liked Lattimore's translation, I thoroughly enjoyed Fagles's translation; it just seemed more lyrical and powerful.

I read both War and Peace and Anna Karenina recently in the Pevear-Volokhonsky translations, and loved 'em both. Compared to the Garnett translations that I had always read previously there was just no contest. Just me though.


message 27: by [deleted user] (last edited Oct 22, 2010 09:18PM) (new)

Christopher wrote: "Kate wrote: "Christopher wrote: "Everyman wrote: "Patrice wrote: "Oh, I thought I'd mentioned it. I'm taking a course in Brother Karamazov. We're in week 6 right now."

Well you noticed she didn't give Garnett very high marks, either. The problem is her translations are so prevalent.


message 28: by Grace Tjan (new)

Grace Tjan Kate wrote: "Christopher wrote: "Everyman wrote: "Patrice wrote: "Oh, I thought I'd mentioned it. I'm taking a course in Brother Karamazov. We're in week 6 right now."

I hope you're taking really good notes ..."


Very interesting. I've read three Pevear-Volokhonsky translations so far: War & Peace, Anna Karenina and Karamazov, and I've found them to be very readable. And I'm about to start another: Dead Souls. It's good to hear that a Russian speaker gave a relatively high mark for accuracy. That's important for me.

Never read any Garnett.


message 29: by Joanna (new)

Joanna (joannamauselina) | 15 comments Re translations and nuances -- I recently decided to read "Gone with the Wind" in German, just to practice. When the translator translated "poor white trash" as "die Proletariat," I gave it up and finished it in English.
PS What a wonderful book. I read it in high school, and when I finished it, I went back to page one and read the whole thing again. Usually I wait a year or two before rereading a favorite.


message 30: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Kate wrote: "Well you noticed she didn't give Garnett very high marks, either. The problem is her translations are so prevalent.
"


I have the Norton edition, which is the Garnett translation but revised by Ralph Matlaw, who has a ten page Afterward discussion "On Translating The Brothers Karamazov" which I haven't read yet. But one reviewer I read said that his was a considerable improvement. It's my understanding that Garnett actually knew one or more of the Russian novelists in person (not sure whether Dostoevsky) and was approved by them as their translator. Don't know about that.


message 31: by Joanna (new)

Joanna (joannamauselina) | 15 comments Patrice wrote: "Joanna, my mouth dropped open at that comment! Was it published in East Germany or West or before? Amazing translation. And I wonder, is the proletariat a derogatory term? I didn't think so, es..."

I don't know where the edition I read was published. I assumed West Germany, as it was a fairly old edition which I checked out from the library. I suppose the derogatory-ness (or not) of "proletariat" would depend on who is talking.


message 32: by Joanna (new)

Joanna (joannamauselina) | 15 comments Patrice wrote: "I just looked up the meaning of proletariat. Yes it means the people of the lowest class. I'm no Marxist but I guess through the years I've absorbed the attitude that the workers are the "heroic"..."

Well, I had the same idea -- that the proletariat meant the working class, and that it was not a derogatory term. But I think that in many mouths, "working class" is derogatory term, especially among the snobbish class in 19th century England.

The "poor white trash" in Gone with the Wind were not exactly working class. They seemed to be the "avoiding working" class.


message 33: by Linda2 (last edited Oct 23, 2010 11:27PM) (new)

Linda2 | 3742 comments Poor white trash means "not poor black trash," folks are are at the bottom of the feeding chain, although not black.

It's hard to translate regionalism into other languages. I always wonder how they do certain American plays in other countries, for instance "My Fair Lady." What's the Japanese equivalent of a cockney accent and cockney expressions? How could you translate the feeling of Southern culture in Tennessee Williams, in, let's say, China?

There are a lot of things wrong with GWTW, but we didn't catch them when we were younger. Best I can see is that it's a "good read", a page-turner, and it owes its success to its most unusual heroine, a woman not unlike Becky Sharp.


message 34: by MadgeUK (last edited Oct 24, 2010 05:22AM) (new)

MadgeUK | 5214 comments The words 'proletariat' and 'working class' are bona fide terms used in social science to distinguish one group of the working population from another. They are not meant to denigrate anyone and are not equivalent to 'poor white trash'

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Working_...

Social scientists use such definitions to collect and measure responses to various surveys and censuses. They are based upon occupation, as defined here by the UK Registrar General (I expect something similar is used in the US.):-

http://www.publications.parliament.uk...

The Upper Classes are those who do not work because they have an independent income.

Here is how classes were defined in Jane Austen's day:-

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_LCVZWFAEodk...

This is the Marxist Capitalist Pyramid often used by the late Victorians:-

http://www.postcardlanguage.com/capit...


message 35: by Jan (new)

Jan (auntyjan) | 483 comments I'm with Kate on the Ignat Avsey translation. I knew Chris had mentioned the Pavear, so I picked it up but just before I went to buy it noticed the other one. By comparing a couple of passages at the beginning and in the middle, I found that the Pavear was quite 'clunky' in comparison with the other one. The Avsey one had much nicer paper and a much nicer cover and cost less and is a newer translation (1994 as opposed to 1992), so it was an easy choice for me. Incidentally, it is entitled 'The Karamazov Brothers', since that's the natural word order in English. It comes with a time chart and a list of principal characters and is well worth considering.Karamazov Brothers Karamazov Brothers by Fyodor Dostoevsky


message 36: by [deleted user] (new)

I'll be reading the translation by David Magarshack from 1958 and published by Penguin Classics, simply because it's the one I have on my shelf. His translator's introduction is particularly interesting.


message 37: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 | 3742 comments MadgeUK wrote: "The words 'proletariat' and 'working class' are bona fide terms used in social science to distinguish one group of the working population from another. They are not meant to denigrate anyone and ar..."

But that's not what was indicated by "poor white trash" in GTWT.


message 38: by Linda2 (new)

Linda2 | 3742 comments Patrice wrote: "I'm not sure that I ever heard of that term "poor white trash" growing up on the east coast. I first heard it used in conversation when I moved west and was offended by it. Then, without realizin..."

It's strictly a Southern term,and probably not used any more. It indicates uneducated, dirty folks, possibly immoral and not working, not proletariat.


message 39: by Geoffrey (new)

Geoffrey | 41 comments I grew up in the northeast, Connecticut, and had heard the phrase "poor white trash" several times.
I always assumed it had to do as much with moral behaviour as it did with material well being. Those contestants on Jerry Springer would be "poor white trash", having sex with their brother`s wives, skipping out of town and not paying bills, hitting the dives, snorting coke, etc.

But I believe the meaning is more limited to financial well being. If you live in a trailer park, yo po white trash, whether you`re a goody-goody or not.


message 40: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4457 comments Mod
Geoffrey - Where in CT? That's where I grew up too!


message 41: by James (new)

James Hello,

I live in Boston and went to school to be a high-school English teacher, but am not currently teaching any literature. I've had trouble finding a book group in Boston, so I hope this group may be an answer. I'm currently reading Middlemarch, so I'll plan to jump into this group's reading list after you finish Ivan Ilyich. I'm excited to be here!


message 42: by Madge UK (new)

Madge UK (madgeuk) | 2931 comments Ostrovsky's novel was, however, heavily censored by the Soviet regime and it is difficult to find an uncensored, warts and all, version.


message 43: by Stef (new)

Stef Rozitis | 4 comments Thanks this looks fun :)


message 44: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2784 comments Mod
Hi, Travis. What I enjoy about the novels from this era are the stories and the way they are written to be read in a non-hurried fashion.


message 45: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2784 comments Mod
Thanks.


message 46: by Frank (new)

Frank Wayne (francophone) Hi all . . . I have a degree in English Lit., so this group will be my cup of tea. I am retired, an author, a teacher, a sailor, and a student of fine art. I find that I gravitate toward the classics, and will enjoy discussing any aspect of the literature we share.


message 47: by Madge UK (new)

Madge UK (madgeuk) | 2931 comments Welcome Frank! I hope you will join us for some political Trollope:)


message 48: by Frank (new)

Frank Wayne (francophone) Thank-you . . . I am pretty busy, but I'll try to keep up. What is everyone reading now?


message 49: by Madge UK (last edited Jan 28, 2018 11:47PM) (new)

Madge UK (madgeuk) | 2931 comments Phineas Finn. We are reading our way through Trollope month by month. Also on the go are Room with a View and The Machine Stops.


message 50: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2784 comments Mod
Hi, Frank. You can see all the books we are currently reading on the group's home page (accessed via the internet) as well as our topics for discussion.
We some threads for general discussion of books as well as monthly reads, including What's on your bedside table these days? and Library discussion.
Welcome to our group.


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