Eugene Onegin
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Eugene Onegin

A Novel in Verse: Text (Vol. 1)

Aleksandr Pushkin, Vladimir Nabokov

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eBook - ePub

Eugene Onegin

A Novel in Verse: Text (Vol. 1)

Aleksandr Pushkin, Vladimir Nabokov

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Über dieses Buch

When Vladimir Nabokov's translation of Pushkin's masterpiece Eugene Onegin was first published in 1964, it ignited a storm of controversy that famously resulted in the demise of Nabokov's friendship with critic Edmund Wilson. While Wilson derided it as a disappointment in the New York Review of Books, other critics hailed the translation and accompanying commentary as Nabokov's highest achievement. Nabokov himself strove to render a literal translation that captured "the exact contextual meaning of the original, " arguing that, "only this is true translation." Nabokov's Eugene Onegin remains the most famous and frequently cited English-language version of the most celebrated poem in Russian literature, a translation that reflects a lifelong admiration of Pushkin on the part of one of the twentieth century's most brilliant writers. Now with a new foreword by Nabokov biographer Brian Boyd, this edition brings a classic work of enduring literary interest to a new generation of readers.

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A Novel in Verse
by Aleksandr Pushkin
Pétri de vanité il avait encore plus de cette espèce d’orgueil qui fait avouer avec la même indifférence les bonnes comme les mauvaises actions, suite d’un sentiment de supériorité, peut-être imaginaire.
Tiré d’une lettre particulière
Not thinking to amuse the proud world,
having grown fond of friendship’s attention,
I wish I could present you
[4] with a gage worthier of you—
worthier of a fine soul
[full of a holy] dream,
of poetry, vivid and clear,
[8] of high thoughts and simplicity.
But so be it. With partial hand
take this collection of variegated chapters:
half droll, half sad,
[12] plain-folk, ideal,
the careless fruit of my amusements,
insomnias, light inspirations,
unripe and withered years,
[16] the intellect’s cold observations,
and the heart’s sorrowful remarks.
To live it hurries and to feel it hastes.
Prince Vyazemski
Chapter One
“My uncle has most honest principles:
when taken ill in earnest,
he has made one respect him
[4] and nothing better could invent.
To others his example is a lesson;
but, good God, what a bore
to sit by a sick man both day and night,
[8] without moving a step away!
What base perfidiousness
the half-alive one to amuse,
adjust for him the pillows,
[12] sadly present the medicine,
sigh—and think inwardly
when will the devil take you?”
Thus a young scapegrace thought,
with posters flying in the dust,
by the most lofty will of Zeus
[4] the heir of all his relatives.
Friends of Lyudmila and Ruslan!
The hero of my novel,
without preambles, forthwith,
[8] I’d like to have you meet:
Onegin, a good pal of mine,
was born upon the Neva’s banks,
where maybe you were born,
[12] or used to shine, my reader!
There formerly I too promenaded—
but harmful is the North to me.1
[1 For Pushkin’s notes, see below, pp. 313–20]
Having served excellently, nobly,
his father lived by means of debts;
gave three balls yearly
[4] and squandered everything at last.
Fate guarded Eugene:
at first, Madame looked after him;
later, Monsieur replaced her.
[8] The child was boisterous but nice.
Monsieur l’Abbé, a poor wretch of a Frenchman,
not to wear out the infant,
would teach him everything in play,
[12] bothered him not with stern moralization,
scolded him slightly for his pranks,
and to the Letniy Sad took him for walks.
Then, when tumultuous youth’s
season for Eugene came,
season of hopes and tender melancholy,
[4] Monsieur was ousted from the place.
Now my Onegin is at large:
hair cut after the latest fashion,
dressed like a London Dandy—2
[8] and finally he saw the World.
In French impeccably
he could express himself and write,
danced the mazurka lightly,
[12] and bowed unconstrainedly—
what would you more? The World decided
he was clever and very nice.
All of us had a bit of schooling
in something and somehow:
hence education, God be praised,
[4] is in our midst not hard to flaunt.
Onegin was, in the opinion of many
(judges resolute and stern),
a learned fellow but a pedant.
[8] He had the happy talent,
without constraint, in conversation
slightly to touch on everything,
with an expert’s learned air
[12] keep silent in a grave discussion,
and provoke the smile of ladies
with the fire of unexpected epigrams.
Latin has gone at present out of fashion;
still, to tell you the truth,
he had enough knowledge...


  1. Cover Page
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Dedication Page
  5. Contents
  6. Foreword
  7. Translator’s Foreword
  8. “EO” Revisited
  9. Method of Transliteration
  10. Calendar
  11. Abbreviations and Symbols
  12. Translator’s Introduction
  13. Eugene Onegin: A Novel in Verse
Zitierstile für Eugene Onegin

APA 6 Citation

Pushkin, A. (2018). Eugene Onegin ([edition unavailable]). Princeton University Press. Retrieved from (Original work published 2018)

Chicago Citation

Pushkin, Aleksandr. (2018) 2018. Eugene Onegin. [Edition unavailable]. Princeton University Press.

Harvard Citation

Pushkin, A. (2018) Eugene Onegin. [edition unavailable]. Princeton University Press. Available at: (Accessed: 14 October 2022).

MLA 7 Citation

Pushkin, Aleksandr. Eugene Onegin. [edition unavailable]. Princeton University Press, 2018. Web. 14 Oct. 2022.