Fyodor Sologub

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Fyodor Sologub

1PaulDalton
Fev 3, 2014, 9:18am

Has anyone read The Petty Demon? There are two English editions, one published by Ardis in a translation by S.D.Cloran; the other by Penguin in Ronald Wilks' translation. I'd be grateful for advice on which translation is best.

2anisoara
Fev 3, 2014, 2:38pm

I read it in 80s in the Ardis edition, I think, and it made a powerful impression on me; I have no idea what the Penguin edition is like.

BUT someone very knowledgeable about these things has advised me to avoid Ardis. For whatever that may be worth!

3languagehat
Fev 12, 2014, 2:08pm

I have Andrew Field’s 1962 translation, which is quite decent; I'm not familiar with the others, but I'll give you the same advice I give everyone trying to decide which translation to read: take a look at each one and pick the one you most enjoy reading. It doesn't matter if it has a mistake or two (all translations do, frankly); the important thing is that it pull you in and make you want to read the book.

4kaggsy
Fev 14, 2014, 10:40am

2: I have a few Ardis Russian books on my shelf which I haven't read yet and was interested in your comment - any specific books to avoid or reasons (bad translations?) Any advice gratefully received!

5languagehat
Ago 11, 2014, 9:08am

"BUT someone very knowledgeable about these things has advised me to avoid Ardis."

I must have skipped over this before, and I don't understand why anyone would say such a thing (unless they were loyal to Soviet publishing, of course) -- Ardis was absolutely indispensable for writers unavailable or heavily censored in the USSR (Mandelstam, Tsvetaeva, Nabokov, etc.) and they had high standards of editing (their edition of Nabokov's Дар The Gift is one of the crown jewels of my bookshelves).

6kaggsy
Ago 12, 2014, 4:54am

>5 languagehat: That's good to know, because I have a few of their editions and they seem fine to me!!

7vaniamk13
Mar 25, 2015, 10:51pm

Not sure if the S.D. Cioran translation is the better, but I was deeply impressed by the book after reading that version. Certainly one of my favorite reads ever.

That said, has anyone read Bad Dreams? I understand some consider it the greatest decadent Russian novel ever. I intend to find out soon if I can track down a more reasonably priced copy.

9kaggsy
Jun 3, 2020, 4:02am

Thanks for that. I've had this lingering on the tbr for ages, but maybe this is the time to finally read it.

10Gypsy_Boy
Jan 12, 7:22am

FWIW, there are at least three translations. I just took a look at mine--it's on my list of things to read this year--and mine was published by Random House in 1962 and was translated by Andrew Field.

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