Полезла посмотреть, как по-английски будет "старушка-процентщица", и кончила чтением отзывов о Достоевском на гудридсах. Обнаружила, что мне доставляет странное удовольствие читать, что иностранцы думают о русской системе имен, которая мне лично кажется вполне ясной и естественной. Не то что какая-нибудь корейская, японская еще ладно, но вот корейская... Все в мире относительно, эх.

One of the most common complaints when reading Russian literature is the names. It's almost become a cliche. Well, in this case, it's true. At least Tolstoy gave his characters American nicknames. Here, you have to deal with both the patronymics and identical-sounding or near-identically-named characters. The easiest task you have is not mixing up Raskolnikov with Razumikhin. It gets a little harder trying to keep Alyona Ivanovna (the pawnbroker), Katerina Ivanovna (Sonia's mother) and Amalia Ivanovna (Sonia's mother's landlord) straight. Also remember that Dunya goes by the name Dunechka or Avdotya Romanovna (but that Porfiry Petrovich is not the same as Ilya Petrovich).

More confusing than the names is the culture shock. When I first tried to read Crime and Punishment in high school, I chalked my confusion up to a poor translation. Well, this time around, the translation is in the incredibly capable hands of Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. They managed, in Anna Karenina and War and Peace to be both faithful and readable.

Here, again, I have no complaints with the translation; but I also had a revelation: I don't get Russians. I don't fully grasp their social hierarchy; I don't get why they like mustaches on women; and I certainly don't understand their interactions. They get mad for reasons I can't comprehend; they are insulted for reasons I do not fathom. In Dostoevsky's hands, Russians are a bunch of operatic drama queens, incapable of having a subtle or nuanced reaction to anything. Every emotion has an exclamation mark. You get Dunya trying to shoot Svidrigailov one second, and then tearfully embracing him the next. Characters fall on their knees before each other, and laugh at inappropriate times, and have opaque motivations. I say this with all cultural sensitivity: Russians are a bunch of weirdos.

After all this praise perhaps it’s not logical of me to whine about the names. But I plan on doing so anyway. Why is a person mentioned as Razmikhin in one scene an as Dmitri Prokofich in another. Is it not enough to have teeth shattering names in the first place? But, no, they have to have 3 part names, and nick names too. So a person is called Luzhin in one scene, Pyotr Petrovich in another (try to say that 5 times quickly). Also, out so all the numerous Russian names out here, one character has to be named Zametoff and another Zosimoff. One is called, Porfiry Petrovich another Pyotr Petrovich Luzhin.

2013-09-21 в 00:04 

Как жаль, что ни вы, ни я не умеем петь