Feb. 26th, 2016

Not fair

Feb. 26th, 2016 01:58 am
kortirion_among_the_trees: (Bookworm)
I've always known that the Soviet/Russian canon of English literature was strangely skewed and bore little relation to the British canon, with prominent names (here) largely unknown (there), and second- and third-order (I won't say -rate) writers elevated to a prominence out of all proportion to their actual position at home.  But I never realised just how bad it was until I wanted my mother to read the George Eliot and George Gissing novels I've been teaching this year.  Say Adam Bede, which I'm teaching next Tuesday, and which has some passages she would find really interesting.  I knew (from conference papers I'd heard) that this novel was very highly regarded in 19th c. Russia (we know it influenced Tolstoy, etc.).  Well, it turns out it hasn't been translated since then, and hasn't even been in print (as far I as I can tell from a quick google) since before the Revolution.  Eliot in general has barely ever been in print in the last hundred years, and as for Gissing, well, you can forget about that completely.  So my mother will never get to read them.

While googling I found this interesting article about why Eliot, and various other Victorian giants, such as Hardy, have been neglected in 20th (and 21st) c. Russia.  There are issues with the article, but the overview it gives is quite valuable nevertheless.

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