Author Topic: Eugene Vodolazkin, "Laurus"  (Read 735 times)

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Eugene Vodolazkin, "Laurus"
« on: October 16, 2015, 09:24:15 PM »
Quote
Medieval Russia was a land trembling with religious fervor. Mystics, pilgrims, prophets, and holy fools wandered the countryside. Their wardrobe and grooming choices earned them names like Maksim the Naked and John the Hairy. Basil the Blessed walked through Moscow in rags, castigated the rich, exposed deceitful merchants, and issued prophecies, many of which proved correct, or close enough. St. Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square is named for him. Nil Sorsky was renowned for his asceticism and devotion, suggesting that, through self-discipline and prayer, you could directly commune with God, making irrelevant the extravagant rituals of Orthodoxy. Many ascetics were deemed “fools for Christ,” whether or not they behaved foolishly. Some were designated saints.

A new novel by the Russian medievalist Eugene Vodolazkin, “Laurus,” recreates this fervent landscape and suggests why the era, its holy men, and the forests and fields of Muscovy retain such a grip on the Russian imagination.

http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/holy-foolery
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Re: Eugene Vodolazkin, "Laurus"
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2015, 03:41:20 PM »
Quote
Medieval Russia was a land trembling with religious fervor. Mystics, pilgrims, prophets, and holy fools wandered the countryside. Their wardrobe and grooming choices earned them names like Maksim the Naked and John the Hairy. Basil the Blessed walked through Moscow in rags, castigated the rich, exposed deceitful merchants, and issued prophecies, many of which proved correct, or close enough. St. Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square is named for him. Nil Sorsky was renowned for his asceticism and devotion, suggesting that, through self-discipline and prayer, you could directly commune with God, making irrelevant the extravagant rituals of Orthodoxy. Many ascetics were deemed “fools for Christ,” whether or not they behaved foolishly. Some were designated saints.

A new novel by the Russian medievalist Eugene Vodolazkin, “Laurus,” recreates this fervent landscape and suggests why the era, its holy men, and the forests and fields of Muscovy retain such a grip on the Russian imagination.

http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/holy-foolery

St. Nil Sorsky would be surprised to learn that his writings, in which he pledges his absolute devotion to the fathers, make the "extravagant rituals of Orthodoxy irrelevant".

Regardless, it's nice to see that Laurus is getting such good press.
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Re: Eugene Vodolazkin, "Laurus"
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2016, 10:29:54 PM »
I finished this a day ago.  I heartily recommend it.

Conceptually I don't quite grasp what the author is doing with time in the novel.

I also have some questions about the translation.

At times I felt like the author was trying to insert their voice but it didn't quite come through very compellingly.

Also, I don't quite understand the choice behind rendering some of the English words in a quasi Elizabethan way when the book was quoting text.

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Re: Eugene Vodolazkin, "Laurus"
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2016, 10:39:50 PM »
I finally tracked it down at a library a couple counties away from me. It's currently checked out but I am next on the list to receive it!
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Re: Eugene Vodolazkin, "Laurus"
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2016, 10:47:16 PM »
Quote
Medieval Russia was a land trembling with religious fervor. Mystics, pilgrims, prophets, and holy fools wandered the countryside. Their wardrobe and grooming choices earned them names like Maksim the Naked and John the Hairy. Basil the Blessed walked through Moscow in rags, castigated the rich, exposed deceitful merchants, and issued prophecies, many of which proved correct, or close enough. St. Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square is named for him. Nil Sorsky was renowned for his asceticism and devotion, suggesting that, through self-discipline and prayer, you could directly commune with God, making irrelevant the extravagant rituals of Orthodoxy. Many ascetics were deemed “fools for Christ,” whether or not they behaved foolishly. Some were designated saints.

A new novel by the Russian medievalist Eugene Vodolazkin, “Laurus,” recreates this fervent landscape and suggests why the era, its holy men, and the forests and fields of Muscovy retain such a grip on the Russian imagination.

http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/holy-foolery

St. Nil Sorsky would be surprised to learn that his writings, in which he pledges his absolute devotion to the fathers, make the "extravagant rituals of Orthodoxy irrelevant".

That's taking it too far but he did seem to advocate a more austere approach to decoration of churches.
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Re: Eugene Vodolazkin, "Laurus"
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2016, 11:54:48 PM »
If want to read about Russian monastic saints of this period try

The Northern Thebaid: Monastic Saints of the Russian North

http://www.sainthermanmonastery.com/product-p/thebaid.htm


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Re: Eugene Vodolazkin, "Laurus"
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2016, 12:23:15 AM »
Also, I don't quite understand the choice behind rendering some of the English words in a quasi Elizabethan way when the book was quoting text.

Perhaps the translator was encountering language in the quotes that was unlike the language of the rest of the book? Not Old Slavonic, but something antique?
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Re: Eugene Vodolazkin, "Laurus"
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2016, 01:26:05 AM »
Also, I don't quite understand the choice behind rendering some of the English words in a quasi Elizabethan way when the book was quoting text.

Perhaps the translator was encountering language in the quotes that was unlike the language of the rest of the book? Not Old Slavonic, but something antique?

Yeah your probably right but it can be confusing as there are no quotation marks used in the book

Offline Minnesotan

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Re: Eugene Vodolazkin, "Laurus"
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2016, 01:38:07 AM »
Quote
Medieval Russia was a land trembling with religious fervor. Mystics, pilgrims, prophets, and holy fools wandered the countryside. Their wardrobe and grooming choices earned them names like Maksim the Naked and John the Hairy. Basil the Blessed walked through Moscow in rags, castigated the rich, exposed deceitful merchants, and issued prophecies, many of which proved correct, or close enough. St. Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square is named for him. Nil Sorsky was renowned for his asceticism and devotion, suggesting that, through self-discipline and prayer, you could directly commune with God, making irrelevant the extravagant rituals of Orthodoxy. Many ascetics were deemed “fools for Christ,” whether or not they behaved foolishly. Some were designated saints.

A new novel by the Russian medievalist Eugene Vodolazkin, “Laurus,” recreates this fervent landscape and suggests why the era, its holy men, and the forests and fields of Muscovy retain such a grip on the Russian imagination.

http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/holy-foolery

St. Nil Sorsky would be surprised to learn that his writings, in which he pledges his absolute devotion to the fathers, make the "extravagant rituals of Orthodoxy irrelevant".

That's taking it too far but he did seem to advocate a more austere approach to decoration of churches.

He did, although it would be more accurate to classify him as a a "moderate" reformer who remained loyal to the Church (there are obvious parallels with Sts. Bernard and Francis in the Catholic West) rather than some type of early Protestant or Tolstoyist as the review seems to be implying.
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Re: Eugene Vodolazkin, "Laurus"
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2016, 01:59:01 AM »
Also, I don't quite understand the choice behind rendering some of the English words in a quasi Elizabethan way when the book was quoting text.

Perhaps the translator was encountering language in the quotes that was unlike the language of the rest of the book? Not Old Slavonic, but something antique?

Yeah your probably right but it can be confusing as there are no quotation marks used in the book

If you read the translator's introduction, you'd find that this was intentional to keep the English translation stylistically in line with the original Russian.  Vodolazkin intentionally inserted linguistic anachronisms into the text as a way of blurring the concept of time throughout the novel.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2016, 01:59:28 AM by Sam G »
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Re: Eugene Vodolazkin, "Laurus"
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2016, 02:01:19 AM »
I finally tracked it down at a library a couple counties away from me. It's currently checked out but I am next on the list to receive it!

Struggles like this are why I'm thankful I own a kindle.
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Re: Eugene Vodolazkin, "Laurus"
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2016, 09:07:41 PM »
Also, I don't quite understand the choice behind rendering some of the English words in a quasi Elizabethan way when the book was quoting text.

Perhaps the translator was encountering language in the quotes that was unlike the language of the rest of the book? Not Old Slavonic, but something antique?

Yeah your probably right but it can be confusing as there are no quotation marks used in the book

If you read the translator's introduction, you'd find that this was intentional to keep the English translation stylistically in line with the original Russian.  Vodolazkin intentionally inserted linguistic anachronisms into the text as a way of blurring the concept of time throughout the novel.

I confess I didn't read it.  The concept of time is definitely blurred.  Still scratching my head a bit about that.

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Re: Eugene Vodolazkin, "Laurus"
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2016, 06:41:11 PM »
I finally got this yesterday through inter-library loan - had to request it from several counties over. I'm only 53 pages into it but I'm already loving it. It's definitely an odd book.
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Re: Eugene Vodolazkin, "Laurus"
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2016, 01:45:59 PM »
Also, I don't quite understand the choice behind rendering some of the English words in a quasi Elizabethan way when the book was quoting text.

Perhaps the translator was encountering language in the quotes that was unlike the language of the rest of the book? Not Old Slavonic, but something antique?

I get that, but I wish the translator had made more of an effort to make it "correct" older English. As it is now, it feels like he just replaced random vowels with Y and added -E at the ends of words randomly.

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Re: Eugene Vodolazkin, "Laurus"
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2016, 05:39:32 PM »
Quote
Some translators might prefer their authors to be dead or reclusive, but I’m perfectly happy with alive and talking. Hearing my authors’ Russian voices, whether in person or via the Internet, helps me create English-language voices for their fiction. The intonations I hear in their spontaneous conversation and email—whether “intonations” are conversational contours I hear with my physical and internal ears, or the shadings I interpret from word choices—feed my intuition as I translate.

My intuition craves feedings, so getting to know Eugene Vodolazkin early in the process of translating his Lavr, a novel about a man in the Middle Ages, into the English-language Laurus was a real feast. Though many Russian readers told me they thought the novel was impossible to translate, I loved the book so much that I agreed to translate some samples, and, later, the whole book...

http://lithub.com/on-translating-an-untranslatable-book/
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Re: Eugene Vodolazkin, "Laurus"
« Reply #15 on: Today at 01:22:31 AM »
It's a shame more people aren't taking about this book on here.
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Re: Eugene Vodolazkin, "Laurus"
« Reply #16 on: Today at 12:22:17 PM »
It's a shame more people aren't taking about this book on here.

Send me a review copy. 
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Re: Eugene Vodolazkin, "Laurus"
« Reply #17 on: Today at 12:31:17 PM »
Missed this thread when it was posted, I recently put this on my Amazon wishlist.
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Re: Eugene Vodolazkin, "Laurus"
« Reply #18 on: Today at 01:17:32 PM »
If y'all don't mind reading on a screen (computer or portable device), I'll let you know if it goes up on EbookBike.
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Re: Eugene Vodolazkin, "Laurus"
« Reply #19 on: Today at 01:25:03 PM »
It's a shame more people aren't taking about this book on here.

Send me a review copy.

I would send you my copy, but it's currently in Moscow on loan.
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Re: Eugene Vodolazkin, "Laurus"
« Reply #20 on: Today at 01:52:20 PM »
I find it hard to believe that the library system for entire state of New York doesn't have a copy.

p.s. I <3 Ustina
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Re: Eugene Vodolazkin, "Laurus"
« Reply #21 on: Today at 02:57:57 PM »
It's a shame more people aren't taking about this book on here.

Cheer up, it's getting more attention than any biblical book has gotten here in years  :police:

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Re: Eugene Vodolazkin, "Laurus"
« Reply #22 on: Today at 03:02:28 PM »
Can we talk about the meaning of the book's ending?
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Re: Eugene Vodolazkin, "Laurus"
« Reply #23 on: Today at 03:12:54 PM »
It's a shame more people aren't taking about this book on here.

Cheer up, it's getting more attention than any biblical book has gotten here in years  :police:

So true...
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Re: Eugene Vodolazkin, "Laurus"
« Reply #24 on: Today at 03:14:19 PM »
Can we talk about the meaning of the book's ending?

I feel like that would require a different thread with the word ***SPOILERS*** in the title.
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Re: Eugene Vodolazkin, "Laurus"
« Reply #25 on: Today at 05:53:44 PM »
It's a shame more people aren't taking about this book on here.

Send me a review copy.

I would send you my copy, but it's currently in Moscow on loan.

You are a good man, Sam.  A good man. 
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Re: Eugene Vodolazkin, "Laurus"
« Reply #26 on: Today at 05:55:03 PM »
I find it hard to believe that the library system for entire state of New York doesn't have a copy.

p.s. I <3 Ustina

They probably have several. 
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Re: Eugene Vodolazkin, "Laurus"
« Reply #27 on: Today at 07:23:08 PM »
Huh, PA has a site that lists the books held at over 2,500 libraries in the state, and Laurus is only currently at two of them. Someone send them some more...

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Re: Eugene Vodolazkin, "Laurus"
« Reply #28 on: Today at 07:44:40 PM »
Huh, PA has a site that lists the books held at over 2,500 libraries in the state, and Laurus is only currently at two of them. Someone send them some more...

I would, but my copy is currently with Sam G, who loaned it to Moscow.
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Re: Eugene Vodolazkin, "Laurus"
« Reply #29 on: Today at 07:56:17 PM »
Huh, PA has a site that lists the books held at over 2,500 libraries in the state, and Laurus is only currently at two of them. Someone send them some more...

I would, but my copy is currently with Sam G, who loaned it to Moscow.

I didn't loan it to Moscow really. I loaned it to someone who took it with them to Moscow to read while they were bored.
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