This range of the brothers

March 25, 2009

Today a bit of fun: I took a recent Book Note about The Brothers Karamazov and used Babelfish to translate it into Russian and back.  It came out funny:


Brothers Karamazov (1880)
Of Fyodor Of Dostoyevsky (Most Modern Archive, of 1992)
The transfer: Pevear/Volokhonsky
P. 838. First reading.

Some speak that this there is no novel Russia of large. Bernards, every one. They placed forward one or another pitiful rival. I supply their blind alley with my praise! Yes, prevent me go more further! Prevent me to say that this not only good and most worthy roman Russia it blessed us, are entirely unworthy although we, even to the largest of all! Oh, others, I know, which govern respect, and I love them, but here and now, to shake in my wakefulness, to me cannot only bestow completely my attachment on this, final fruit of the life of great writer, men, and Russian. Yes, Russian in all!

Happy families entire similar, Russian proverb-creator it is as soon as said, but unhappy families each are unhappy in their own way. Was never true statement, true proverb, and so true as with this family, by this range of brothers — not to forget their father, also, is certain. They are unhappy; they know misfortune in all ways by which true Russian soul it can know it, with the sincerity and wholeheartedly — however we withdraw young Alyosha as the special case! Alexei Of Fyodorovich, our young hero, stands apart, even on the pedestal, small pedestal for that not to embarrass him. It the hero, spiritual element whom celebrates above all — or would triumph it did not have death, which comes as kidnapper in the night, knocking on the window, struck downward our author average-stride before its glorious work could being fully accomplished.

Its brother Ivan Fyodorovich is unhappy, and in its own way. His misfortune hidden after the cold behavior and highly airs, but it there all the same! Psychology, we know, sword with 2 edges, she cuts the first more one-sided, also, after this others, but still we are bold in order to manage it, if only for a moment. Ivan tormented, yes, with the torture of deep soul! It tormented not by the love of woman — although it tormented that too — but tormented in all God and by fate and to suffer. It does assume to center stage only a little times, but who can refuse that very weight and the force of gravity of his role almost of overwhelms rest? Bernards only. Its depth assumes it downward, although — which danger for the deep people — and it comes to know its which old it was luminous, is recently eclipsed. Yes, old scratch!

Not, this story belongs to Mitka, to our expensive of Mitenka, or, in order to place it simply, to Dmitri Of Fyodorovich. Its guilt or innocence which in a question. Its true Russian heart, clipped of discipline and reserve. It scoundrel — it declares scoundrel, his breast! It has the unrestraint of Karamazov, that wild passion for life, and any deficiency in the deficiencies. It, in other words, the son of his father. It has the inheritance at least. But he is child, open-hearted of men without guile, man which has, if he was, accepted thread and needle and sewed his heart there on its bushing, where any can see it. Oh, he is the fool, to be delirious, pop-eyed the fool, only fool for whom we has a pity and not a contempt. Examine his fate, too, you which would detain your heart from it.

I am fool? I spoke which here the largest of all Russian novels, and even the larger novel of all without the exception. In this I spoke boldly, and I will honor my own words and am even proud them! But my very sublimity, very the truth of my declaration, I do diminish me, for what words can I propose which would be worthy object? None. But here I, word by the way, and to what purpose? I – I! – hold modest silence in proportion to I cost in the shadow of sublimity. Any doubt I already spoke too much, from the turning. Therefore, in the presence to this noble company, this I proclaim relative to itself: I am poodle. Purebred poodle, although not Russian one. Yes, the large poodle of all without the exception! Exactly so.

6 Responses to “This range of the brothers”

  1. Janet Says:

    That’s great. The funny thing is that it sounds exactly like you would expect a Russian whose English was not very good to sound.

    AMDG, Janet

  2. cburrell Says:

    It also sounds a little like a résumé that I read this morning.

    Translating things with Babelfish is generally hilarious. If you’re ever in the doldrums, I recommend trying it out.

    I wanted to tell you, Janet, that I’ve (finally!) started reading Dandelion Wine, just in time for the warmer weather. So far I’m enjoying it. The long delay in getting to it was not my fault — blame Robert Browning.

  3. Janet Says:

    You just can’t trust that guy!

  4. I’m definitely putting “Bernards, every one!” into my stock of devastating putdowns.

  5. Janet Says:

    Better not ever say to me!

  6. cburrell Says:

    Poor Bernard. The first reference to him comes from the same passage as Mitya’s magisterial explanation of cognitive science. Of all the scientists in the world, Bernard had the misfortune to be the one picked by Dostoyevsky to represent the self-important over-reaching of science. Poor Bernard.

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