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Monday, November 01, 2010

The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar

...and 61 more fables by Ivan Krylov

 

The fables of Ivan Krylov are rich fonts of Russian cultural wisdom and experience – reading and understanding them is vital to grasping the Russian worldview.

This new edition of 62 of Krylov’s tales presents them side-by-side in English and Russian. The wonderfully lyrical translations by Lydia Razran Stone are accompanied by original, whimsical color illustrations by Katya Korobkina.

Krylov’s fables represent a combination of satire, rational moralizing, and details of Russian rural and provincial life, with an admixture of lyricism and references to historical events and figures. As a source of phrases and aphorisms that have entered the Russian language, Krylov’s influence upon his native tongue is roughly analogous to that of Shakespeare upon English.

This bilingual, colorfully illustrated edition is an ideal gift for language learners, adoptees and Russophiles of all ages.

 


Professional Reviews

"I want to tell you how much I’ve been enjoying your translations of Krylov. I read (and often reread) one fable a day, in my order of preference (today it was Лебедь, Рак и Щука). Your choice of words is excellent – your book should be used in every advanced Russian course." 

– Sophia Lubensky,
author of Russian-English Dictionary of Idioms

"Two things amazed me—how good her translations are, and how relevant (at least some of) the fables are to our personal and political life."

– Boris Silversteyn


Reader Reviews

This little volume makes a fine gift, and has much to recommend it for diverse audiences. The playful, humorous verse translation by Lydia Razran Stone makes it especially good to read to children, who would likely not appreciate a literal prose rendition. The same is true for many adults, even though a prose version might be closer to the imagery and vocabulary of the original Russian. The bilingual character of the book – Russian on one side and English on the other – is excellent, indeed indispensable, for anyone who knows or is studying Russian... reading the work in the original language is a huge plus. The illustrations by Russian artist Katya Korobkina are truly delightful. The characters (animals and animate objects) are relocated to a 21st-Century Russian town, usually with human bodies and animal heads. This adds a brilliant dimension of liveliness and timeliness to the text. {Susan Welsh / Amazon}

The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar should appeal to children and their parents, bilingual or not. I would recommend it to anyone who wants a better slant on "the Russian mind," especially parents who adopted Russian children and have an interest in their cultural heritage. As a teacher of Russian at the high school and college level, I would have loved to have this book available for my students. Lydia Stone's translation is faithful not only to the words, but also, and engagingly so, to the style of the Russian original. Katya Korobkina's illustrations match the text perfectly and are pleasingly whimsical enough to stand on their own. {Marie Hall / Amazon}


About the Author

Ivan Andreyevich Krylov was born in 1769 into a family that was situated at the very bottom of the noble class. His father died when he was ten, leaving him virtually no money. But Krylov did inherit a trunk full of books. Virtually lacking any formal education, in his teens Krylov had the good fortune to impress a professional writer with his literary talent.

About the Translator

Lydia Razran Stone has worked as both a technical and literary translator from Russian into English and currently specializes in translating poetry. She is responsible for most of the poetic translations published in Chtenia and for the past 15 years has been the editor of SlavFile, a quarterly for Slavic translators. [For more information about this important translation, read the Translator's Introduction.]

About the Illustrator

Katya Korobkina was born in Maykop, in the republic of Adygeya. She studied art in Saratov and now lives in Moscow, where she works as an illustrator and theatrical artist, as a theatrical property master and a photographer.