Fables of I.A. Krylov: Narration into English Verse

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Authors
Karpman, David
Krylov, Ivan Andreevich
Issue Date
2010
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Book, Whole
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A new translation of Krylov is helpful. Bernard Pares' careful translation from 1926, to which Karpman refers, is now almost ninety years old. Karpman's is a privately published book, printed on demand. It claims to offer 196 fables in rhyming narrative verse. It does that. I have found the fables I have sampled intelligible but labored. The rhyming feature of Karpman's translations works especially well with morals, where a rhyme secures the impact of a short finishing statement. In other places, however, I find the poetry labored and obscure, and I suspect that the rhyme is the cause. I tried The Fox and the Marmot (2.10 on 39) as a test case. A marmot stopped a fox to talk is not normal English but we can find a sense. I was the judge the inside of the house of hen-tribes makes no sense to me. Did an editor perhaps slip up here and allow a typo? Could you before see any lie like that? Again, I struggle for meaning. Just before the story ends we have a penultimate line that is not idiomatic English, followed by a fine last line that unlocks the whole fable. Those two lines are No, my fox. Staying right now on this place,/I see the fluffy leavings on your foxy face. Great! The fox still has feathers left on his face from devouring chickens. But who in English stays on a place? I will keep trying the next time I am dealing with Krylov, but I hope for better translations than those I have tried so far.
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