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Thread: The Great Novel

  1. #1
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    The Great Novel

    If I continue to diligently study Russian for another five years, my goal is to read Война и Мир with the same fluency as I could read its English translation.

    What English language novel do Russians aspire to read as a test of their English language fluency? What is the most popular English language classic; and American classic, among Russians?

    I would offer "Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain as a genuine American classic [in 2006, its relevancy has never been greater!]. Do Russians en masse read this novel, in Russian or in English?

    Your thoughts, please.

    Thank you.
    DO IT YOURSELF!

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    As for me I have no such goal, I just read without any plan. But the idea is brilliant and I'll chose some book to be my guiding star.

    Hmm, American writers?

    Mark Twain indeed is one of the most popular american classics in Russia and his "Huckleberry Finn" and "Tom Soyer" are well-known, though, as far as I know they were always considered books for kids. I've read both of them when I was 6, and my parents believed that choice of "kidsbook" is absolutely appropriate. Twain's "Yankee" we studied at school when we were 11 y/o.

    So you'll hardly see any adult with that book ("Huckleberry Finn") in hand. But as far as I know in USA people think of that books as of serious literature. Am I right?

    Actually a lot of american writers are rather popular in Russia, it's hard to pick out one. I'll name just Jack London, Hemingway and Edgar Allan Poe like the writers evrybody knows about.

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    Re: The Great Novel

    Quote Originally Posted by Siriusly
    If I continue to diligently study Russian for another five years, my goal is to read Война и Мир with the same fluency as I could read its English translation.

    What English language novel do Russians aspire to read as a test of their English language fluency? What is the most popular English language classic; and American classic, among Russians?

    I would offer "Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain as a genuine American classic [in 2006, its relevancy has never been greater!]. Do Russians en masse read this novel, in Russian or in English?

    Your thoughts, please.

    Thank you.
    Из английской/американской классики мне нравятся детективные произведения Агаты Кристи (с Пуаро) и Джеймса Хедли Чейса. Я их читаю в оригинале и для меня они достаточно просты для понимания (чем тот-же Шекспир, "расшифровывать" которого у меня не очень получается)
    ЗЫ Насчет войны и мира расскажу такой черный анекдот:
    "Читая "Война и мир" школьники очень жалели, что на дуэли убили Пушкина а не Толстого"

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    Ага, но это детективы.
    Если сейчас начать вспоминать известных авторов детективных романов и фантастов (да еще свалить в кучу американскую и английскую литературу) - наберется о-очень много.

    З.Ы. Пробовала читать сонеты Шекспира в оригинале. Он точно писал по-английски?

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    Re: The Great Novel

    Quote Originally Posted by Siriusly
    If I continue to diligently study Russian for another five years, my goal is to read Война и Мир with the same fluency as I could read its English translation.
    Prepare to learn French too Some places in the original book is on French, mon cher ami.

    http://www.rvb.ru/tolstoy/01text/vol_5/ ... 4&length=1

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    Mark Twain was a satirist

    [quote="gRomoZeka"]

    So you'll hardly see any adult with that book ("Huckleberry Finn") in hand. But as far as I know in USA people think of that books as of serious literature. Am I right?[quote="gRomoZeka"]

    Yes, Huckleberry Finn is a standard lesson for college English class. It is also read in high school. The reason is that the story is a bold social and political satire that does not hide Mark Twain's contempt for the society he lived in; the story is a clear expose of racism, greed, hate, and hypocrisy. In this story it happens to be through the eyes of a child who was forced to grow up too quickly. And what makes the story entertaining is that Huck usually makes fools of all those nasty people!

    Of course publishers and education institutions have means of hiding and dismissing such criticisms. I wonder if the Russian translations of the book have done the same?
    DO IT YOURSELF!

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    I've read David Eddings (nearly all his books). He specializes mostly in fantasy and that was an interest of mine some time ago. I liked his language very much by the way. At that time I tried to read Orwell's 1984 but it appeared to be too little too difficult then.
    I'm looking forward to reading Dune by Frank Herbert but I've never managed to obtain an original text. I've ordered it once from Amazon but it got lost somewhere in the way.
    Send me a PM if you need me.

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    My personal favourites are "Huckleberry Finn" and "Moby Dick". Love them, reread them (in Russian) all the time.
    Find your inner Bart!

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    Re: Mark Twain was a satirist

    Quote Originally Posted by Siriusly
    Of course publishers and education institutions have means of hiding and dismissing such criticisms. I wonder if the Russian translations of the book have done the same?
    No, that was pretty clear. And I understood that while reading. I think they didn't hide anything because it kept withing the whole system of criticizing the capitalist system nicely.

    You see, I grew up in the USSR and kids there where always made to "analyse" books. What does the author tries to say here? Why the weather is this and not that? And the answers "Because that's fun" or just "Because" were always wrong.
    That's why we were accustomed to "read between lines", and if the criticisms were there we'd find them. That's why probably soviet censorship was so cruel. They saw criticism everywhere.

    Sorry for long post about nothing.

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    Книга, которая я хотел бы читать по–русски – это наверное Мастер и Маргарита. Эта книга очень смешная, а, может быть, я был бы понимать её, если я эта читал бы по–русски.

    I don't really have any books in English I'd die to read; I think I'm proficient enough to read any book not older than 100 years. I think I enjoy Harry Potters (I love Rowling's English!) and the Dune series by Frank Herbert the most.
    I'm but a beginner in Russian, so please correct me.
    However, I'm supposed to be good in English, so if you correct me there, I become very angry! Grr!
    And if you, for some reason, need help in Finnish, I'm glad to help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmDii
    Книга, которую я хотел бы (про)читать на русском – это, наверное, Мастер и Маргарита. Эта книга очень смешная, и, может быть, я_бы понял её, если бы я читал её на русском.
    А ты уверен, что она именно смешная?
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Оля
    Quote Originally Posted by EmDii
    Книга, которую я хотел бы (про)читать на русском – это, наверное, Мастер и Маргарита. Эта книга очень смешная, и, может быть, я_бы понял её, если бы я читал её на русском.
    А ты уверен, что она именно смешная?
    Спасибо.

    Она не смешная, если я часто рассмеяюсь, когда её чтиаю?
    I'm but a beginner in Russian, so please correct me.
    However, I'm supposed to be good in English, so if you correct me there, I become very angry! Grr!
    And if you, for some reason, need help in Finnish, I'm glad to help.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by EmDii
    Она не смешная, если я часто смеюсь, когда её читаю?
    Это еще не показатель
    В книге может быть много смешного, но это не значит, что книга в целом смешная.
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

  14. #14
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    It's an interesting question, I should say. I have never actually thought of a book I could read to test my English fluency. I think that every Russian knows of Dickens and Shakespeare. As for American writers, Mark Twain and Hemingway are most likely to be the most popular writers here. It's all very subjective though. I remember reading a couple of books by Mark Twain during an English course a few years back. Though I have not read Huckleberry Finn. Going back to a book that I could use to test my English fluency, I'd say that I could read any book if I really wanted to read it. I don't think I'll have many problems with comprehension. There might be many unfamiliar words - especially when reading classic books - but I'll still be able to understand the main idea of the book.

    BTW, I haven't read "War and Peace" yet. Even though it was compulsory reading when I was at school (which was around 2 years ago), I didn't really want to spend the whole summer reading it. I had a lot more interesting literature to read at the time.
    "A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read"
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    Re: Mark Twain was a satirist

    Quote Originally Posted by Siriusly
    Quote Originally Posted by gRomoZeka

    So you'll hardly see any adult with that book ("Huckleberry Finn") in hand. But as far as I know in USA people think of that books as of serious literature. Am I right?
    Quote Originally Posted by gRomoZeka

    Yes, Huckleberry Finn is a standard lesson for college English class. It is also read in high school. The reason is that the story is a bold social and political satire that does not hide Mark Twain's contempt for the society he lived in; the story is a clear expose of racism, greed, hate, and hypocrisy. In this story it happens to be through the eyes of a child who was forced to grow up too quickly. And what makes the story entertaining is that Huck usually makes fools of all those nasty people!

    Of course publishers and education institutions have means of hiding and dismissing such criticisms. I wonder if the Russian translations of the book have done the same?
    Yes, you're right. Huckleberry Finn can be read as a child, but an adult can find deep, rich satire against the American society of the time. This is why I consider it brilliant, and classic literature.

    I have read it three times... first as a 7-year old (and thought of it as a story of boyhood adventure), and last, about 4 years ago (as a social satire and criticism). Each reading was unique and different.

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    I didn't have any specific books that I was aspiring to read when studying English. The first book I read was something about aliens by Dean Koontz and I enjoyed it immensely.
    Even I am not a fan of his work now, he actually does have a good command of the language, and it was a much more pleasant read than Agatha Christie, for example.
    Speaking of books I enjoyed in English the most, it would probably be the ASoIaF series by G.R.R.Martin, and most books by Neil Gaiman -- Neverwhere, Stardust, American Gods, but especially the Sandman comic, which I think is absolutely a must read for everyone and a great original text for any student of English to practice reading.

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    Does anyone here actually like War and Peace?

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    Hey War and Peace is totally cool, man! I skipped most of the epilogues though...
    Hei, rett norsken min og du er død.
    I am a notourriouse misspeller. Be easy on me.
    Пожалуйста! Исправляйте мои глупые ошибки (но оставьте умные)!
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    Yeah. I didn't mind the first half of the book where things actually happened, but then he started blabbering about nothing and all his flawed philosophies and things started to go pear shaped....

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    Quote Originally Posted by kalinka_vinnie
    Hey War and Peace is totally cool, man! I skipped most of the epilogues though...
    Right, I read it four times but never could manage to finish the epilogue...
    Actually, I prefere "Anna Karenina". It's my favourite book by Tolstoi.

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