Tarass Boulba… traduit du russe par Louis Viardot.

Paris, Librairie de L. Hachette et Cie, 1853.

8vo, pp. [4], iv, 215; a very good copy in the original yellow printed wrappers, some light wear to joints.


US $322€296

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Tarass Boulba… traduit du russe par Louis Viardot.

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First separate appearance of Gogol’s story in the French translation by Louis Viardot, with an introduction by Turgenev, published in the series ‘Bibliothèque des chemins de fer’.

Written by Gogol at the age of twenty-six and first published in Russian in 1935, Taras Bulba is an epic tale of Cossack heroism which follows the eponymous colonel and his two sons, Andrii and Ostap; the former is shot by Taras for falling in love with a Polish woman, and the latter executed by Polish authorities in the novel’s poignant final scene. This translation features additional passages introduced only in the second edition of 1842, in which Gogol, ‘partly under the influence of a change in his own reading of Ukrainian history and partly yielding to ideological dogmas of the time, depicted Taras Bulba not only as a patriot of the Rus’ land but also as an admirer of the Russian tsar’ (Plokhy, The Cossack Myth (2012), p. 59).

The translation had previously appeared in 1845 in the collection ‘Nouvelles russes’, where Turgenev is named as co-translator; in the introduction to the same, Viardot (who knew very little Russian himself) admits to having taken dictation from Turgenev and other Russian collaborators: ‘I did little more than touch up the words and sentences; if the style is mine in part, the meaning is theirs alone’ (trans.).

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