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November 5, 2009



is the unfinished novel available in print, I wonder?

Justin E. H. Smith

That's a good question. I don't think it's ever been published in English, though I know it's available in the 'collected works' edition of Pushkin's writings in Russian. It's also available online, in Russian, here:


It's from here that I've been working on my own translation, as time permits. Perhaps I'll start posting the segments I translate serially. (It's going to take a while, however.)

Anna Alexandrova

I have not read any of this novel, but I loved the 1976 Soviet film "Skaz pro to, kak tsar Pyotr arapa zhenil" ("How Czar Peter the Great Married Off His Moor"). Visotsky himself played Ibrahim!

Justin E. H. Smith

Oh yes, I've seen that before (I think at the check-out stand of a Russian grocery store in Chicago). I admit it did not tempt me too much (at the time I didn't know what 'arap' meant, or anything of the connection to the histories of either Pushkin or Peter the Great), but if I had noticed it was Vysotsky playing the lead role I might have felt differently.

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