not your typical annihilatrix (furiosity) wrote,
not your typical annihilatrix

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а в остальном, прекрасная маркиза, всё хорошо

I made a pact with myself a few weeks ago that I would re-read all the English books I loved when I was younger in the original -- I read most of them in Russian translation back in the day. I found myself unable to really talk about them with people, because all the character/place names are familiar to me the way they're spelled/pronounced in Russian, but not so much when they are in English, so there was always a slight disconnect that made me hesitate.

I got through the complete Sherlock Holmes last week, which was beyond fantastic -- I appreciate both Holmes and Watson so much more for having read them as they were originally written, and I was able to pick up on nuances that didn't really register before, despite the fact that my Russian translation of the books is considerably well-worn through many, many re-reads.

Right now I'm reading Hemingway's collected short stories, and it's actually like reading something totally new. I never before realised his stories were so very depressing. Not in the *rends bra and wails* kind of way, but in that "weight-of-the-world" kind of way, know what I mean? Granted, it's been many years since I've last read him, so perhaps some of what I see now is stuff I was simply too immature to understand, back then. But I think a lot of it is also how he uses language. Russian is mind-bogglingly rich in vocabulary, expression, metaphor, all that good stuff, and it's hella versatile, but I think Hemingway was meant to be read in English, now that I've had a chance to compare. He does things with very simple English words that are incredible, and the words are just as important as their meaning. I'm in utter awe.

Have you had similar experiences? Whether with books in another language or books that you picked up again many years after your first read and felt like you were reading something totally new?
Tags: books

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