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"Горе от ума" - одна из первых русских комедий, разодранных на пословицы и поговорки, которыми до сих пор украшена речь всякого мало-мальски начитанного человека. "Горе от ума" - комедия, давшая русской литературе первого "лишнего человека". Эта комедия с трагическим, в сущности, финалом - поистине "русская комедия" с отчетливым горьким осадком и бесконечным сочувствием геро "Горе от ума" - одна из первых русских комедий, разодранных на пословицы и поговорки, которыми до сих пор украшена речь всякого мало-мальски начитанного человека. "Горе от ума" - комедия, давшая русской литературе первого "лишнего человека". Эта комедия с трагическим, в сущности, финалом - поистине "русская комедия" с отчетливым горьким осадком и бесконечным сочувствием герою. Издание снабжено комментарием, а также отрывками из статей А.С.Пушкина, И.А.Гончарова и А.Григорьева, посвященных комедии "Горе от ума", что, несомненно, поможет всем, кто изучает русскую словесность.


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"Горе от ума" - одна из первых русских комедий, разодранных на пословицы и поговорки, которыми до сих пор украшена речь всякого мало-мальски начитанного человека. "Горе от ума" - комедия, давшая русской литературе первого "лишнего человека". Эта комедия с трагическим, в сущности, финалом - поистине "русская комедия" с отчетливым горьким осадком и бесконечным сочувствием геро "Горе от ума" - одна из первых русских комедий, разодранных на пословицы и поговорки, которыми до сих пор украшена речь всякого мало-мальски начитанного человека. "Горе от ума" - комедия, давшая русской литературе первого "лишнего человека". Эта комедия с трагическим, в сущности, финалом - поистине "русская комедия" с отчетливым горьким осадком и бесконечным сочувствием герою. Издание снабжено комментарием, а также отрывками из статей А.С.Пушкина, И.А.Гончарова и А.Григорьева, посвященных комедии "Горе от ума", что, несомненно, поможет всем, кто изучает русскую словесность.

30 review for Горе от ума

  1. 5 out of 5

    Fran

    Early 19th Century Russia. Estate life of Moscow's nobility was changing. Chatsky represented a new generation of nobles. His estate was run with the assistance of over three hundred serfs. He was "seized by wanderlust, and- off he goes...seeking greener pastures...And then...He deigns to reappear...". Three years have passed. He determined that "It's good to travel to a distant land...-or live on one's estate, with work its own reward, not kowtowing to the powers that be." Chatsky can't wait to Early 19th Century Russia. Estate life of Moscow's nobility was changing. Chatsky represented a new generation of nobles. His estate was run with the assistance of over three hundred serfs. He was "seized by wanderlust, and- off he goes...seeking greener pastures...And then...He deigns to reappear...". Three years have passed. He determined that "It's good to travel to a distant land...-or live on one's estate, with work its own reward, not kowtowing to the powers that be." Chatsky can't wait to see Sophie, the girl he loves. Growing up they were inseparable. He was in for a rude awakening. Famusov, Sophie's father, was hosting a high society ball on the night of Chatsky's unannounced arrival. Chatsky observed the so-called moral and ethical behavior of Famusov's elite guests. Literary life replete with "delight, curiosity and enthusiasm" was painfully absent at this salon. "...anyone who has "five or six thoughts in his head" has no place in this society...People waltz, play cards...frivolity personified." Liza, (Sophie's maid) tells Sophie, "Like all gentlemen hereabouts, your father's set his sights on decorations and high rank...". Chatsky noticed that "old prejudices linger". His outspokenness was misunderstood. He would not "practice civility...And join the civil service...". He said, "Service, not servility...Trample those beneath whom you despise, Flatter those above you adulate-an age of servile urges...". "But listen! in uniform, or a civilian who's a more delightful and amusing man than Alexander Chatsky?...He had a sharp, inventive wit...". "Woe from Wit: A Verse Comedy in Four Acts" by Aleksandr Griboyedov and translated by Betsy Hulick, was written in the 1820's in the period between the War of 1812 against Napoleon and the Decembrist Revolt of 1825. The four act satirical play was heavily censored during the author's lifetime. This reader lacked familiarity with the Russian language and was unable to experience the colloquialisms and oft quoted Russian proverbs. The masterful introduction by Angela Brintlinger was thoroughly researched and most informative. I highly recommend this tome. Thank you Columbia University Press and Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review "Woe from Wit".

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    I have just found my copy from decades ago, ed D.P. Costello (Prideaux Press), so I shall add passages soon. This great play--not a novel-- was written by a writer appointed an ambassador like so many 19C literary men (think of Hawthorne in England), an ambassador who dies when the Iranians over-ran his embassy. The Cossacks defended for an hour or more, but were outnumbered; then the Persians climbed on the roof, removed the tiles, and overwhelmed the embassy with stones, Griboyyedev's being th I have just found my copy from decades ago, ed D.P. Costello (Prideaux Press), so I shall add passages soon. This great play--not a novel-- was written by a writer appointed an ambassador like so many 19C literary men (think of Hawthorne in England), an ambassador who dies when the Iranians over-ran his embassy. The Cossacks defended for an hour or more, but were outnumbered; then the Persians climbed on the roof, removed the tiles, and overwhelmed the embassy with stones, Griboyyedev's being the last room taken. He was killed and dragged through the streets, disfigured. Why didn't Americans before Carter know this Iranian penchant? They actually treated the US embassy much better. (Iranians don't like foreign empires--the Russian one in 1829, and the American one a century and a half later.) But this play is about "furreners," namely German influence on Russia. The central character Chatsky returns from Europe to Czarist Russia highly developed by his European so-journ (shades of the young Bill Clinton) but instead of his fellow Russians electing him Prez, he's highly suspected. The mutual suspicion on both sides is hilarious, worthy of Austen, almost Griboyedev's contemporary. Chatsky is rejected by Czarist society because he is always laughing, an amusement bred in Germany and Europe generally (think of Byron), whereas in Russia men laugh at each other, behind their backs: therefore they suspect anyone who laughs openly. Only Repetilov defends Chatsky when Zagoretsky relays the general opinion that Chatsky's mind has been damaged by his foreign residence: Nonsense! Чепуха! The great Pushkin , writing on first hearing the play in 1825, wrote, "Half the lines are bound to become proverbs." One that sounds proverbial, Chatsky's host Famusov to an officer rival for his daughter's hand, "кладите шляпу, сденьте шпагу" Put on your hat, take off your sword. May have already been a proverb! (II.4, p.40) "Woe from Mind [or Smarts or Wit]" was only published posthumously, in 1833. Griboyedev had been an excellent student in five languages, probably destined to be a scholar, but Napoleon's invasion changed his life; he joined the military under a relative, and eventually served in recruitment of cavalry. But he had a practical side which served him well (too well) becoming an ambassador. Griboyedov died young, only 35. Russian literature and government both lost. And America gained a precedent that it refuses to acknowledge. Why would any country hate foreign empires on its soil? (Hmmm--seems to me North Americans didn't appreciate the British Empire in the 1770s.)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    Amusing. Interesting on three counts: 1. According to the introduction, you can trace a significant share of Pushkin's Eugene Oregin character to Griboyedov's protagonist Alexander Chatsky. The same careless, witty, sardonic, worldly dismissive, sometimes sneering attitude. 2. Griboyedov hung out with people who were involved in the Decembrist movement, and was briefly questioned himself. Potentially as a result, he was dispatched to diplomatic missions in the Balkans and Iran, returning only rar Amusing. Interesting on three counts: 1. According to the introduction, you can trace a significant share of Pushkin's Eugene Oregin character to Griboyedov's protagonist Alexander Chatsky. The same careless, witty, sardonic, worldly dismissive, sometimes sneering attitude. 2. Griboyedov hung out with people who were involved in the Decembrist movement, and was briefly questioned himself. Potentially as a result, he was dispatched to diplomatic missions in the Balkans and Iran, returning only rarely to Russia before he was killed in an attack on the Russian embassy in Iran before he was forty years old. This play shows both the type of man who was restless under the old system, and how corrupt, hypocritical and stultified it was. 3. It is the source of many commonly used aphorisms and phrases still current in Russian today. A fourth, if you speak Russian, it was a relatively early literary work in a modern, more flexible and lively Russian language that was emerging.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Florencia

    May 26, 14 Dear diary, Did I say "resignation"? I won't rate this book nor review it. It wouldn't be fair to Griboyedov's work. All I can say is this: I will never forget the excruciating pain this Spanish translation caused me. I will never forgive. I hope I find, someday, a proper English edition to fully appreciate the potential that I know this play has. One without missing or blurred pages. As much as I enjoy mystery, if I want it, I can always read some Agatha Christie book. I'd like to read May 26, 14 Dear diary, Did I say "resignation"? I won't rate this book nor review it. It wouldn't be fair to Griboyedov's work. All I can say is this: I will never forget the excruciating pain this Spanish translation caused me. I will never forgive. I hope I find, someday, a proper English edition to fully appreciate the potential that I know this play has. One without missing or blurred pages. As much as I enjoy mystery, if I want it, I can always read some Agatha Christie book. I'd like to read the whole play, if that's possible. * May 9, 14 I found it! "El mal de la razón". I hope the translation isn't too literal that it seems I'm reading something from the Google Translator.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Frankie

    Many Russian writers – Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Lermontov – refer to characters from Woe from Wit, especially Chatsky. I've always been curious to have at least a basic knowledge of this character, though I realize that Russian stage banter doesn't translate well. I found an English version online here, but a very stilted one that attempts to match the meter and rhyme. Tough translations like this should keep to prose for a more accurate, albeit less fanciful version. I learned this lesson from Euge Many Russian writers – Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Lermontov – refer to characters from Woe from Wit, especially Chatsky. I've always been curious to have at least a basic knowledge of this character, though I realize that Russian stage banter doesn't translate well. I found an English version online here, but a very stilted one that attempts to match the meter and rhyme. Tough translations like this should keep to prose for a more accurate, albeit less fanciful version. I learned this lesson from Eugene Onegin. I finally dug up this 1914 British edition The Misfortune of Being Clever. Much of the original sarcasm is lost, and the style is typically Victorian and theatrical. It reads as if Griboyedov were Shakespeare, and while he is a sort of Muscovite version of Shakespeare, the comparison doesn't do him justice. Chatsky is truly fascinating because it's impossible for the reader/theater-goer to decide about him. Is he a fool or not? It could go either way. My favorite thing about the play is that no one character is a "straight man." Everyone, including Chatsky, is an exaggeration of personality. The best example of this is Repetilov, who doesn't merely follow people who seem wise to him, he goes about endorsing them based on his lack of understanding. My favorite scene is Act III, Scene 7. The Tugoukhovsky girls hear of Chatsky as an available bachelor, and send their father across the room to invite him to their house. When they're told that Chatsky's not wealthy, they quickly call their father back. I'm really glad to have finally read this. I understand much better now the reference to Chatsky as a character type. He's the first realistic model of the 19th century young man full of misguided angst. Together the characters Famusov and Chatsky represent the generation gap that Turgenev and Dostoevsky would write about half a century later. Even into the 20th century, Proust and Flaubert often referenced these characters. Here's a lovely video of Act III Scene 3. http://youtu.be/OYxxcSBxRtM

  6. 5 out of 5

    Czarny Pies

    Of all the western diplomats killed in Teheran, none has achieved more lasting fame than Aleksandr Griboyedov whose tragic death in 1829 at the hands of a crowd of irate fundamentalists put an end to what might have been a great literary career. Woe from Wit his one surviving work is a sad reminder of what might have been. Woe from Wit is fabulous satirical comedy about Russian high society that should raise many smiles as it successfully mocks hypocrisy, greed, and pretention with a brio compara Of all the western diplomats killed in Teheran, none has achieved more lasting fame than Aleksandr Griboyedov whose tragic death in 1829 at the hands of a crowd of irate fundamentalists put an end to what might have been a great literary career. Woe from Wit his one surviving work is a sad reminder of what might have been. Woe from Wit is fabulous satirical comedy about Russian high society that should raise many smiles as it successfully mocks hypocrisy, greed, and pretention with a brio comparable to that of Molière. The play was banned by the Imperial censor possibly because some of the characters seemed to be modelled on real individuals in position of power. The more likely reason for the ban was that Griboyedov was known to have frequented the Decembrists which made the censor uneasy with an otherwise politically anodyne text. The fact that his play had been censored did not prevent the Czar from naming him Ambassador to Persia 18 months later which proved to have more serious consequences than the ban on the publication and performance on his play. The one problem is that to fully enjoy Woe from Wit, one needs to be reasonably well-versed in the history and politics of Imperial Russia. If for example you do not know who the Decembrists were, there is a strong chance that much of this play will go over your head. This work is clearly for someone who has already read several works by Tolstoy, Chekov, Dostoevsky and Pushkin as well as a solid survey history of nineteenth century Russia.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    This is a charming satirical play in verse written by a revered early 19th C Russian diplomat, poet, composer and ultimately, martyr, since he was killed by a mob while serving as Ambassador to Iran (then Persia) with his corpse subsequently savagely mistreated, etc. He must have been a man of great social insight, judging from the mercilessly stinging critique of the Russian upper classes that "Woe from Wit" actually completely consists of. The plot is more like a device, an excuse for one sati This is a charming satirical play in verse written by a revered early 19th C Russian diplomat, poet, composer and ultimately, martyr, since he was killed by a mob while serving as Ambassador to Iran (then Persia) with his corpse subsequently savagely mistreated, etc. He must have been a man of great social insight, judging from the mercilessly stinging critique of the Russian upper classes that "Woe from Wit" actually completely consists of. The plot is more like a device, an excuse for one satirical portrait of a parade of ridiculous, pompous, or foolish upper class figures. The one character - Chatsky - who has some insight into their stupidity and shallowness, is eventually branded as mad by the small-minded and vapid circle. This doesn't really phase Chatsky though as he was only passing through Moscow anyway. The play takes place over the course of a day at the house of Mr. Famusov - various characters, one more silly and superficial than the next, wander in and out of the play, some seeking to become Sophia's, Famusov's daughter's, fiancee. In the end, but too late, Sophia realizes that the man she had earlier rejected, Chatsky, in favor of her father's secretary Molchalin - who was only using her, probably would have been the best match. The English language rhymed verse translation must have been written several decades ago since it seems creaky - and contains many outdated words, but that may be suitable for the play, since it was originally written by Griboyedov early in the 19th C (and of course immediately banned in Russia). Anyway, it was fun looking up the unfamiliar, "antique" words! Unfortunately, Russia seems fated to fail socially - prior to the Revolution, great writers wrote about the problems of income & social inequality. There was then the Revolution and I suppose the hope that everything would immediately change. Everything certainly did change and at least on paper there was more equality, there was free education, health care, cheap housing. However, society under communism was stultifying - and the regime used terror to stay in power. This was not what the masses had bargained for when they overthrew the monarchy. The country became authoritarian again.. and even under capitalism, post the overthrow of communism, it is once again basically authoritarian, despite the trappings of democracy. Maybe Russians don't care enough to ensure that they will have a say etc., and so let strong men take over, repeatedly. Maybe it's passivity or being apolitical or cynical. The complaints about monarchy/aristocracy and communism were real enough - this play is yet another barb directed toward the "bored" "small-minded" aristocracy. But why does Russia slide back into authoritarianism even when given the opportunity to enjoy democracy? Anyway, here are the quotes: From the Introduction by Semyon Ekshtut: "The social status of a literary scholar in Russian at that time [the early 19th C] was extremely low and [Griboyedov's] ... authoritative mother kept reminding him of the need to think about his prestige." "[General Alexander] Yermolov, a hero of the French war of 1812, sought total subjugation of the Caucasian nations, telling the rebellious Chechens: "It's either submissiveness or else face dreadful extermination!"" "The play's characters showcase all the negative traits of the era: servility, submissiveness, closed-mindedness and poor education." "...all the talent in the world could not get the play published or staged. ... meanwhile, his play spread throughout Russia in hundreds of manuscript and handwritten copies. [Although completed in 1824] The full text was published only in 1862, one year after the abolition of serfdom in Russia." "[Griboyedov] ... was well aware of the abyss separating this group of highly-educated intellectuals and their noble theories [the Decembrists] from the huge mass of uneducated peasants. His experience in Persia and the Caucasus taught him well that the world was dominated by a crude despotism, while wit, intellect and justice held little relevance for the passive majority of the population." "On May 16, 1828, Griboyedov attended Pushkin's reading of his famous poem, 'Boris Godunov.' He came away dreaming of embracing his literary career. "My head is full of plans," he wrote to his friend Begichev. 'I feel an inner imperative to write."" "Griboyedov arrived in Tehran in early 1829. ... On January 30 (old style) a crowd of thousands, at the instigation of religious fanatics, stormed the Russian embassy." "Persian rulers were scared by the blood spilled at the embassy and feared Russian military retaliation. But the Russian tsar was also scared. He needed quiet on the Persian front in order to succeed in his war against the Turks." "'Woe from Wit' was first staged publicly in a Russian theater a few years after [the playwright's] ... death. Today, 170 years later, Griboyedov's singular masterpiece remains one of the most popular plays in the Russian repertoire. Most every famous Russian actor in the past century has acted one of the play's major roles. Partly thanks to the appeasement in Russian-Persian relations following Griboyedov's tragic death, Russia won the war of 1828-1829 against Turkey, securing the Eastern coast of the Back Sea (a region which today includes the famous resort town of Sochi)." "Throughout the nineteenth century, Russia maintained significant influence in Persia. In 1907, as "The Great Game," between Russia and Britain came to a close, the two countries divided Persia into two spheres of influence. But, by the late 1930s, Germany began to infiltrate and influence Persia (the country's name changed to Iran in 1935). Then, in August 1941, Soviet Russia and Britain introduced troops into Iran in order to neutralize Nazi influence. Not only did this protect Russia's southern flank during the war, but the land bridge through Iran served as the second largest pipeline for Allied aid to Russia during the war." Quotes from the play: "[Sophia:] Broad day! How sad! How quick the nights are gone." "[Sophia:] Who notes, in happiness, how time is flying." "[Liza, Sophia's maid]: It's not the doing wrong, it's what they say that matters." "[Chatsky:] Now tell me, what can Moscow show me new? A ball last night, tomorrow there'll be two. One's had good luck, another's met reverses, The same old talk! The same old album verses. Translator's note: It was common to have a personal album, in which friends would write inscriptions." "[Chatsky:] Yes, now we breathe more free; We don't all hurry off to join the clown's brigade." "[Chatsky:] If three whole years away you roam, Don't count on love when you come home." "[Chatsky:] New streets, but prejudices old as ever." "[Chatsky:] Who are our judges? Obsolete as owls, At all that's free in life they raise their senseless howls. From fly-worn newspapers thy get their last idea, The Siege of '88, the Conquest of Crimea; They always sing the same old song..." "[Chatsky:] Why, surely, it is these, enriched with plunder, who've dodged the law court through their friends and their relations, And build a splendid house, a very nine days' wonder, In which they overflow in feasts and dissipations; Where foreign parasites could never quite adopt Of that dear age that's gone, the worst extravagances! [Translator's Note:] Here Chatsky is alluding to French citizens living in the homes of rich Russians. Among their number were many political reactionaries who fled their homeland during the French Revolution." "[Chatsky:] These are our judges stern, the censors of our ways! And now the moment one of us, Of us young folks, is found these low maneuvers spurning, No claimant bold for place, of rank not covetous, Who plunges in his books a mind that thirsts for learning, If God's own grace in him has kindled the desire For high creative arts, and all that's fair and true, They all start shouting: Robbers! Fire!" "[Molchalin:] Alas! Malicious tongue are worse than pistol shot!" "[Zagoretsky:] ...Oh, fables I can't stand! Its everlasting jokes at eagles and at lions. Say what you will: Although they're animals, they're sovereigns still." "[Chatsky:] ...as for me, I find our North is ten times worse, Since everything was changed for all that's its reverse, Our manners and our tongue and all we once revered, Our gracious flowing robes for something new and weird, A veritable clown's costume..." "[Chatsky:] What did I hope? What did I think to find? These home - comings, how stale! Not one true friend in all!" "[Repetilov:] With dirty hands all round, no doubt, But tell me where to find the man who's clean, and clever?" "[Skalozub:] ...Don't think that me you'll fuddle with your learning." "[Chatsky, to Sophia:] Quick! Fall into a faint! Just now it's quite in season." "[Chatsky:] ... I'm proud to think with you [Molchalin] I've done! And you, good Sir, Papa, who worship decorations, A happy ignorant, I'll leave you drowsing on." "[Chatsky:] Of friends in friendship false, unflagging in their hatred, Tale-mongers not to be placated; The silly would - be wit, the crooked simpleton, Old maids, malicious every one, And old men babbling out some folly or some fad -- No wonder, all the gang proclaimed that I was mad. You're very right! That man could pass through fire unscathed Who had spent a live-long day with you And in the self same air had bathed And yet had kept his reason too." Quote from note About the Translator [Sir Bernard Pares]: "[Pares:] I had finished my translation of Krylov (Krylov's fables] with the help of the peasant soldiers while still with the army, and on the road I also completed my other long-standing task of translation, Griboyedov's classical play, 'The Mischief of Being Clever;' this I could never have done, but for the bitterness that came with the collapse of so many hopes." Here he meant the failure of his mission in Russia to keep political developments to a moderate, constitutional course, and to keep Russia working with the Allies in the [First World] war effort."

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    So often and by many I've been told That talk is silver while the silence has been made of pure gold Like Chatsky I felt always free to speak my rebel's mind No wonder that indeed I am "the failing looser" in the eyes of those all quail Molchalin's kind Being "Chatsky" makes the life to be the real mess It's "Woe from Wit" when one just likes to serve without licking bosses's ass The story is so true; it doesn't matter anyway, I must admittedly to say Where, in what country Chatskys and Molchalins rea So often and by many I've been told That talk is silver while the silence has been made of pure gold Like Chatsky I felt always free to speak my rebel's mind No wonder that indeed I am "the failing looser" in the eyes of those all quail Molchalin's kind Being "Chatsky" makes the life to be the real mess It's "Woe from Wit" when one just likes to serve without licking bosses's ass The story is so true; it doesn't matter anyway, I must admittedly to say Where, in what country Chatskys and Molchalins really live - it happens be the same for any country: Russia, France and even USA Chatsky was the first "spare", "unused by the society" character in Russian classical literature, to be followed by Pushkin's Eugene Onegin, Lermontov's Pechorin, Turgenev's Bazarov and Goncharov's Oblomov. In the 20th century this tradition was continued by Yuri Trifonov.

  9. 4 out of 5

    June

    A really great translation. Betsy Hulick is one of the best Russian translators working right now. This work is no easy feat, with the early 19th-century language and humor. This work influence many later writers, so I am looking forward to teaching at least an excerpt of it in context. Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for a digital ARC for the purpose of an unbiased review.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Keith

    This is a witty play brilliantly translated. It fits nicely with Moliere’s wonderful play the Misanthrope, and Richard Wilbur’s verse translation. Translating a play into rhymes is a tricky proposition that can go wrong in a dozen ways. It requires just the right play and just the right translator. And that’s what Wit to Woe achieves. The rhyme is once light and biting, witty and erudite. Like the Misanthrope, Griboyedov’s Woe to Wit features a man out of sync (and patience) with the shallowness This is a witty play brilliantly translated. It fits nicely with Moliere’s wonderful play the Misanthrope, and Richard Wilbur’s verse translation. Translating a play into rhymes is a tricky proposition that can go wrong in a dozen ways. It requires just the right play and just the right translator. And that’s what Wit to Woe achieves. The rhyme is once light and biting, witty and erudite. Like the Misanthrope, Griboyedov’s Woe to Wit features a man out of sync (and patience) with the shallowness and dishonesty of his society. The characters are vivid and brought to life with a few deft strokes. This is an excellent play, and a classic in Russia theatre and literature. It doesn’t quite achieve the lofty heights of The Misanthrope (bBut how many plays do?), yet is a wonderful work. If you enjoy classic theatre, I highly recommend this play and the outstanding translation by Elizabeth Hulick. The reading is a pleasure. I’d love to see it performed.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ian

    The translation I read tried really hard to capture the rhyming scheme of the original Russian. However, it ended up creating some CLUNKY rhymes that would make Dr. Seuss blush. I'm afraid this one just isn't as good outside of its original language. Either that or a new translation is desperately needed! The translation I read tried really hard to capture the rhyming scheme of the original Russian. However, it ended up creating some CLUNKY rhymes that would make Dr. Seuss blush. I'm afraid this one just isn't as good outside of its original language. Either that or a new translation is desperately needed!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    I do know most of it by heart, it turns out. May be that's partly why it was so delightful to read it again, so many years after school. Chatsky is such a bore! So full of himself. Funny he was supposed to be the good guy when we were taught this at school. This time I just wanted to smash him on the head, or troll him merciless, as Molchalin did. I do know most of it by heart, it turns out. May be that's partly why it was so delightful to read it again, so many years after school. Chatsky is such a bore! So full of himself. Funny he was supposed to be the good guy when we were taught this at school. This time I just wanted to smash him on the head, or troll him merciless, as Molchalin did.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Czarny Pies

    Of all the western diplomats killed in Teheran, none has achieved more lasting fame than Aleksandr Griboyedov whose tragic death in 1829 at the hands of a crowd of irate fundamentalists put an end to what might have been a great literary career. Woe from Wit his one surviving work is a sad reminder of what might have been. Woe from Wit is fabulous satirical comedy about Russian high society that should raise many smiles as it successfully mocks hypocrisy, greed, and pretention with a brio compara Of all the western diplomats killed in Teheran, none has achieved more lasting fame than Aleksandr Griboyedov whose tragic death in 1829 at the hands of a crowd of irate fundamentalists put an end to what might have been a great literary career. Woe from Wit his one surviving work is a sad reminder of what might have been. Woe from Wit is fabulous satirical comedy about Russian high society that should raise many smiles as it successfully mocks hypocrisy, greed, and pretention with a brio comparable to that of Molière. The play was banned by the Imperial censor possibly because some of the characters seemed to be modelled on real individuals in position of power. The more likely reason for the ban was that Griboyedov was known to have frequented the Decembrists which made the censor uneasy with an otherwise politically anodyne text. The fact that his play had been censored did not prevent the Czar from naming him Ambassador to Persia 18 months later which proved to have more serious consequences than the ban on the publication and performance on his play. The one problem is that to fully enjoy Woe from Wit, one needs to be reasonably well-versed in the history and politics of Imperial Russia. If for example you do not know who the Decembrists were, there is a strong chance that much of this play will go over your head. This work is clearly for someone who has already read several works by Tolstoy, Chekov, Dostoevsky and Pushkin as well as a solid survey history of nineteenth century Russia.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Gary Patella

    I read this play as a result of the many allusions made to it in Dostoevsky's "The Idiot." I found the play to be quite amusing, with a number of interesting characters. At several points I was audibly laughing while reading. Although it is a play, it has the same type of feel as many Russian novels. I highly recommend reading it. The only two downfalls: 1) There are a lot of characters, some of which seem superfluous 2) The play ends a bit flat I read this play as a result of the many allusions made to it in Dostoevsky's "The Idiot." I found the play to be quite amusing, with a number of interesting characters. At several points I was audibly laughing while reading. Although it is a play, it has the same type of feel as many Russian novels. I highly recommend reading it. The only two downfalls: 1) There are a lot of characters, some of which seem superfluous 2) The play ends a bit flat

  15. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    “A sharp critique of Russian values. Half of the lines are destined to become aphorisms.” - Pushkin Great works of art invariably reveal truths about a specific era, while at the same time containing elements of universality. That’s true of Alexander Griboedov’s ‘Woe From Wit,’ a play written in 1824 but under the scrutiny and cuts of censors for decades afterwards, since it criticizes Russian society from the point of view of an intelligent but disaffected young man. I’ve seen it referenced many “A sharp critique of Russian values. Half of the lines are destined to become aphorisms.” - Pushkin Great works of art invariably reveal truths about a specific era, while at the same time containing elements of universality. That’s true of Alexander Griboedov’s ‘Woe From Wit,’ a play written in 1824 but under the scrutiny and cuts of censors for decades afterwards, since it criticizes Russian society from the point of view of an intelligent but disaffected young man. I’ve seen it referenced many times while reading 19th century Russian literature, and am glad I was able to track it down. The writing is as clean as Pushkin’s, there are little bits of bawdiness and humor, and the characters are all well drawn. When the younger generation longs for drastic reforms to the system, it sets itself up in opposition to the older generation; that’s true in today’s time, and it was true in Russia in the 1820’s. The play fiercely criticizes the shallowness of Moscow society, the worship of French culture, the system of serfdom, censorship, and government posts awarded by nepotism or from applicants being obsequious instead of qualified. Most of all it criticizes anti-intellectualism, as one of the older men puts it “The plague is this incessant reading/and new learning – God knows where it’s leading:/the whole world’s mad: people, movements, thinking.” Like Pushkin, Griboedov was aware of the Decembrists and narrowly avoided a closer association and harsher punishment. His protagonist says things like this in the play: “The composite Grumbler, hoarsely and off-key, Singing one tune only: How it used to be, Failing to observe about himself, That he is old and sitting on the shelf. Show us these great men, where do they keep state, These fathers of our country we’re to emulate? Are these the robber barons, profiteers, and crooks Protected from the law by friend and relative, Whose money flows like water through a sieve To furnish palaces, import French cooks, Worshipped by their clientele in exile, Who hope to see, never mind how vile, The old regime restored?....” I think of these lines as applying to today’s America, and you can also see it in the fate of an intelligent man who is declared crazy by people gossiping lies. In Russia, Pyotr Chaadayev was declared insane in 1836 for his progressive views, life imitating art in a frightening way. It’s also apparently the source of roughly 60 Russian phrases/idioms (e.g. A судьи кто? Who are the judges?), but as someone who sadly can’t speak Russian, another who does would have to comment on how prevalent those still are. Regardless, it’s clear the author and play should be better known outside of Russia. Griboedov’s personal story is fascinating and includes serving most of his adult life as diplomatic emissary to Persia and being massacred with three dozen of his colleagues in Teheran when he was 39, a life tragically cut short just as Pushkin’s and Lermontov’s were.

  16. 4 out of 5

    April Gray

    I admit, I was not expecting to enjoy this as much as I did. I credit that not only to Griboedov's writing, but also to Hulick's marvelous translation- I can't imagine it was easy to translate a play in verse, but to make it flow as this does is remarkable. Before I get to the play, let me say that the reader should absolutely read the introduction and the translator's note before reading the play- I know, many people skip these things, but in this case, don't skip it. Knowing the historical and I admit, I was not expecting to enjoy this as much as I did. I credit that not only to Griboedov's writing, but also to Hulick's marvelous translation- I can't imagine it was easy to translate a play in verse, but to make it flow as this does is remarkable. Before I get to the play, let me say that the reader should absolutely read the introduction and the translator's note before reading the play- I know, many people skip these things, but in this case, don't skip it. Knowing the historical and cultural context is important here, and the explanation of many bits of dialogue adds to the understanding of what's going on, as well as the reader's enjoyment. As someone who has skipped many introductions, let me say I'm so glad I didn't this time! Now, for the play itself: no synopsis here, you can read the publisher blurb, and I don't want to spoil the fun of jumping into this without too much to go on. I'll say the dialogue was witty, biting, and delightful- I'd swear Griboedov was channeling Jane Austen, the lines were that chewy and delicious! There's a lot of scathing commentary on the lickspittle (I learned a new word!) fawning of Russian aristocracy for anyone above them who can be used to better one's position, some fun with a rumor mill, a love quadrangle, and discussion of revolutionary ideas that seem tame to today's reader, but managed to get the play banned in Russia for 40 years. If you are interested in Russian literature at all, or if you just like cracking good plays with snarky dialogue, do yourself a favor and read this! #WoefromWit #NetGalley

  17. 5 out of 5

    Shannon I The Hargreaves Bookery

    I appreciated the introduction and note from the translator in the beginning of Woe from Wit. As a lover of history, I enjoyed learning about Alexander Griboyedov. I don’t know much about Russian history, thus, it helped me understand this satire’s context. The play was fast-paced and at times poetically fluid (which shows the artistic abilities of their translator too!). I particularly enjoyed the interchanges between Chatsky and Sophie. My romantic heart wanted to see them together. Afterall, I appreciated the introduction and note from the translator in the beginning of Woe from Wit. As a lover of history, I enjoyed learning about Alexander Griboyedov. I don’t know much about Russian history, thus, it helped me understand this satire’s context. The play was fast-paced and at times poetically fluid (which shows the artistic abilities of their translator too!). I particularly enjoyed the interchanges between Chatsky and Sophie. My romantic heart wanted to see them together. Afterall, they were young lovers. Throughout the scenes, the reader will notice the hypocrisy within the Russian aristocratic society. They, the aristocratic characters, claimed that Chatsky had lost his mind, a rumor sparked by Sophie. When, in fact, Chatsky is the only one who appears sane and intelligent. All the other characters are too closed-minded and narcissistic. They only care about high-society, and keeping their traditions the same (not wanting others to read books and get an education...insane!). This book has definitely incited a personal interest in Russian history for me. I hope it does for you too!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Shannon I The Hargreaves Bookery

    I appreciated the introduction and note from the translator in the beginning of Woe from Wit. As a lover of history, I enjoyed learning about Alexander Griboyedov. I don’t know much about Russian history, thus, it helped me understand this satire’s context. The play was fast-paced and at times poetically fluid (which shows the artistic abilities of their translator too!). I particularly enjoyed the interchanges between Chatsky and Sophie. My romantic heart wanted to see them together. Afterall, I appreciated the introduction and note from the translator in the beginning of Woe from Wit. As a lover of history, I enjoyed learning about Alexander Griboyedov. I don’t know much about Russian history, thus, it helped me understand this satire’s context. The play was fast-paced and at times poetically fluid (which shows the artistic abilities of their translator too!). I particularly enjoyed the interchanges between Chatsky and Sophie. My romantic heart wanted to see them together. Afterall, they were young lovers. Throughout the scenes, the reader will notice the hypocrisy within the Russian aristocratic society. They, the aristocratic characters, claimed that Chatsky had lost his mind, a rumor sparked by Sophie. When, in fact, Chatsky is the only one who appears sane and intelligent. All the other characters are too closed-minded and narcissistic. They only care about high-society, and keeping their traditions the same (not wanting others to read books and get an education...insane!). This book has definitely incited a personal interest in Russian history for me. I hope it does for you too!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Zöe Yu

    This was a pleasant read. First of all, reading plays that are translated from Russian is not a common thing for me. I went directly to the content, (reading the introduction or translator's note at last in the hope of not getting influenced by their opinions). The language has been beautifully translated, a thorough and nice job from the translator. Although I don't read any Russian, but the English verses are so beautiful and rhyming, I could imagine the play on the stage simultaneously. Back This was a pleasant read. First of all, reading plays that are translated from Russian is not a common thing for me. I went directly to the content, (reading the introduction or translator's note at last in the hope of not getting influenced by their opinions). The language has been beautifully translated, a thorough and nice job from the translator. Although I don't read any Russian, but the English verses are so beautiful and rhyming, I could imagine the play on the stage simultaneously. Back to the translator's note, of course, there is explanation of how carefully words are chosen, rhymes are retained in various forms, and so on. Just for choosing the Title, the translator quoted Nabokov's suggestion etc., it was an insightful job. The play and story itself is ok, I expected more conflicts, but I still enjoyed reading the witty monologues. It shines the Russian high society wording and echoing a mixture of French, German accent marks, reflecting very well the era. Another point is the "aphorism-like" verses. There are many sentences that could very much be put in nowadays context and echo emotions and ripples. Again, wonderfully translated.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Constantine

    Griboyedov perfectly captures the spirit of the pretentious, wannabe elite society of Moscow and through this the state of the Russian society of his times as well. The satire is sometimes out at your face and sometimes hidden; it's in the French dialogues and the fake gestures and bows, the rumors and gossip that fly all around the play and even at the fact that society will not accept the truth if they want to see the lie, which happens in Repetilov's case. At some point in the play, Chatsky c Griboyedov perfectly captures the spirit of the pretentious, wannabe elite society of Moscow and through this the state of the Russian society of his times as well. The satire is sometimes out at your face and sometimes hidden; it's in the French dialogues and the fake gestures and bows, the rumors and gossip that fly all around the play and even at the fact that society will not accept the truth if they want to see the lie, which happens in Repetilov's case. At some point in the play, Chatsky criticizes the members of this pretentious society and talks about masculinity, its meaning and the problem of the generation gap of his times. This was a really strong monologue. The love triangle between Sofia, Molchalin and Liza might remind someone of Lope de Vega's 'Dog in the Manger', thought it doesn't get as cheesy. All in all, "Woe from Wit" is a perfect example of Russian classic plays and accurately describes Soviet Union's post-Napoleonic society.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rustam Aliyev

    This story is about a man who distinguished himself from the rest of surrounding him society by being himself rather than attempting to look like the rest of Russians in upper class society during the time of early 19th century. It impressed me with how Griboyedov managed to depict strong and honest personality who is not afraid to show his true nature despite a big pressure from others.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    It's been awhile since I sat down and read a play. I really enjoyed "Woe from Wit," but I would have been entirely lost had I not read the forward. The forward provided the political and cultural background necessary to really track what was happening within the 4 acts. I was actually shocked by how many common phrases could be found within the play. I was happy to receive the early release of this addition because I don't know that I would have otherwise taken the time to give this a read. Over It's been awhile since I sat down and read a play. I really enjoyed "Woe from Wit," but I would have been entirely lost had I not read the forward. The forward provided the political and cultural background necessary to really track what was happening within the 4 acts. I was actually shocked by how many common phrases could be found within the play. I was happy to receive the early release of this addition because I don't know that I would have otherwise taken the time to give this a read. Overall, I really enjoyed it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Pearse Anderson

    I fell asleep reading this a lot of times, and though I loved the third act for its comedy, didn't love the play. Part of that's the point, but still, didn't love it. Excited to talk about the use of French culture and ideas throughout the Russian social class as portrayed in this piece, doe I fell asleep reading this a lot of times, and though I loved the third act for its comedy, didn't love the play. Part of that's the point, but still, didn't love it. Excited to talk about the use of French culture and ideas throughout the Russian social class as portrayed in this piece, doe

  24. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    4/5 stars

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ivan

    A true masterpiece. A lot of phrases are now stable in the Russian language. The plot is very good and the interactions incredibly interesting

  26. 4 out of 5

    Anatoly

    Will need to re-read it later, once I reacquaint myself with more of the Russian language.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gdl68

    funny story i did laugh

  28. 5 out of 5

    Katya

    The general idea of the book and the thought behind Chatsky is very fresh and important, but the romantic line is kinda shit.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

    I enjoyed this quick little witty read. Told in 4 acts, classic social motifs are made fun of, there is a wonderfully shallow cad character, a miss-guide young lady, and a father that has no idea what is going on around him. What more could one ask for from this classical play? I laughed out loud at the satirical take on Post-Napoleanic Moscow and was very surprised that I had not given this play a chance before now. If you want a chuckle-inducing, fast-paced, easy to understand work, then Eliza I enjoyed this quick little witty read. Told in 4 acts, classic social motifs are made fun of, there is a wonderfully shallow cad character, a miss-guide young lady, and a father that has no idea what is going on around him. What more could one ask for from this classical play? I laughed out loud at the satirical take on Post-Napoleanic Moscow and was very surprised that I had not given this play a chance before now. If you want a chuckle-inducing, fast-paced, easy to understand work, then Elizabeth Hulick's translation of Alexander Griboyedov's Woe from Wit is for you. Thank you NetGalley and publisher for the ebook ARC of this title in exchange for my honest review.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Coral

    Inspired by spending too much time with this book.

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