Reviews for Eugene Onegin : A Novel in Verse

Book News Reviews
Hofstadter, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of G├Ědel, Escher, Bach , provides an extensive preface to his translation of the classic Russian novel in verse. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 May 1999
The first, most famous, and greatest novel in verse is the best known--by Russians--work in Russian literature, Pushkin's Eugene Onegin. Englished many times in this century, here it is again by the author of the 1979 intellectual best-seller Godel Escher Bach, who prefaces his handiwork with a delightful explanation of the novel's verse form, how he came to translate it, his procedure as a basically non-Russian-speaking translator, and his travels, thanks to an American descendant of Pushkin, to the poet's St. Petersburg apartment, in which he translated the novel's last stanza. Pushkin's story of a rich, bored young man who rather offhandedly destroys his chance at love by killing a friend in a duel and alienating his would-be beloved is equally delightful in Hofstadter's sparkling, breezy version that catches the novel's combination of wry, Austenish provincial romance and Byronic irony, digressiveness, and satire. Comedy doesn't come more ultimately tragic, nor tragedy more bitterly comic. Many thanks to Hofstadter for a job well done, just in time for the Pushkin bicentennial. ((Reviewed May 1, 1999)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

Kirkus Reviews 1999 May #1
Eugene Onegin ($22.00; May 1; 224 pp.; 0-465-02093-3). The alarmingly learned mathematician and author of such interdisciplinary marvels as his seminal G del, Escher, Bach moves into new territory with a lively English version of Pushkin s 1831 verse novel: the mock-heroic tale of how its bored Byronic hero (the eponymous Eugene) enchants, then callously rejects the loving Tatyana, and lives to suffer for his caddish behavior. Hofstadter employs the demanding original rhyme scheme (ABABCCDDEFFEGG: a hybrid of the sonnet and the couplet), devising dozens of ingenious rhymes and recounts his delighted immersion in Pushkin and the Russian language, in a beguiling Preface that s almost as much fun as the immortal Eugene Onegin itself. A masterly performance, and a thoroughly charming book. Copyright 1999 Kirkus Reviews