Thursday, August 07, 2008

There are worse ways to spend an evening, says the Voice of Experience...

...than sitting on the landing outside one's apartment, smoking a decently mild cigar and drinking a glass or two of a decent Côtes du Rhône, while reading Tristam Shandy in Russian.

Yes, indeed, yesterday I stumbled across a $5.00 used hardback copy of Tristam Shandy, one of my favorite books, in Russian. So I snatched that one up and made my plans for the evening's entertainment.

C. S. Lewis, in one of his letters, describes the experience of reading Tristam Shandy along these lines (quoted from my imprecise memory, alas): it's "like holding a conversation with an escaped lunatic while trying to read a newspaper in a high wind." He should have tried it in Russian; comprehensibility does not increase. ;-)

Okay, I admit that perhaps that last bit has less to do with the novel and rather more to do with my lack of fluency in Russian.

[deep, satisfied sigh] Good old Tristam Shandy...

Pray my Dear, quoth my mother, have you not forgot to wind up the clock?—Good G..! cried my father, making an exclamation, but taking care to moderate his voice at the same time,—Did ever woman, since the creation of the world, interrupt a man with such a silly question? Pray, what was your father saying?—Nothing.


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