There’s no real theme to this post; I’m just tying up some loose ends I’d forgotten about. Specifically, a couple of posts to Ephemera that I never boosted here.

866px Horla Apparition

First is a translation that I posted last October of a ghost story, of sorts, by Emilia Pardo Bazán. This is an interesting and ambiguous tale: is the protagonist mad, or possessed? It reminds me a little bit of The Horla, and also a little bit of “The Yellow Wallpaper.” See what you think.

Second is a version of the Snow White fairy tale, in verse, by Aleksandr Pushkin, called (in this version) “The Tale of the Dead Princess and the Seven Knights” (1833). It’s a mix of the traditional Snow White narrative (Aarne-Thompson-Uther tale type 709), with a little bit of “East O’the Sun, West O’the Moon” (Aarne-Thompson-Uther 425 I think? — only in reverse).

TaleOfTheDeadPrincess 2

I found this text at the Multilingual Folk Tale Database. The translator (not credited in the MFTD) is Peter Tempest, and this was originally published in 1973 by Progress/Raduga Publishers, a Soviet publishing house that specialized in translations of Russian works.

I tried to find a version that was more unambigously public domain (or otherwise free to distribute), with no luck. Pushkin’s poetry is apparently undertranslated, at least in English, due to the difficulty of trying to both preserve the meaning and retain something of the meter and rhyming structure. Tempest’s translation seems to be the most common. And it’s everywhere, so….

If you read Russian, you can find the poem on Russian Wikisource. If you have personal or institutional access to JSTOR, there is a 1999 English translation of several Pushkin poems, including this one, by A. D. P. Briggs.

Briggs’ translation seems a little better than Temple’s to me, and is possibly closer to the original, too, judging by what I got when I ran Google Translate on the Russian Wikisource text. So do check that one out, if you can. But if not, Temple’s version is still an interesting read.


Header illustration and illustration for “The Tale of the Dead Princess” by Mikhail Nesterov, for an 1889 edition of The Tale of the Dead Princess and the Seven Knights. Source: Wikimedia.

Illustration for “Exculpation” by William Julian-Damazy and Georges Lemoine, for Le Horla by Guy de Maupassant. Source: Wikimedia.

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