Reading for Sunday 9/11/08

I remember being staggered the first time I read this years ago, and still am – that the Rostovs are heading out to track down one wolf with one hundred and thirty dogs.  Remember, also, that Uncle (their neighbour) comes along as well, and he joins in with his dogs.  (All of this so that the other aristocratic family, the Ilagins, don’t catch the wolf first.)

It’s a completely different world, this wolf-hunting business.  First of all, who knew that aristocratic families had a buffoon?  (At least that’s what my footnotes say.)  I presume it’s similar to the role of a court jester.  Either way, we have an inebriated Count Rostov and a man in drag out helping to track down this wolf.

However, judging by the end of the chapter, the inebriation didn’t help at all . . . One of the differences in translation that can be noticed here is that in the Garnett translation, Daniel calls Count Rostov a rather rude name (which is blanked out but starts with a “B”) but in the Maude, this is toned down to the rather more polite, “Blast you!”  Probably the Pevear/Volkhonsky would be the definitive answer on this one.


3 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 7.4 – The Hunt in Full Flight

  1. This chapter reads almost like a movie script – with its vivid descriptions of the hunt, the conversations, and all the people and animals taking part in it. Two things struck me about this in particular – the fast-paced action, and the ways that everyone seems to relate to each other totally differently here on the hunting field than anywhere else. Semyon, the valet, berates his master in a way that surely he wouldn’t even think to do anywhere else. The whole thing gives a sense that the hunt is steeped in tradition in a way that gives it its own rules, and creates its own world. I suppose it’s a bit like a game of footy in Australia, where suddenly, and for a little while, the usual social mores and hierarchies are set aside, and everyone becomes equal. Well, the blokes, at least.

    And I just loved the description of the old Count, rugged up like a child ready to go for a walk. A then, of course, the absolutely bizarre appearance of Nastasya Ivanovna.

    As for the bleeped out bit, Pevear/Volokhonsky leave it at “You b___ed the wolf”. I looked up my Russian version and it’s really no more enlightening: the line there (transliterated) is “Pro…li volka-to!” “Pro…li” is a past-tense verb with the middle bit left out, but I’ve no idea what the verb is meant to be. I imagine a Russian would! “volka-to” is sort of an emphatic way of saying “the wolf”. That’s the best I can do, I’m afraid.

  2. Now, I know we have new characters to add . . .

    Were I doing animal names, I’d have a field day here, wouldn’t I?

    Attendant – The Old Count’s Attendant

    After listening a few moments in silence, the count and his attendant convinced themselves that the hounds had separated into two packs: the sound of the larger pack, eagerly giving tongue, began to die away in the distance, the other pack rushed by the wood past the count, and it was with this that Daniel’s voice was heard calling ulyulyu.

    Chekmar –

    Beside him was Simon Chekmar, his personal attendant, an old horseman now somewhat stiff in the saddle.

    Girchik –

    “Take the covert at once, for my Girchik says the Ilagins are at Korniki with their hounds.

    Groom –

    She was followed by Petya who always kept close to her, by Michael, a huntsman, and by a groom appointed to look after her.

    Ilagins –

    “Take the covert at once, for my Girchik says the Ilagins are at Korniki with their hounds.

    Ivanova – Nastasya Ivanova (Buffoon) –

    A third person rode up circumspectly through the wood (it was plain that he had had a lesson) and stopped behind the count. This person was a gray-bearded old man in a woman’s cloak, with a tall peaked cap on his head. He was the buffoon, who went by a woman’s name, Nastasya Ivanovna.

    Mitka –

    The count turned and saw on his right Mitka staring at him with eyes starting out of his head, raising his cap and pointing before him to the other side.

    Sidorych – Michael Sidorych –

    She was followed by Petya who always kept close to her, by Michael, a huntsman, and by a groom appointed to look after her.

    – and –

    “The other day when he came out from Mass in full uniform, Michael Sidorych…” Simon did not finish, for on the still air he had distinctly caught the music of the hunt with only two or three hounds giving tongue.

    Simon –

    “With young Count Peter, by the Zharov rank grass,” answered Simon, smiling. “Though she’s a lady, she’s very fond of hunting.”

    Uncle –

    “Good morning, Uncle!” said Nicholas, when the old man drew near.

    (Do we ever know the Uncle’s name?)


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