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Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin, Art by Sam Washburn, Arion Press, 75 of 300



Eugene Onegin: A Novel in Verse by Alexander Pushkin

Translated into English by Vladimir Nabokov with the Russian in Cyrillic and Transliteration by Stanislav Shvabrin

Illustrated with a Frontispiece by Stan Washburn Portraying Pushkin and Nabokov

Arion Press, 2018, Limited Edition – 75 of 300

MINT Condition – Still in the Publisher’s Original Packaging

This is a limited edition of “Eugene Onegin: A Novel in Verse” published by the Arion Press in 2018 with a limitation of 300 copies with this being number 75. From the publisher, “Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837) is not only Russia’s greatest poet, but also, to those in a position to judge, the greatest poet since Shakespeare. His novel in verse, Eugene Onegin, stands at the center of Russian literature in a way that nothing else in world literature dominates its tradition. By common consent Pushkin is also the most untranslatable of writers. Dante and Shakespeare have long been admired across linguistic borders, but because Pushkin’s unique harmony of rhyme and reason defies translation, his reputation outside those who knew Russian remained pallid or merely notional for more than a century after his death. His quality did not become apparent to the English-speaking world until Nabokov’s 1964 Eugene Onegin translation and commentary, revised still more stringently in the 1975 version that this edition follows.”

As Brian Boyd declares: “Nabokov would have been thrilled to see this Arion edition, which solves these problems of presentation so elegantly: the English translation with, beside it, the Cyrillic original interlineated with an indented stress-marked transliteration (prepared by Stanislav Shvabrin, the leading scholar of the finer points of Nabokov’s verse), both original and transliteration set in type small enough that their two versions of the line match the placement and numbering of the lines of the translation, so that the eye can easily skip from English to Russian.

“But what difference could a mere typographic arrangement make? In this case, all the difference in the world. It allows Pushkin to leap into sharp focus; it allows Nabokov’s aims in translating the poem as he did to become instantly clear; it allows readers to see the essential modesty and solicitude that drove Nabokov’s method.”

In a tour de force of typography and letterpress printing, Nabokov’s English is presented alongside the original in Cyrillic, accompanied by a transliteration. The paper is Italian mould-made Magnani, the types are Bembo for the English translation, 16 point; Modern 8A for the Cyrillic and transliteration, 12 point; and Ariston script for display in various sizes. The format is folio, 15-5/8 by 11 inches, 256 pages.

The frontispiece reproduces a painting by Stan Washburn, portraying Pushkin and Nabokov side by side. It was painted especially for this edition. The book is sewn by hand with linen thread over linen tapes, with handsewn bands at the head and foot in three colors of silk thread. The cover has a brown goatskin spine with gold foil-stamped titling and tan cloth over boards. The book is housed in a dark brown cloth slipcase with gold gilt titling on the spine.

Accompanying the book is the original prospectus.

The book and slipcase are in MINT condition still in the publisher’s original packaging.

A stock photograph of the book and slipcase as well the frontispiece appears in the photo section of the listing.

About the Arion Press

Since its inception in 1974, the Arion Press has published 118 deluxe limited editions that are breathtaking in their scope and artistry. Combining notable literature illustrated with original artwork from prominent artists, Andrew Hoyem and his team at the Arion Press have carried on the tradition of the livre d’artiste in spectacular fashion. Michael Kimmelman of the New York Times put it best when he wrote, "The Arion Press produces some of the most beautiful limited-edition, hand printed books in the world."