Translation of Nabokov's First Major Work, The Tragedy of Mr Morn (1924), a Five-Act Verse Tragedy

Thomas Karshan (Translator), Anastasia Tolstoy (Translator), Vladimir Nabokov

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Co-authored with Anastasia Tolstoy, this is the first translation into English of Vladimir Nabokov's first major work, the five-act Shakespearean verse-play, The Tragedy of Mister Morn, written by Nabokov in 1923 to 1924. This play was published for the first time in Russian in 1997, in a magazine, and in book-form for the first time in 2008. Tolstoy and Karshan have translated the play's strict pentameter into a loose five-stress line, attempting to achieve a maximum of accuracy to the Russian while producing a convincing English verse-play with persuasively characterised voices; as such they looked closely at Nabokov's own English and tried to replicate his relationship with Shakespeare - in the way that Nabokov sought, in his translation of Pushkin's Eugene Onegin into English, to give a sense of how Pushkin's Russian develops out of his reading of earlier English and French verse. They returned to Shakespeare to find the words and phrases they believed Nabokov was attempting to render in his Russian. In addition, Karshan has written a 5000-word introduction to the volume that sets the play in the context of Nabokov's other works, and offers a series of new interpretations.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages176
ISBN (Print)978-0141196329, 0141196327
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2012

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