A few hours ago, the final lines of Eugene Onegin were tweeted out by @onegintweets.
Eighteen months. Almost 900 tweets. Not more than a handful of you who were here from the start. But I appreciate each of you all the more for the intimacy of our party.
@onegintweets began as a reaction to the glaring lack of Onegin on Twitter (at least in English). I don’t speak a word of Russian (OK, a few, but still), and I am a bit of a literature snob. These two factors led me to know from the start that I was in no way someone who could say which translation of Onegin was any better than another.
The goal then was always to share Onegin from a few different perspectives. The versions I chose were not accidental. From Falen (my personal favorite) to Nabokov (one man’s standard and another man’s sacrilege) to Johnson’s sometimes stilted offering to that of Stanley Mitchell (which I came to love more and more in the end), all four of the translations I chose were readily available and highly regarded. I’ve toyed with doing @onegintweets II someday with four new translations, but for now I wanted to move along to phase two.
The homepage and blog you were led to is that new phase, but first I guess it’s as good a time as any to introduce myself.
My name is Stephen McGrath. I am an author who also lives under the handle @mcgrathbooks. I currently live in Washington, DC, and am – no shock here – a massive fan of Pushkin’s. In fact, the first entry of my own blog, Boats Against the Current, was entitled Why Pushkin?.
But wait —
You see, I’ve written this letter many times as @onegintweets wound down, and I fear I’ve still not gotten it right. It always, always becomes a letter about me, and that was never the point of my writing it. I am grateful, most of all, to you who have cared so much about Pushkin with me. Your regular LIKES (and scoldings) have kept this project going to its completion. So I don’t mess it up again, let me say Thank You. From the bottom of my heart, thanks.
I pray this may be only the beginning, but that is always kind of scary. I asked – myself, and to some extent all of you – to stick with @onegintweets until Eugene Onegin was completed. This morning, we all crossed that finish line together. If this time next year, we’re celebrating what this blog has become, lovely. If not, I regret not a thing.
With Deepest Regards,