Eugene Onegin

Eugene Onegin Translations and Adaptations of Eugene Onegin

Recognized as one of the greatest works in Russian literature, Eugene Onegin has been translated into a variety of languages and adapted into many different forms.

The translation of the work has proved very difficult due to the strict rhyme scheme of its so-called "Onegin stanza." A famous feud arose between translators Walter Arndt (translation published in 1963) and Vladimir Nabokov (translation published 1964) on this matter, when Nabokov criticized Arndt for betraying Pushkin's poetic sense in order to keep the rhyme and meter. Nabokov himself wrote a scrupulously literal translation, accompanied by a detailed commentary of the novel. Later translations have included those of Charles Johnson (1977), James E. Falen (1995, the one used for this study guide), Douglas Hofstadter (1999), and Stanley Mitchell (2008), all of which preserve the Onegin stanza.

Perhaps the most famous adaptation of the novel is the opera of the same name by Tchaikovsky, which was first performed in 1879. The libretto follows Pushkin's original text closely.

"Onegin" (1999) was a recent film adaption, directed by Martha Fiennes, starring Ralph Fiennes as Onegin, Liv Tyler as Tatiana, and Toby Stephens as Lensky.

Stephen Fry recorded a freely available audiobook based on the Falen translation in 2012.