PASTERNAK’S VOICE.

Thanks to Irina Mashinski’s Facebook page, I am able to pass on to you this ten-minute radio interview (in Russian) about the discovery of recordings of Pasternak reciting his verse (very impressively, in that good old-fashioned way that doesn’t try to pretend poetry is the same as prose). If you just want to hear the poet’s voice, here‘s a clip of him reading Август (August; link has original and translation en face), one of the Zhivago poems.
Also, a public service announcement for foreign learners of Russian: the e in Pasternak is pronounced like э (i.e., the preceding t is not palatalized). It was years before I learned this, so I figure it may come as news to others. (And the source of the name, пастернак ‘parsnip,’ is from Latin pastinaca, as of course is parsnip.)

Comments

  1. I now usually call them “parsenakkers”, which has the disadvantage that nobody knows what I’m talking about (they’re rare here anywhere, which doesn’t help) and that I can’t remember the real word in any language, even when I mentally go via Zhivago, Illinois.

  2. From Google translate, pasternak or something very similar seems to be the name in most northern and eastern European languages. They’re quite common in Norway and although I don’t like them much, I enjoy going down to the greengrocer and asking for a couple of pasternaks.

  3. I’d like to have introduced Boris Pasternak to Helmut Kohl and Cubby Broccoli.

  4. Trond Engen says:

    Somebody should warn them that you’re a vegetarian.

  5. And C. T. Onions.

  6. (pronounced “un-EYE-ons”)

  7. I once taught a class in which two of the twenty or so students were named Romaine and Kale – last names both. They didn’t seem to appreciate salad jokes.

  8. AJP Trumpets-from-the-Hindmost: I recall reading that the parsnip was a foremost source of starch in the European diet before the Spaniards brought the potato from South America.

  9. Not to bore you too much after all that spam, but in catalan a pastanaga is a carrot. Go figure.
    And a parsnip is (delightfully) a xirivia.

  10. I recall reading that the parsnip was a foremost source of starch in the European diet before the Spaniards brought the potato from South America.
    Sure it wasn’t the turnip?

  11. The European diet – all the way from Ireland to Russia and from the Sami in the north to the Sicilians in the south? That’s a lot of people eating parsnips. (Or turnips.)

  12. I don’t know much about the traditional diet of either the Sami or the Sicilians. It seems that both parsnips and turnips have been widely cultivated across large stretches of Europe for a long time.
    Citing How the Potato Changed the World’s History, the Wiki entry on parsnips says: “This plant was introduced into the United States by British colonists as a root vegetable but in the mid-nineteenth century, it was replaced as the main source of starch by the potato and consequently was less widely cultivated.”
    This suggests that the parsnip was in earlier times indeed widely consumed in at least some parts of Europe as an important source of starch.

  13. David Marjanović says:

    North of the Alps, basically nothing but Kraut und Rüben, cabbage and parsnips, was known before the Romans arrived.

  14. I’m going to hijack this thread to make an announcement that is (hopefully) of interest to Hattics.
    I have set up a public mailing list, hattics@googlegroups.com, as a supplement to this blog. This mailing list has nothing to do with His Hatness, but I intend it to be used by Hattics who would like to have a place other than the comments to discuss Hattish things. This way we get to talk among ourselves between LH posts. Of course, it is not in any way intended to be in competition with LH itself.
    The basic subject matters are the same as at LH, topic drift is encouraged, and anyone may participate who can behave civilly. To help keep down spam, everyone’s first posting will be moderated, but I’m very fast to repost moderated emails (usually within 24 hours) in all the other groups I manage on this policy. (I will of course have Strange Powers, which are like Hattic Powers, only more intense.)
    To subscribe, go to the Google Groups page, or just send a blank email to hattics+subscribe@googlegroups.com from the email account you wish to use (which can be a free account if you don’t want other Hattics to know your personal email address). To post after subscribing, send an email from that account to hattics@googlegroups.com. All postings are archived, and all archives are visible to the public, just as LH posts and comments are. By default, replies will go back to the sender only; use “reply all” to reply to the list as well.
    I hope to see all of you on the hattics list!

  15. North of the Alps, basically nothing but Kraut und Rüben, cabbage and parsnips, was known before the Romans arrived.
    David, you mean as carbohydrate? Or are you saying everyone was vegetarian?

  16. Trond Engen says:

    He’s saying everyone was a vegetable, and a bland one at that!

  17. If anyone will wade through the spam this far…
    Interesting about the parsnip. I had no idea of its role in Europe. In Russia, it was the turnip — the main staple before the potato, which came to Russia late and was regarded with great suspicion for decades.

  18. I have set up a public mailing list, hattics@googlegroups.com, as a supplement to this blog. This mailing list has nothing to do with His Hatness, but I intend it to be used by Hattics who would like to have a place other than the comments to discuss Hattish things. This way we get to talk among ourselves between LH posts. Of course, it is not in any way intended to be in competition with LH itself.
    Excellent idea, and very timely, as I’m going out of town for a couple of days and am shutting down most of the open posts so there will be less spam to delete when I return, so it’s nice to know there will be another place for Hatters to congregate! I’ll join up when I get back.

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