THE HONEY-MOON.

I’m reading Pushkin’s Povesti pokoinogo Ivana Petrovicha Belkina (Tales of the Late Ivan Petrovich Belkin), and towards the end of the first story, Vystrel (The Shot), an aristocrat is recounting an episode from his past and says, “Pyat’ let tomu nazad ya zhenilsya. – Pervyj mesyac, the honey-moon, provel ya zdes’…” (Five years ago I got married. – The first month, the honeymoon, I spent here…) The phrase “the honey-moon” is in English in the original. It’s quite striking to me that a story written in Russian in 1830 would use the English word; I would have thought that if a foreignism were wanted, it would have been the French lune de miel. Is this an idiosyncrasy of Pushkin’s, or does it reflect something about the history of the word or the concept? I will have to look into it further.

Comments

  1. V.V. Vinogradov sheds some light on the phenomenon — http://wordhist.nm.ru/medovij_mesac.html

  2. Excellent detective work – I’m lucky to have such a dedicated crew of readers! For those who don’t read Russian, the linked article (found in MS among Vinogradov’s papers) says that the phrase was just coming into vogue at the time, in both French and English forms, and soon became naturalized in Russian (medovyi mesyats) so that Gogol uses it as a known element of the language. Many thanks, E.!

  3. Interesting! Thanks to both of you for bringing this up.

  4. Ah but it is not a “story written in Russian in 1830″, it is a story written in Russian in 1830 by Alexander Pushkin.

  5. I have read the translated work of Pushkin’s ”
    Tales of Ivan Petrovich Belkin”. I LIKED ‘THE SHOT’ VERY MUCH. I WANTED TO KNOW WHY EACH STROY IS SO DIFFERENT IN (MORAL STAND) FROM THE OHTER. THE POSTMASTER IS MORE TOUCHING AND RAISES SOME INTERESTING MORAL QUESTIONS. I WANTED TO KNOW IF ANY MORAL CHARACTER CAN BE ATTRIBUTED TO SHOT.WHY DID SILVIO RUIN HIS ENTIRE LIFE TO AVENGE SOMEONE WHO HE IS ANYWAY NOT GOING TO SHOOT. WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED TO HIM LATER….

  6. Reminds me that in The Saragossa Manuscript (a Polish movie set in Spain during the Napoleonic wars and earlier) I heard what sounded like the English word nonsense.

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