I was going to post about Yury Olesha’s great novel Envy, which I just finished reading in Russian, but I got distracted by creating a long Wikipedia article about an unjustly forgotten Russian writer and didn’t finish that either, so I’m just going to refer you to Mark Liberman’s Log post about a site where you can search 43 different stylebooks at once,, and totter off to bed.
Addendum. While I’m at it, I trust everyone knows about OneLook Dictionary Search?


  1. Sorry, I can’t get past the phrase “read it in Russian.” Too stunned.

  2. Hey, what else is a Russian degree good for?

  3. Thanks for the OneLook URL.

  4. I’m eager to hear your answer to Liberman’s question–whether the internal consistency that style guides impose is a “good thing.” I think it’s a fair question; I’m not sure how I’d answer, and I’m in the same line of work as you. The comments on that LL post are rather inane, unfortunately.

  5. Yes, I think it’s a good thing, but that’s not something that can be proven logically to the satisfaction of everyone. It’s more like a preference for Mozart over Puccini.

  6. marie-lucie says

    I am afraid I am one of the inane commenters on that LLog post.

  7. Nice analogy, Hat. How could anyone disagree with such a statement? Yet how could anyone make the case for it? (I’m tempted to make some tortured pun involving “pace Puccini fans.” What’s stopping me isn’t the indisputable fact that it isn’t funny or clever, or that many people don’t pronounce “pace” in the right way for this pun to work, but that the geminate “cc” lessens the pun–not that I’m capable of saying “Puccini” that way, or that I would even if I could.)
    Don’t worry; you didn’t contribute to the inanity.

  8. Sigh. Then you can read my favorite novel in the original.

  9. OK, I’ll bite: what’s your favorite novel?

  10. many people don’t pronounce “pace” in the right way

  11. Ah yes, now I remember the pace discussion. How quickly they forget. And by “they” I mean “I.” I fear, though, Hat, that your quotation distorts my meaning (the result, I presume, of my sentence being unclear); I meant “the right way for this pun to work.” I would never favor one pronunciation like that; I’d even give “mischevious” a pass (the pronunciation, not the spelling).

  12. Whew!

  13. To me “pace” in that usage seems like a word which is never used in speech except when citing or discussing some specific text in which it occurs. I literally cannot imagine someone using it in speech except with a written antecedent. I may be wrong, but then I’d retreat to saying that anyone who used that word in ordinary speech would be a very, very special kind of person.

  14. Well, I was going to post a clue, and then I was afraid it might be misinterpreted, but here it is:
    the sticky little leaves. (Note: if I read this in a bad translation, this clue may not help you.)

  15. John Emerson–
    I quite agree; anyone who says “pace” without smirking deserves a pace in punem. (For best results, apply apocope.)
    Aha! That’d be The Brothers K by David James Duncan. Almost.

  16. Ah, yes, the Brothers K, one of my favorites as well. It’s sitting on my shelf in the original, but I’m saving that one to read as a special treat.

  17. And “sticky little leaves” is a perfectly fine translation of клейкие листочки.

  18. Pevear & Volokhonsky have a footnote that says that “sticky little leaves” is from a Pushkin poem “Chill Winds Still Blow”.
    (I’m halfway thru the Brothers Karamazov right now, please don’t spoil anything.)

  19. Yes, this web page quotes the poem, adding “The trite poetic image ‘sticky little leaves’ was still fresh in 1828” when Pushkin coined it (Давно стершийся поэтический образ – «клейкие листочки» – в 1828 году был свежим).

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