English translation: Are you sure about sexual overtone?
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13:17 Aug 10, 2006
Russian to English translations [PRO] Art/Literary - Poetry & Literature
Russian term or phrase:выстрел
This is from a 19th-century novel and must have some kind of sexual overtone in the context. In a discussion about real shots being fired, speaker A says he didn't hear the shots himself, but his wife did. Speaker B says: то были совсем другие выстрелы, and this is followed by a big laugh by everyone in the bar.
Hello Henry... I wasn't trying to argue that Dostoeyvsky was full of rude jokes... more that the total absence of sexual tension beneath the surface, that one finds in many English novels of the 19th century, is less tangible in the works...
@Kirill - we seem to be on the same wavelength today. Earlier we posted the same answer and reference for "Elman" at exactly the same time - you in a note, me in an answer - and now we've come to the same conclusion on sexual jokes in 19th century Russia
I've never heard about the author, but the Goodle shows he was quite a respectful writer - it means less chance for any sexual connotations. Dan may think different, but at the end of he 19th century Russian literature was as sensitive as Victorian one.
Well, there really is no "passage," just a whole series of short dialogue on whether or not the protagonoist shot a pistol during a melee. Alya, I am not reluctant at all to name the novel, etc., just didn't think anyone would be interested. It's a novel by Nikolai N. Karazin entitled На далёких окраинах published in the 1870s. It is about life in what is today Uzbekistan and was prominently mentioned in a famous and well-respected two-volume work on Central Asia written by the American Consul-General in St. Petersburg in the late 1870s. Be more than happy to send my translation to anyone who is interested. It is a fantastic book, really, well written and full of first-rate historical and ethnographic information. When I was living in Tashkent I was able to trace down many of the local references. One, in particular, was a reference to "Pervushin" wine. I found an old map of Tashkent (1890) and saw marked on the map: "Pervushin winery" and "Dacha of the merchant Pervushin." With that information, the text: "Весъма недурное вино, Первушин." made perfect sense.
On the question, "farting" has got to be the answer, given the context. Have to think a bit how, exactly, to put the whole thing into English.
Мне все же непонятно, почему Вы не хотите назвать автора и произведение. Все романы 19-го века уже были опубликованы. Кроме того, о каком именно периоде идет речь? За 100 лет нормы литературных приличий сместились очень сильно, и в романе 1890-х гг.
Still, anyway, could you please provide the entire passage of the text? I don't doubt you command of Russian, but sometimes old Russian novels are not that easy to understand even for native Russians, so who knows. I doubt it's about sex, frankly.
Alya's right, direct or explicit sexual jokes are not something you may expect from a 19th-century Russian novel. There were some underground rude and highly sexual verses or short stories, but nothing good in those.
@ Daniel - Didn't see your note. Over the last two years I've been reading Tolstoy and Dostoevsky and there hasn't been one joke like this in the thousands of pages I've read. Or am I forgetting something? Sexual energy - sure, but explicit jokes - no
"Через платок" is a great question! A kind of duel when only one pistol was charged with a bullet, so the two people selected a pistol without knowing which one contains the bullet, then they grabbed different sides of a handkerchief, then both shooted.
Yes, "explosions" seems to be on the right track. The little explosions of the pistol with an intended reference to the little explosions of sexual climax. The more I think about it, the more I am convenced this is it. There's not much more context than I have outlined. The argument is whether a person did or did not shoot a pistol. (He didn't.): "Я не слыхал, но моя жена ясно слышала два выстрела." Then the other guy come in, "Но, может, то были совсем другие выстрелы." Then, like I said, everyone breaks out in laughter.
No link. This is from a novel I have translated. Now going over the final edit and trying to clean up a few questions.
Incidentally, had a good time finding out the meaning of a duel "через платок." Ever come across that one?
Hi Henry - why does it seem so unlikely that a 19th century novel would have sexual overtones? not all countries were restricted by Victorian prurience and prudishness, the way that Britain and America were. I am not saying it would have been explicit....
Alexander: it's a fair question... explosion - I am almost 100% certain would have had the same connotations in 19th century as it has today; banging is probably a 20th century colloquialism, which may or may not render it inappropriate for tony's....