[PW] Request help with Russian passage in ABC book by Leo Tolstoy

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com
Mon Jul 23 14:58:25 PDT 2018


Thanks for the great responses on-list and off-list. I will create a
QI entry on this topic soon and acknowledge the respondents.
Garson

On Sun, Jul 22, 2018 at 11:06 PM,  <dillonbook at aol.com> wrote:
> .
>
>
> (1)
> Old orthography, as printed, with line-breaks:
>
> Два человѣка на улицѣ нашли вмѣ-
> стѣ книгу и стали о ней спорить. Тре-
> тій спросилъ: „Кто изъ васъ грамот-
> ный?“ Они сказали: „Никто, оба не-
> грамотные.“ Два плѣшивыхъ за гре-
> бень дерутся.
>
>
> (2)
> Ditto, without line-breaks:
>
> Два человѣка на улицѣ нашли вмѣстѣ книгу и стали о ней спорить. Третій
> спросилъ: „Кто изъ васъ грамотный?“ Они сказали: „Никто, оба неграмотные.“
> Два плѣшивыхъ за гребень дерутся.
>
>
> (3)
> Modern orthography:
>
> Два человека на улице нашли вместе книгу и стали о ней спорить. Третий
> спросил: „Кто из вас грамотный?“ Они сказали: „Никто, оба неграмотные.“ Два
> плешивых за гребень дерутся.
>
> (You can ignore the superscript letters, which have only to do with
> anomalous or unexpected pronunciations. This is, after all, an alphabet book
> or elementary reader.)
>
>
> (4)
> I’m no expert but my translation was
>
>     Two men on the street found a book together and started
>     arguing over it. A third asked, “Which one of you can read?”
>     They said, “Neither, we’re both illiterate.”
>     Two bald men fighting over a comb.
>
> . . . which I wrote before I saw your 1899 translation.
>
>
>
>
>
> Jay
>
> Jay Dillon  Rare Books + Manuscripts
> 45 Ocean Avenue 3C
> Monmouth Beach, New Jersey  07750-1302
> USA
> +732 728 1115
> +908 675 7018 mobile
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>
> To: list <list at project-wombat.org>
> Sent: Sun, Jul 22, 2018 7:50 pm
> Subject: [PW] Request help with Russian passage in ABC book by Leo Tolstoy
>
> Perhaps a list member can provide a translation for a short passage
> that appears in a Russian school book titled Azbuka. I'd also like to
> obtain an accurate version of the Cyrillic text (the OCR text is poor
> quality). The passage mentions bald men fighting over a comb. It
> occurs on page 48 of an ABC book created by Leo Tolstoy and published
> in 1874. Here is a link:
>
> https://archive.org/stream/azbuka00tols#page/48/mode/2up
>
> Here is some background: I've been asked to trace the figurative
> language employed by Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. Here is a
> citation for his remark:
>
> [ref] 1983 February 9, The Miami News, Quote unquote (filler item),
> Quote Page 1, Column 1, Miami, Florida. (Newspapers_com)[/ref]
>
> [Begin excerpt]
> Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges, 83, on the Falklands War: "The
> Falklands thing was a fight between two bald men over a comb."
> [End excerpt]
>
> The ABC book was revised and republished as Novaya Azbuka. Here is a
> citation and excerpt for an English rendition of the pertinent story
> published in 1899:
>
> [ref] 1899 Copyright, The Complete Works of Lyof N. Tolstoi: The Long
> Exile, Master and Man, The Kreutzer Sonata, Dramas, Section: From The
> New Speller (Novaya Azbuka), Story 12: The Book, Start Page 159, Quote
> Page 159 and 160, The Kelmscott Society Publishers, New York. (Google
> Books Full View) link [/ref]
>
> https://books.google.com/books?id=NlVgAAAAMAAJ&q=%22bald+men%22#v=snippet&
>
> [Begin excerpt]
> XII THE BOOK
>
> Two men together found a book in the street, and began to dispute as
> to the ownership of it.
> A third happened along and asked:--
> "Which of you can read?"
> "Neither of us."
> "Then why do you want the book? Your quarrel reminds me of two bald
> men who fought for possession of a comb, when neither had any hair on
> his head."
> [End excerpt]
>
> H. L Mencken referred to the tale in his massive 1942 compendium:
>
> [ref] 1942, A New Dictionary of Quotations on Historical Principles
> from Ancient and Modern Sources, Selected and Edited by H. L. Mencken
> (Henry Louis Mencken), Topic: Futility, Quote Page 441, Alfred A.
> Knopf. New York. (Verified on with hardcopy)[/ref]
>
> [Begin excerpt]
> Two baldhead men are fighting over a comb.
> RUSSIAN SAYING
> [End excerpt]
>
> Here is a link to another Russian version of the tale(scroll down):
> https://www.litmir.me/br/?b=213352
>
> Garson O'Toole
> QuoteInvestigator.com
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