[Ads-l] Request help with Russian passage in ABC book by Leo Tolstoy

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jul 23 17:57:02 EDT 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 Mon, Jul 23, 2018 at 5:09 PM, Cohen, Gerald Leonard <gcohen at mst.edu> wrote:
> I just noticed that I omitted two Russian words from the
>
> translation I sent below. After "Neither," there is
>
> "both illiterate."
>
>
> So the revised translation of the story is:
>
> Two persons on the street found together a book and
>
> began to quarrel about it.  A third one asked:
>
> "Who of you is literate?"
>
> They said: "Neither" {literally: No one]. [We] both are illiterate.
>
> [Then in italics]: Two bald men are fighting for a comb.
>
>
> G. Cohen
> ________________________________
> From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Cohen, Gerald Leonard
> Sent: Sunday, July 22, 2018 7:41 PM
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> Subject: Re: Request help with Russian passage in ABC book by Leo Tolstoy
>
>
>
> Garson,
>
>
> The Russian story says:
>
> Two persons on the street  found together a book and
>
> began to quarrel about it.  A third one asked:
>
> "Who of you is literate?"
>
> They said: "Neither" {literally: No one].
>
> [Then in italics]: Two bald men are fighting for a comb.
>
>
> Gerald Cohen
>
> ________________________________
> From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of ADSGar=
> son O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
> Sent: Sunday, July 22, 2018 6:44 PM
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> Subject: 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=3DNlVgAAAAMAAJ&q=3D%22bald+men%22#v=3Dsni=
> ppet&
>
> [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]
>
> Garson O'Toole
> QuoteInvestigator.com
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

------------------------------------------------------------
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


More information about the Ads-l mailing list