Tuesday, April 13, 2010

War and Peace Liturgical Errata

Since discussion of War and Peace has cropped up in the comment section, I thought I'd share an email exchange I had with Richard Pevear, co-translator (with his wife, Larissa Volokhonsky), of the version I read:
Mr Pevear,

I recently had the great pleasure of reading your recent translation of War and Peace. I noticed a few inaccuracies in your notes regarding Russian Orthodox liturgical matters that I thought I should point out.

Note 24 to Volume III, Part One (p. 1238 in the paperback edition). You write: 'There is a two-week fast period preceding the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul on 29 June.' In fact, the length of this fast is variable, depending on the date of Pascha. The fast begins eight days after Pentecost (i.e., on the day after the Sunday of All Saints), and continues until the date you mention. It does normally last at least two weeks (at least for those following the Old Calendar; for those who follow the New it sometimes disappears altogether), but can last as long as two months when there is an early Pascha. Perhaps you have confused this fast with the other summertime fast, the Dormition Fast, which does in fact always last two weeks.

Note 28 (same volume, part, and page). You write: 'The priest and congregation kneel at vespers while the priest recites three long prayers.' There are, in fact, seven prayers -- although they are grouped into three parts (2-2-3).

Note 4 to Volume IV, Part One (p.4). You write: 'The same words are sung in the eucharistic prayer of the Orthodox liturgy.' I find this wording rather vague. The words you cite are in fact sung by the choir during the anaphora.

I hope you might find these points helpful. I have read nearly all the volumes of Russian literature you've translated into English, as well as some of your theological translations. I have also benefited from your wife's translations of theological literature into Russian. I owe you a great debt of gratitude for the many enjoyable hours I've spent reading your translations.

Please do not hesitate to contact me of I can be of further service.

Dear x,

Thank you for your appreciation of our work, and for your clarifications. I realize that our notes are sometimes vague, but they are meant for the general reader and are necessarily brief.

Yours truly,

Richard Pevear

1 comment:

aaronandbrighid said...

There's an error in a footnote to David Patterson's translation of Tolstoy's Confession that tops these. By way of identifying 'John Chrysostom', he has:

'John Chrysostom (1594-1646) was a Franciscan spiritual leader and writer from France.'