The ONLY existing, very brief, and VERY negative review of Nabokovs 1923 Anya (in an migr journal) was just discovered in 2016 by Galina Glushanok!!  No one wrote about Anya until Karlinsky 1970
 

Attached article in Russian has it text.

I made an English translation of the review, see below.

 

I also found the original online, attached in PDF.

http://kramerius.nkp.cz/kramerius/handle/ABA001/31395884  (djvu)

 

This review was published in a Russian migr journal ܧѧ ܧݧ ٧ ҧ֧ا  (Russkaia shkola za rubezhom [The Russian School Abroad], Prague, 1924, 5-6: 216.

 

Funny but I know the review's author's name, Dr Evgenii Elachich (ӧԧ֧ߧڧ ݧ֧ܧѧߧէӧڧ ݧѧڧ, 1880-1944, a bio attached in Russian); he was a zoologist who emigrated in 1917 to Yugoslavia but before 1917 he published a lot in Russia about Polar fauna, birds, dinosaurs etc., as well as children literature.
 
Victor Fet
 
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"L. Carroll. Anya in Wonderland. Trans. from English. V. Sirin, with ill by. SA Zalshupin. 114 pp. Ed. "Gamayun". Berlin, 1923.


No matter what the pedagogical criticism says, no matter what it states, books like this one will still be written, published and presented to children. Children will read this nonsense, and parents will think and argue that such reading "contributes to the development of children's imagination." Conscious of my complete frustration in this respect, I still want to repeat again and again the arguments which arent new. The Carrolls book appeared in the Russian translation long time ago, and even, I think, in different translations and retellings. It is clearly designed for the bad taste of parents and the indiscrimination of child readers. It is a fairy tale, - but there is nothing poetic or heart-felt in it, which would give an inherent charm to a good fairy tale. This is a long set of insipid and deliberately invented (rather than artistically created), exaggerated, incredible adventures and wonders. The wit lies in the fact that the girl is constantly changing in size, her neck is stretched a few meters, then she becomes very tiny, etc. Many children are very willing to read such and, for them, indisputable nonsense: dancing lobsters with turtles, playing  croquet, as hedgehogs serve as balls and flamingos [as mallets - VF], etc., etc., but who needs it? Is there at least a shadow of benefit from reading such a non-poetic nonsense? I doubt that; but the harm of  such a book, in my opinion, is certain. So, for example, as the transformations of the girl are described, she confuses everything and, recollecting verses, recites:
 
Say, uncle, it's not for nothing.
That you are considered very old,
After all, really, your hair is gray,
And you have grown incredibly fat ...
(page 42), etc., and so on.
 
In another place another "poem" is given:
 
Howl, my beautiful baby,
If you will sneeze - I will beat you,
You [are doing it] on purpose - it's clear ...
Bye-bye
... (page 53), etc.
 
These doubtfully clever remakes are easily remembered, but is it good?
Children are just beginning to get acquainted with poetry, they would need to be taught to feel the beauty of Lermontov's verse, taught to love it, and here an ugly, uneasy parody, a mockery is introduced into the child's head. And again, some will refer to the fact that "children are so willing to read," and seriously believe that in this case this is an argument in favor of this book. It still seems to me that those parents and educators who want to instill in children respect for the book from early childhood, to develop in them good taste, artistic flair and love for their native poetry, would have to save their children from clogging their young brains with such low-quality literature.


Evgenii  Elachich

 

(transl. Victor Fet, 09.06.2017)

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