Sunday, December 20, 2009 BARABTARLO. BARABTARLO.

LH quotes a distinguished scholar of Nabokov:

"Помочь общему возрожденію не только словесности, но и вообще русской цивилизаціи могло бы безусловное и массовое отшатываніе рѣшительно отъ всего, произведеннаго совѣтской властью, какъ отшатываются съ отвращеніемъ отъ порчи или заразы, и это едва ли не въ первую очередь относится къ рѣчи, во всѣхъ ея формахъ, въ томъ числѣ и письменной (литературный языкъ — послѣдняя и наименьшая забота).

That a scholar of this caliber could fail to know that the orthographic reform was not in fact Soviet (although the Soviets did carry it on) perhaps shows the degree of his immersion in his subject.

The LH article and discussion not only points to this -- slightly ridiculous for a Soviet-born native speaker -- position of prof. Barabtarlo, but also explains his peculiar name (turns out to be a hyphenation of two Jewish names, Barab-Tarlo).

Another thing that strikes me in Barabtarlo (and the orthographic peculiarity has almost made me forget it) is this:

Помочь общему возрожденію не только словесности, но и вообще русской цивилизаціи ...

 Surely "Russian civilization"  sounds too much like the post-soviet patriotic press (unless he means "civilization in Russia", something the Russian original doesn't seem to support). Next thing to expect is "Russian logic" or "Russian truth"... I know that this view has a long tradition, it's just mildly surprising given whom it comes from; then again, maybe not.

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