Wednesday, November 7, 2012

“Just take everything and divide it up…” (a quote from “Heart of a Dog” by M. Bulgakov)

There's nothing new under the Sun.  Bulgakov wrote a brilliant, hilarious and poignant, short novel "Heart of a Dog" in 1925.  If you get a chance, read it.  I recommend Mirra Ginsburg's English translation which you can get from  Amazon.  (There's also a great movie “Heart of a Dog” based on the novel.  Again, Amazon has it with English subtitles.)
It's astonishing how true it rings.  Improbable as it may seem, I bet you'll find quite a few similarities between the early 20th century Russia and today’s America.  Sad that we refuse to learn from history.  

Live for the Love of it,
The Happy Amateur


  1. Take everything away from the bosses, then divide it up

    1. Yes, this is one of the existing translations of the phrase, and when I first posted I used it in the title.

      However,Mirra Ginsburg, whose translation of "Heart of a Dog" is very well done, has the line you find in the title of the post now. It is closer to the original.

      Actually, in my opinion, the closest would be: "Just divide it all up." The word "взять" in the Russian "Взять всё и поделить" does not mean "take." "Взять" here is part of an idiomatic expression, it emphasizes a goal, intent, resolution to do something - to divide it all up.

      However, "take from (the rich)" is a very important aspect that is implied, but this is just it - it's implied, read between the lines - and so it should remain in the translation.

      Thank you for your comment. If you get a chance, do read Mirra's translation, I believe you'll enjoy it.