Woe from Wit: A Verse Comedy in Four Acts

Alexander Griboedov (Author) Betsy Hulick (Translator)
& 1 more

Product Details

Columbia University Press
Publish Date
April 14, 2020
5.7 X 1.0 X 8.6 inches | 0.85 pounds
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About the Author

Alexander Griboedov (1795-1829), described by Pushkin as the "cleverest man of his generation," is best known as the author of Woe from Wit. While serving on a diplomatic mission to Persia in the aftermath of the 1826-1828 Russo-Persian War, he was brutally murdered when a mob assaulted the Russian embassy in Tehran.

Betsy Hulick has translated Russian poets and playwrights, including Pushkin and Chekhov, and her translation of Gogol's Inspector General was produced on Broadway.


Certain masterpieces seem to defy translation. Griboedov's scintillating verse comedy of manners, Woe from Wit, is thought to be one of them. Betsy Hulick's translation comes as close to nullifying that notion as any. It is accurate, sprightly, inventive, and eminently playable. She has captured the sharp characterizations and aphoristic dialogue of the original. Her version deserves to be on the same shelf as Richard Wilbur's Tartuffe and the Cyrano of Anthony Burgess.--Laurence Senelick, Tufts University
The picture of Russia reflected in Griboedov's great play in the nineteenth century has been brilliantly realized in Betsy Hulick's twenty-first century translation. This paradoxically contemporary classic, with its far-seeing themes, will be a welcome contribution to the English speaking stage.--Sergei Kakovkin, Honored Artist of the Russian Federation, playwright, director, actor
Finally: an eminently stageable translation of Griboedov's Woe from Wit! The play truly comes to life in English and the dialogue that created so many Russian catchphrases comes through as lively, effortlessly colloquial, and often hilariously funny.--Julia Trubikhina, City University of New York