Season 2 Episode 34: Elisabeth on The Eugene Onegin Challenge Part 2

Welcome to Tea, Toast and Trivia.

Thank you for listening in.

Alexander Pushkin by Orest Kiprensky (Public Domain)

Elisabeth Van Der Meer from the extraordinary blog, A Russian Affair, has once again joined me from Finland, the far distance of 7,514 km from Vancouver.  Elisabeth promised to come back and talk about the  “The Eugene Onegin Challenge” which is happening on her blog, A Russian Affair

As you know, I have taken up the challenge and am reading Alexander Pushkin’s masterpiece, Eugene Onegin, which he wrote over the course of eight years. The adventure is underway.

So, put the kettle on and add to this exciting conversation. I am your host Rebecca Budd and I am looking forward to sharing this moment with you.

A Russian Affair, Elisabeth Van Der Meer

“With this challenge I hope to add something extra to your reading experience that will make it more interesting, intense, attentive, and (even more) enjoyable. I will be eating, dreaming, thinking, hearing Eugene Onegin for the next four months and I can’t wait to find out what the end result will be!”

Elisabeth Van Der Meer

Klausbernd Vollmar on Ugliness Tea. Toast. & Trivia.

S3 E8: Klausbernd Vollmar on Ugliness Welcome to Tea Toast & Trivia. Thank you for listening in. I am travelling over 7,500 kilometers to Cley-Next-The-Sea, an idyllic artists’ village situated on the River Glaven in Norfolk, England. I am meeting up once again with my dear blogger friend, and professional author, Klausbernd Vollmar, who is an authority on colour theory and in the language of symbols in dreams and art.   In our last podcast, we explored the idea of beauty. Klausbernd has come back for another riveting conversation on the concept of “ugly” and ugliness. This promises to be an extraordinary discussion. So, put the kettle on and add to your thoughts on Tea Toast & Trivia. Klausbernd Vollmar graduated with a (MA) in German and Nordic literature, philosophy, geology, and linguistics at the University of Bochum/Germany. In Finland and Germany, he worked as assistant professor specializing in symbol systems. Winning a postgraduate scholarship by the Canada Council, he came to Canada and worked for four years as lecturer at the McGill University, Montreal. He was an editor of several magazines in Germany, Canada, and Greece. Klausbernd studied and graduated in general and clinical psychology at the Ruhr-University/Germany. Working in Germany and England in a private practice, his writing specialized on colour and symbolism.  His website is Thank you, Klausbernd, for sharing your knowledge on ugliness and how it influences our lives an choices.  I appreciate our friendship that has evolved over the past years and the many conversations that are yet to come. You continue to inspire me and foster a compassionate community spirit. Dear listeners, thank you for joining Klausbernd and me on Tea Toast & Trivia. I know you will enjoy following the extraordinary adventures of The Fab Four of Cley – Klausbernd, Hanne, Siri and Selma on their blog, The World According to Dina.  You are only an internet click away from a vibrant discussion that opens new avenues of exploration. Until next time, stay safe, be well.
  1. Klausbernd Vollmar on Ugliness
  2. Paul Andruss Reading Jack Hughes & Thomas the Rhymer
  3. The Trio on the 2021 Book Challenge
  4. Elisabeth Van Der Meer & Dave Astor on Why Should We Read the Books We Do Not Want to Read
  5. Celebrating Robert Burns with Address to a Haggis


  1. Mary Jo Malo says:

    Aside from your “the trio” podcasts, this has to be one of the most wonderful podcasts, ever! I’m truly without words to describe my response but quickly went to edit my review of this novel at Goodreads. Immediately after finishing Eugene Onegin I gave a ‘shout out’ to Elisabeth but also just now added mention of your podcast with her. Thank you, Rebecca for bringing her excellent blog to everyone’s attention. And thank you Elisabeth! I can’t wait for our next book challenge. Perhaps Fathers and Sons since it has some relevant themes to our contemporary situations, e.g., consequences of idealism.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Mary Jo – thank you for your amazing support of The Eugene Onegin Challenge. Very very much appreciated. Elisabeth and I have a conversation planned to discuss the final chapter. In many ways, it is a happily ever after story. I would have never fully appreciated this narrative without Elisabeth as my guide. Her knowledge of Russian Literature is extensive, but her brilliance is found in her understanding of the human condition and her ability to communicate the nuances of the story to listeners/readers. I have an audio version of Fathers and Sons, which is a beginning. I must become more acquainted with Goodreads – it really is a wonderful community. Hugs and more hugs.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Dave Astor says:

    Such an engaging conversation, Rebecca and Elisabeth! An expert podcaster and an expert on “Eugene Onegin” (as well as Russian literature in general) is quite a combination!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you, Dave – your comments are always encouraging and supportive. I would have never read Eugene Onegin if I hadn’t met Elisabeth. She opened a new adventure into Russian Literature. You have reminded me to revisit fiction, which is something that I never thought that would embrace with such vigor. I have gone back to my love of Greek mythology with my current read via Audible: Circe by Madeline Miller. It is a magnificent narrative. We meet kindred spirits along the way that give meaning and joy to our journey. Books have the best adventures!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. What particularly captured my attention in this discussion of Eugene Onegin, as well as the previous one, was Pushkin’s putting himself in the novel. I laughed out loud at the “cliff-hanger” ending of the chapter with, there’s more, but I’m just too tired to tell you right now. I’ve always gotten a kick out of the 19th-century trope of direct address to the “dear reader,’ although I find contemporary metafiction irritating.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I have learned so much from reading Eugene Onegin. I had the audio version and the book version together, which added to the reading experience. There is so much to learn, to explore, to understand in literature. It is a never-ending treasure hunt – so glad that there are kindred spirits along the way to guide me.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s so exciting how each book we read teaches us something new and a subsequent discussion with other readers teaches us even more. It just occured to me to wonder whether a really good reading experience releases endorphins for a “reader’s high”!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Clanmother says:

        You do send me off on the most marvelous research projects. I never thought about whether endorphins were released during reading. I know that I sometimes feel an adrenaline rush so I think you are on to something, Liz. I know that I feel more relaxed and in sync with my surroundings when I read. Let’s keep reading.

        Liked by 1 person

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