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Marian Schwartz

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Marian Schwartz has translated over sixty volumes of Russian classic and contemporary fiction, history, biography, criticism, and fine art. She is the principal English translator of the works of Nina Berberova and translated the New York Times’ bestseller The Last Tsar, by Edvard Radzinsky, as well as classics by Mikhail Bulgakov, Ivan Goncharov, Yuri Olesha, and Mikhail Lermontov. Her most recent book translations are Andrei Gelasimov’s Rachel  (AmazonCrossing), Yuri Mamleyev's The Sublimes (Haute Culture), and Venedikt Erofeev's Walpurgis Night. Her new translation of Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina will be published by Yale University Press in Fall 2014. She is the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts translation fellowships and the 2014 Read Russia Prize for Best Translation of Contemporary Russian Literature and is a past president of the American Literary Translators Association.



Ethan Alexander Perets Reviews "Walpurgis Night"

Walpurgis Night coverFor a most thorough and intelligent review of this classic Russian play, read Ethan Alexander Perets's piece on Words Without Borders.   

Walpurgis Night is a burning drink of a play made from equal parts violence and comic relief. Its success almost singularly depends on the skill with which these parts are mixed. Not only must the proportions be accurate, but also the timing of their combination. Likewise, Erofeev focuses not just on what is said, but how dialogue is delivered. In these regards Schwartz's translation is impeccable. Her attention to the brutality of Erofeev's language, his comedic timing, and the sounds of words as they are spoken will likely make the work a classic outside of Russia.

I'm grateful not only for the compliment but also for Perets's analysis of the play and the play in the context of Russian literature, culture, and history.  Hat's off to him for writing a review the way a review should be written.




Read Russia Prize Awarded in Moscow

Read Russia 2014 four prizewinnersI'm thrilled to announce that on September 6, 2014, I was awarded the Read Russia Prize for Contemporary Russian Literature (published after 1990) for my translation of Harlequin's Costume, by Leonid Yuzefovich. To my great pleasure, Natalia Solzhenitsyna awarded me the prize at the ceremony.

The awards ceremony for the Read Russia Prize has taken place on September, 6 within the Read Russia 2014 mbs with Solzhenitsynastately confines of Moscow's Pashkov House, part of the Russian State Library. This biennial event, which is supported by the Moscow Institute of Translation, is designed to honor the best translators working in any language and to facilitate the further translation of Russian literature. It encompasses four categories: Classic Russian Literature, 20th Century Russian Literature (published before 1990), Contemporary Russian Literature (published after 1990), and Poetry. The winner of each category receives a special diploma and a medal, as well as a cash prize of 5,000 euros and a 3,000 euro grant that enables the winner's publishing house to cover the cost of translating another Russian work of their choosing.

Read Russia 2014 sitting with flowers during ceremonyThe nominees for the Contemporary Russian Literature category were Julie Bouvard for her French translation of Eduard Kochergin's "Christened with Crosses," Ives Gauthier for her French translation of Andrei Rubanov's "A Successful Life," Nicoletta Marcialis for her Italian translation of Zakhar Prilepin's "Sin," Ljubinka Milincic for her Serbian translation of Georgy Vladimov's "The General and His Army," Ewa Rojewska-Olejarczuk for her Polish translation of Viktor Pelevin's "T," and Marian Schwartz for her English translation of Leonid Yuzefovich's "Harlequin's Costume." The winner was Marian Schwartz, who was emotional and grateful as she accepted her award.

 I sincerely hope that this prize will bring Yuzefovich the recognition he is due and lead to English translations of more of his work.



"Harlequin's Costume" Makes Read Russia's Short List

harlequins costumeI'm very pleased to announce that my translation of Leonid Yuzefovich's Harlequin's Costume , a detective novel set in St. Petersburg in the second half of the nineteenth century, has been put on the short list for Read Russia's prize for contemporary (post-1990) Russian fiction.  The novel is the first in a trilogy--based on a real-life figure, Chief Inspector Ivan Putilin--was filmed as an eight-part TV mini-series in 2007.

The winner of all the Read Russia prizes will be announced in Moscow at the closing ceremony of the International Congress of Translators, on Saturday, September 6.


Yale University Press Publishes Venedikt Erofeev's "Walpurgis Night, or the Steps of the Commander"

Walpurgis Night coverYale University Press has just published my new translation of Walpurgis Night, a play by acclaimed Russian writer Venedikt Erofeev, considered a classic in the playwright's homeland.

Erofeev's dark and funny five-act satire of Soviet repression has been called the comic high-water mark of the Brezhnev era. Walpurgis Night dramatizes the outrageous trials of Lev Isakovich Gurevich, an alcoholic half-Jewish dissident poet confined by the state to a hospital for the insane. In "Ward 3"—a microcosm of repressive Soviet society—Gurevich deploys his brilliant wit and ingenuity to bedevil his jailers, defend his fellow inmates, protest his incarceration, and generally create mayhem, which ultimately leads to a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.

Compare and contrast One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.