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 was 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.
In his blog--the unlight bearableness of translating a really great title--Russell Scott Valentino follows up on his previous post on Masha Gessen's review of the two new translations of Anna Karenina. He begins the post:
My previous post on Masha Gessen's review of the two new Anna Karenina translations, one each by Rosamund Bartlett and Marian Schwartz, attrAK Gessen reviewacted some criticisms. I'll respond in a couple of posts to make each one shorter.
Schwartz AKJohn Cowan comments, "You write as if the translator had no responsibility to the author at all, and it is all one whether the AK translator writes 'All happy families are alike' on the first page, or 'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.'"
I hope this wasn't a widespread impression from my piece. But maybe I wasn't clear enough. A glance at the Weinberger essay I quote from should dispel any lingering doubts, especially where he writes: "Now obviously a translation that is replete with semantical errors is probably a bad translation."Bartlett AK Outside of parodying or otherwise hijacking a text for other purposes, it's hard to imagine a context where switching a Tolstoy line for a Dickens line would be seen as a successful translation strategy.
But why the "probably" in Weinberger's quote? Because "fidelity may be the most overrated of a translation's qualities." It is the easiest thing to get right. Not easy of course, just the easiest.
I'm looking forward to the next installment.
Please join me, Dr. Gary Saul Morson, Frances Hooper Professor of the Arts and Humanities at Northwestern University, and Dr.Tatiana Kuzmic, a Tolstoy scholar and Assistant Professor at the Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies,UT-Austin, for a panel discussion celebrating my new translation of Anna Karenina.
Thursday, March 26, 5:30pm, in the Glickman Conference Center on the UT campus (CLA 1.302B)
SAVE THE DATE!
Thank you to everyone who turned out for my reading of Anna Karenina on Sunday, January 11--all fifty or so of you! It was especially lovely to see so many translator friends in the audience.
BookPeople did a first-rate job of promoting the event and even featured me on their events sign (left).
They had me sign extra copies, so if you couldn't come but want a signed book, drop by the store before they run out!
I'm very excited to remind friends and readers that I'll be reading from and signing my new translation of Anna Karenina on Sunday, July 11, 2015, at BookPeople in Austin.
I love seeing friendly faces and supporting Austin's great independent bookstore.
Looking forward to seeing many of you there!