Articles Tagged ‘ Tolstoy’

"Anna Karenina" a National Translation Award Finalist

Anna Karenina coverA very good day.

First, my Anna Karenina got shortlistedfor ALTA's National Translation Award,

And then, Svetlana Alexievich won the Nobel Prize.  

Possibly not in that order.

In 2001, I translated a couple of essays by Alexievich for Autodafé: The Journal of the International Parliament of Writers: "Go Where You Shouldn't" and "Enquêtes sur l'amour en Russie (Inquiries into Love in Russia),"  and in 2005, Words Without Borders published my translation of a story of hers, "The Wondrous Deer of the Eternal Hunt," which you can read here.

"Go Where You Shouldn’t."

Anna Karenina Awarded Special Jury Mention

Anna Karenina cover

On Friday, May 29th, at a ceremony the Grolier Club in New York City for the 2015 Read Russia Prize--which was awarded to Oliver Ready for his translation of Vladimir Sharov's novel Before & During, a Special Jury Mention was also awarded to me and Rosamund Bartlett for our respective translations of Anna Karenina, both of which came out in 2014.

The jury wrote:

Why re-translate the classics? It's often said that translations have a life span of 50 years, or that every generation needs its own translation of the classics. Tolstoy's language has not aged for his Russian readers, but the language of his first English translators may now seem dated to the reader in the 21st century. More importantly, our understanding of Tolstoy has changed over the century since his death, as has our idea of what makes for a good translation. Both Rosamund Bartlett and Marian Schwartz have embraced the peculiarities, repetitions, and perceived awkwardness of Tolstoy's style that often transgress all conventions of good English prose. Bartlett writes that her "translation seeks to preserve all the idiosyncrasies of Tolstoy's inimitable style, as far as that is possible," while Schwartz notes that she "found [Tolstoy's] so-called roughness . . . both purposeful and exciting, and was eager to recreate Tolstoy's style in English." True, the two translators go about this in their own ways, and as one might suspect they have their own strengths and biases, but this foregrounding of style is everywhere felt in these new translations.

Ultimately, translation represents an act of interpretation. There is no doubt that these volumes, published so beautifully by excellent university presses, present to the English-language reader two magnificent interpreters of Tolstoy's beloved novel.

Anna Karenina Short-Listed for 2015 Read Russia Prize

Anna Karenina coverI've just learned that my translation of Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina has been short-listed for the 2015 Read Russia Prize!

I'm in stellar company: Oliver Ready, Jamie Rann, Rosamund Bartlett, Katherine Dovlatov, and Peter Daniels, and so is Tolstoy, the other authors represented being Fyodor Dostoevsky, Vladislav Khodasevich, Vladimir Sharov, Sergei Dovlatov, and Anna Starobinets.

The prize will be awarded on Friday, May 29, at the Grolier Club in New York City.

Gary Saul Morson on "The Moral Urgency of Anna Karenina"

In the April issue of Commentary, Professor Gary Saul Morson, who wrote an introduction and notes to my translation of Anna Kareninalooks closely at Tolstoy's great insight into "what is truly important in human lives":

We tend to think that true life is lived at times of high drama. When Anna Karenina reads a novel on the train, she wants to live the exciting incidents described. Both high literature and popular culture foster the delusion that ordinary, prosaic happiness represents something insufferably bourgeois, a suspension of real living. Forms as different as romantic drama, adventure stories, and tragedies suggest that life is truly lived only in moments of great intensity.

Tolstoy thought just the opposite.

Read the rest of the article here.

 

On Translating Tolstoy

Anna Karenina coverOn the occasion of the publication of my new translation of Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, an interview with me for Yale Books Unbound on translating Tolstoy, in which I touch on "the joys and challenges of Tolstoy as well as his lesser-known witty side":

Yale University Press: Anna Karenina is a seminal work in literature. How do you approach translating something like that?

Marian Schwartz: A question straight out of a Marx Brothers movie! The answer, of course, is "very carefully." Every critic, scholar, and reader has an opinion, a pet peeve, a particular passage dear to her heart. Pity the poor translator who crosses one of them.

Along with the Maudes, Garnett—whose translations I do like and who must have been doing something right because she launched the English reader's love affair with Russian literature—was introducing Tolstoy to the English reader for the first time and so did what an author's first translator is often compelled to do: help the reader by writing an English text less challenging than the original Russian. Translators who followed Garnett, including me, benefited from her groundwork. Indeed, my impulse to translate this novel arose wholly from a passion bordering on obsession to take the next step after Garnett—a step translators between us did not take—and confront Tolstoy's aesthetic choices head-on. I wanted to convey the nuances not expressed directly, in so many words, but rather embedded in his aesthetic and stylistic choices.

You can read the rest here.

Soeurette Diehl Frasier Translation Prize from the Texas Institute of Letters

Anna Karenina coverAt their annual banquet last night, the Texas Institute of Letters gave me the Soeurette Diehl Frasier Award for Best Translation for my translation of Anna Karenina. It's a great honor to be recognized by writers this smart, inquisitive, and accomplished. 

Texas, with its large and increasing numbers of readers, writers, and translators from all over the world, is fertile ground for new attention to be brought to international literature. Judging from last night's comments, I can say with certainty that some serious conversations lie ahead.

My thanks once again, to the Institute for Literary Translation in Moscow, a nonprofit organization whose primary goal is the promotion of Russian literature around the world, Without their grant, this book would not have been possible.

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