Articles Tagged ‘Anna Karenina’

"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."

"The Business of Retranslating the Classics"

This Friday, November 4, 2016, I'll be delivering the Marilyn Gaddis Rose Lecture for the Literary Division of the American Translators Association on "The Business of Retranslating the Classics," at its annual conference, being held in San Francisco. 

I'll be talking about the specific economics of publishing re-translations of classics that makepublishers eager to produce new translations of classic and near-classic texts and address how, equipped with an understanding of how publishers think, literary translators can navigate the classics to their artistic and economic advantage.

If you are one of the thousands attending this vast conference, I hope to see you at my lecture, as well as at my joint presentation with Rosamund Bartlett on our differing approaches to rendering Tolstoy's prose successfully in English, focusing on the linguistic and stylistic decisions we each took in translating selected characteristic passages.

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.

 

Great Russian literature 'probes the ultimate questions of human life'


Gary Saul Morson, a professor of Slavic literature at Northwestern University, wrote the brilliant introduction to my translation of Anna Karenina and was the featured speaker at the Read Russia awards ceremony this year, where he explained: "Because Everyone Needs a Little Russian Literature." Morson, one of the foremost authorities on Russian literature in the United States, was interviewed by Russia Beyond the Headlines about his love for Tolstoy, the ongoing popularity of the Russian classics and what, if anything, politicans can gain from studying literature.

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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