Articles Tagged ‘Russian classics’

"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.

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.

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.

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