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The Art of Accommodation

Literary Translation in Russia


Edited By Leon Burnett and Emily Lygo

This collection of essays is a seminal contribution to the establishment of translation theory within the field of Russian literature and culture. It brings together the work of established academics and younger scholars from the United Kingdom, Russia, the United States, Sweden and France in an area of academic study that has been largely neglected in the Anglophone world. The essays in the volume are linked by the conviction that the introduction of any new text into a host culture should always be considered in conjunction with adjustments to prevailing conventions within that culture. The case studies in the collection, which cover literary translation in Russia from the eighteenth century to the twentieth century, demonstrate how Russian culture has interpreted and accommodated translated texts, and how translators and publishers have used translation as a means of responding to the literary, social and political conditions of their times. In integrating research in the area of translated works more closely into the study of Russian literature and culture generally, this publication represents an important development in current research.


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The editors wish to acknowledge financial assistance from the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies (BASEES) in support of the conference Pushkin’s Post-Horses: Literary Translation in Russian Culture, held at the University of Exeter, on 14–15 April 2008, which brought together many of the contributors to this volume. Research fund- ing from the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies at the University of Essex and the School of Arts, Languages and Literatures at the University of Exeter enabled the publication to proceed to its conclusion. Angela Livingstone was consulted in the course of the preparation of this collection of essays and her helpful comments are gratefully acknowl- edged. Maia Burnett and Karin Littau assisted with particular details of translation, and Ben Pestell with compilation. We thank them also. Some of the material that is included in the chapter on ‘Identity, Canon and Translation: Hamlets by Polevoi and Pasternak’ first appeared in Aleksei Semenenko, Hamlet the Sign: Russian Translations of Hamlet and Literary Canon Formation (Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International, 2007).

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