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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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Brian James Baer Vasilii Zhukovskii, Translator: Accommodating Politics in Early Nineteenth-Centur


y Russia Introduction The current focus on questions of power and authority in Translation and Interpreting Studies and attendant calls for greater activism among trans- lation and interpreting professionals is ref lected in the attention paid to acts of resistance, that is, on the ways translators and interpreters have used their position to critique – in more or less covert forms – the powers that be.1 Because of its reliance on translation, on the one hand, and censor- ship restrictions, on the other, Russia – from the eighteenth century to the Soviet period – of fers a wealth of examples of how translation has functioned as an act of resistance. Such acts involved not only transla- tions themselves but also critical literature on translations and translators, through which emerges a discourse of heroic resistance to fate and, very often, by extension, the regime. Less attention, however, has been paid to those translators who attenuate the political implications of foreign works through a variety of strategies and for a variety of reasons. I will examine 1 See Maria Tymoczko and Edwin Gentzler, eds, Translation and Power (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2002); Mona Baker, Translation and Conf lict: A Narrative Account (London and New York: Routledge, 2006); Maria Tymoczko, Translation, Resistance, Activism (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2010); Julie Boéri and Carol Maier, Translation/Interpreting and Social Activism (Manchester: St Jerome, 2010); and Moria Inghilleri and Sue-Ann Harding, ‘Special Issue: Translation and Violent Conf lict’, The Translator 16.2 (2010). 56 Brian James Baer these strategies...

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