Literary Translation in Russia
Leon Burnett Turgenev and the Translation of the Quixotic
In the middle of the nineteenth century, a literary fund was set up in Russia. The Literary Fund or, to give it its full title, the Society for the Assistance of Indigent Writers and Scholars (Obshchestvo dlia poso- biia nuzhdaiushchimsia literatoram i uchenym) began its activities on 20 November 1859. Two months later, on 22 January 1860, an evening of literary readings took place in St Petersburg under its auspices.1 A number of celebrated writers agreed to participate in the event: Maikov, Polonskii, Benediktov, Markevich, Nekrasov and Turgenev were all there. Turgenev, who was responsible for organizing the gathering, had prepared a lecture especially for the occasion.2 It was entitled ‘Hamlet and Don Quixote’.3 Turgenev’s reading of his paper to the assembled audience and its subsequent publication in the January issue of The Contemporary 1 In the Hall of The Passage. Dates given are New Style. For Old Style subtract twelve days. 2 Maikov read ‘Prigovor’, Polonskii read ‘Naiad’ and ‘Zima’, Benediktov read ‘I nyne’ and ‘Bor’ba’, Markevich read two extracts from Druzhinin’s translation of Richard III and Nekrasov read ‘Blazhen nezlobivnyi poet …’ and ‘Edu li noch’iu po ulitse temnoi’. Turgenev had finished writing his article on 9 January 1860. He gave a further read- ing of his lecture for the Literary Fund in Moscow on 6 February 1860. The other speakers were Ostrovskii, Fet, and Maikov. A third reading for the Literary Fund took place on 6 March 1860 in the Hall in St Petersburg. Ostrovskii, Pisemskii and...
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