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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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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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