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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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Katharine Hodgson Heine and Genre: Iurii Tynianov’s Translations of Heine’s Poetry


The only poet Iurii Tynianov ever translated was Heinrich Heine. Tynianov’s engagement with Heine’s work developed over a number of years, running in parallel with his work as a literary scholar and historical novelist. It resulted in the publication of three volumes of translations, one of which appeared in 1927, the other two in 1934.1 This chapter will look at ways in which Tynianov’s translations, compared with those of earlier translators, produced a Russian Heine who was both close to the original and thor- oughly contemporary. It will also consider the contemporary resonance of Tynianov’s translations, notwithstanding the fact that the historical target of Heine’s satire was nineteenth-century Germany, a hidebound, reaction- ary, hierarchical society dominated by bureaucracy. A significant proportion of the poetry Tynianov translated was drawn from Heine’s satirical work, which had not been particularly well served by previous Russian translators. Not long after the first translations appeared in the 1830s, between 1848 and 1855 there was an all but complete ban on publishing Heine’s work in Russia.2 Once it became possible to pub- lish his work again, the tsarist censorship meant that nineteenth-century 1 Satiry, translated and with an introduction by Iurii Tynianov (Leningrad: Academia, 1927); Germaniia: zimniaia skazka (Leningrad and Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo khudozhestvennoi literatury, 1933); a second edition appeared in 1934; Stikhotvoreniia (Leningrad: Izdatel’stvo pisatelei v Leningrade, 1934). 2 According to German Ritz, in 150 Jahre russische Heine-Übersetzung (Bern: Peter Lang, 1981), 47, the first published Russian translations of Heine’s poetry were by Fedor...

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