Show Less

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.


Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Philip Ross Bullock Not One of Us? The Paradoxes of Translating Oscar Wilde in the Soviet Union


1 In 1928, as Joseph Stalin launched his policies of collectivization, industri- alization and cultural revolution, Soviet readers were of fered a brief and unexpected opportunity to read a work by an author who had enjoyed enormous popularity before the October Revolution of 1917, but whose reputation had waned during the course of the 1920s. A. I. Deich’s preface to his retranslation of The Ballad of Reading Gaol (his first attempt had been published in 1910) is prescient in its examination of the discourses that would shape Oscar Wilde’s potentially awkward reputation in Soviet Russia. Here, the central paradox rested on the assumption that Wilde, as both an adversary and victim of the hypocrisy of late-Victorian England, could be read through the prism of the Soviet Union’s own antibourgeois ideology: The English bourgeoisie, primly hypocritical, sanctimoniously servile or coldly cruel, was simply waiting for the opportunity to be rid of a member of society who stood head and shoulders above it, whose brilliant paradoxes often sounded like a slap in the face of its age-old traditions.2 1 I should like to thank Stefano Evangelista and Polly Jones for their invaluable advice and criticism during the composition of this essay, and Julian Graf fy for help in obtaining a number of sources. 2 A. Deich, ‘S.33’, in Oskar Uail’d, Ballada ridingskoi tiur’my; trans. A. Deich (Moscow: Ogonek, 1928), 3–8 (5). For the earlier translation see Ballada ridingskoi tiur’my, trans. A. Deich (Kiev: Gong, 1910). Deich’s account of his translations can...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.