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A Study of the English and the German Translations of Alexander I.- Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago, Volume I

Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago, Volume I


Anatol Bond

The reactions to The Gulag Archipelago, when it finally appeared in the West, were of profound significance, as an historical documentation as well as a work of art. The main objective pursued in the present study was to examine how Solzhenitsyn's work had fared in the translation process. This was felt to be especially important since most of the critical appraisals outside the Soviet Union were, of necessity, based on the translations. Two of these were chosen, not merely because the greatest interest in the work was shown in English and German, but also with the intent to examine it on a comparative basis, looking, among other aspects, at possible difficulties peculiar to one or the other language when translating from Russian.
Contents: The study contains introductory remarks on translation theory, on the aims and methods of both translators, and on the peculiarity of Solzhenitsyn's language. However, the bulk of the work deals with infelicities in content and form, i.e. with total mistranslations, partial inadequacies, problems with transference of aspects such as irony, puns, metaphors, images, and the author's style.