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October 14, 2013
  • “Too often, I feel, we tolerate and even praise translations that never quite settle into an equivalent narrative ‘voice’ in the target language, like an instrument that’s slightly out of key. We assume that all foreign authors write English with an accent, and we silently make allowances for their ‘handicap’ (the way nineteenth-century readers had to accept that Tolstoy, Turgenev and Dostoevsky all wrote fluent Constance Garnett).” Have translations gone from being too smooth to too awkward? There’s a lot to think about in this translation review from Russian Dinosaur. Male authors’ “bemusedly clinical approach to female sexuality, and female behaviour generally,” for instance.
  • I hope everyone has been reading Languagehat recently, on Lermontov, Count Sollogub, and Vel’tman’s “Erotida” and “Orlando Furioso.” And did I already link to this post on Odoevskii? Count me among those now interested in reading Vel’tman, though I haven’t started yet.
  • Barbara Pelc on Dostoevskii’s “The Meek One” (Кроткая, 1876), translated into Polish as “Łagodna” and “Potulna”: “I love the uncertainty, the unsatisfied need it leaves us with.”
  • This post from Nicole Disser is a bit tantalizing (as maybe the round table it describes was), but Robin Feuer Miller is working on a book about “minor characters, animals, children, even insects” in Tolstoi and Dostoevskii.
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