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Coming soon: a translation of a story by Nadezhda Khvoshchinskaya

June 23, 2021

For the 2021 XIX век Translation Project, I’m going to translate “Свидание” (1879) by Nadezhda Khvoshchinskaya (1822 or 1824–1889). Thanks to Colleen Lucey for suggesting it!

Right now I’m thinking of “A Meeting” as an English title, but I’m not sure, partly because there is a tradition of using The Meeting for a novel by Khvoshchinskaya with a different Russian title (Встреча, 1860). I won’t spoil “A Meeting,” but the word svidanie (‘meeting, date, rendezvous,’ with an etymology that suggests ‘seeing each other’) comes up several times in significantly different contexts, and I’ll try to find a word that fits all of them.

The story was first published in the February 1879 issue of National Annals (pp. 499–550), which had been Nekrasov’s journal until his death in late 1877 (early 1878, new style), but by then was run by Saltykov-Shchedrin and Mikhailovskii. Khvoshchinskaia signed it “V. Krestovsky,” and in the table of contents it was even attributed to “V. Krestovsky (Pseudonym).” I assume this unusual step was taken so Nadezhda Khvoshchinskaya wouldn’t be confused with the male writer Vsevolod Krestovsky (1840–1895), whose career started after she had coincidentally been using his first initial and last name for a while. Even her obituary mentions her by name and then laments the loss of “V. Krestovsky–pseudonym”! This makes it tricky to find Khvoshchinskaya’s works in places like WorldCat (where her stuff is split between two names, and “V. Krestovsky” includes things by two authors), and if any of you are aware of an existing translation of “Свидание” that I failed to find, please let me know.

Some of Khvoshchinskaya’s other works (and those of one of her two writer sisters) are available in English. The Boarding-School Girl (Пансионерка, 1860), translated by Karen Rosneck in 2000, has been discussed by Languagehat, Angus at Mostly About Stories, and Konstantin Zarubin. LH’s post was updated this year to incorporate part of Anne Lounsbery’s interesting reading, so click through even if you read it back in 2017. Angus, by the way, has publicly shared translations from Babel, Lev Tolstoy, Leskov, Chekhov, Boratynsky, and Ogarev.

Putting out a call for untranslated nineteenth-century prose meant that I got to spend the last week reading a bunch of stories that were fascinating and completely unlike each other and that I wouldn’t have thought to seek out on my own. All the nominations were excellent ideas, and I hope to be able to translate more than just this one in the long run. A colleague asked me to share the full list of nominated works on the SEELANGS listserv, and I’ll put it here too:

I hope all of these stories and essays find a translator before long, whether it’s me or someone else! [Update 6/24/21: one already has! Susanne Fusso’s translation of Gogol’s “Rome” appeared in her volume The Nose and Other Stories in September 2020.]

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 24, 2021 4:42 am

    Wonderful! Will look forward to this! 😀

  2. languagehat permalink
    June 26, 2021 7:18 am

    Glad you got to read Сердце и думка!

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