Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-684899dbb8-t7hbd Total loading time: 0.514 Render date: 2022-05-22T08:51:04.344Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true }

27 - Dostoevsky: translator and translated

from PART II - LITERATURE, JOURNALISM, AND LANGUAGES

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 December 2015

Carol Apollonio
Affiliation:
Duke University
Deborah A. Martinsen
Affiliation:
Columbia University, New York
Olga Maiorova
Affiliation:
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Get access

Summary

Dostoevsky as translator

Dostoevsky wrote during a period in which literary translation had taken on new importance in Russia. During the eighteenth century and the first three decades of the nineteenth century, the French language's unique role as a medium of social communication among the upper classes meant that works of French literature were more likely to be read in the original than in Russian translation. Works of other traditions also made their way into Russia via French translations. As Russian readers began to note other literary trends, particularly German Romanticism and the Gothic, translation served as a vehicle for bringing foreign works into Russia, offering new literary models, and conveying information about life abroad. Translator-poets such as Vasily Zhukovsky imported works of German Romantic poetry, and most prose writers tried their hand at translating as well, a practice that enabled them to develop their craft. Moreover, during the 1840s and 1850s, as writing became a profession, translation served as a source of income for young people with literary aspirations.

For Dostoevsky, translation in the 1840s was part of a life-and-literature dynamic involving money problems on one hand and a passion for fiction on the other. The young Dostoevsky was thus not all that different from the mature Dostoevsky, nor from many other writers of his generation. In deciding to resign his commission and devote himself to literature, the young military cartographer devised various translation projects from the French. Since many were translating during this time, eager to earn what small income the activity could provide, it was not unusual for more than one translator to be working on a text at the same time. Dostoevsky's plan to translate George Sand's La Dernière Aldini (1838), for example, came to naught when another translation appeared. To his brother Mikhail, he proposed translating and publishing Eugène Sue's novel Mathilde, ou les Mémoires d'une jeune femme (1841), farming out the novel in three parts to be translated by himself, Mikhail, and Dostoevsky's Academy of Engineers classmate Oskar Patton (28:83; Letters 1:79–80). The project did not lack a predatory element, for the novel had already been translated; the goal seemed to have been to scoop this existing, but not yet published, translation.

Type
Chapter
Information
Dostoevsky in Context , pp. 236 - 243
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2016

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Beliakova, Natalia. Russian “Madness” in English Translation: Reading Dostoevsky's Madmen from the Translator's Point of View. PhD thesis, Binghamton University, 2013.
Benjamin, Walter. “The Task of the Translator.” Trans. Zohn, H., in Venuti, L. (ed.), The Translation Studies Reader. London and New York: Routledge, 2000. 15–25.
Burnett, Leon. “Fedor Dostoevskii 1821–1881.” In Classe, O. (ed.), Encyclopedia of Literary Translation into English, Vol. 1: A–L. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2000. 365–71.
Eliot, Simon. “Books and Their Readers.” In da Sousa Correa, D. (ed.), The Nineteenth-Century Novel: Realisms. New York: Routledge, 2000. 197–228.
Fitzpatrick, Joseph. Russia Englished: Theorizing Translation in the 20th Century. PhD thesis, Duke University, 2008.
France, Peter, ed. The Oxford Guide to Literature in English Translation. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.
Friedberg, Maurice. Literary Translation in Russia. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1997.
Leighton, Lauren G. Two Worlds, One Art: Literary Translation in Russia and America. DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press, 1991.
May, Rachel. The Translator in the Text: On Reading Russian Literature in English. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1994.
Morson, Gary Saul. “The Pevearsion of Russian Literature.” Commentary, July 2010.

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×