Publication details [#1613]

Friedberg, Maurice. 1997. Literary translation in Russia: a cultural history. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press. vii + 224 pp.


Friedberg investigates the impact of translation on the Russian literary process. Beginning with Pushkin in the early nineteenth century, he traces the history of translation throughout the lives of Dostoevsky, Tolstoy and Pasternak. His analysis includes two translators who became Russia's leading literary figures: Zhukovsky, whose renditions of German poetry became famous, and Vvedensky, who introduced Charles Dickens to Russia. In the twentieth century, Friedberg points to Pasternak's Faust to show how apolitical authors welcomed free translation, which offered them an alternative to the original writing from which they had been banned by Soviet authorities. Friedberg discusses the usual battles fought between partisans of literalism and of free translation, the influence of Stalinist Soviet government on literary translation, and the political implications of aesthetic clashes. He also considers the impetus of translated Western fiction, poetry, and drama as remaining links to Western civilization during the decades of Russia's isolation from the West.
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