Publication details [#8351]

Oustinoff, Michaël. 2004. Vladimir Nabokov ou pourquoi se retraduire? [Vladimir Nabokov or why retranslating?] In Bensimon, Paul and Didier Coupaye, eds. Pourquoi donc retraduire? [Why retranslate?] Special issue of Palimpsestes 15: 169–186.
Publication type
Article in Special issue
Publication language
Source language
Target language
Person as a subject


Translation plays a major, yet usually role in the works of Vladimir Nabokov. His self-translations from the Russian are mostly authorial versions of translations which he first asked other translators to do as literally as they could. Self-translation and retranslation are the two sides of the same coin in that instance. Nabokov did not resort to that approach when he translated himself from English into Russian, a case in point being Lolita. It would be tempting to link this discrepancy between the English and Russian self-translations to his greater command of the Russian language, in which he wrote his first works and which supposedly enabled to do without an intermediary translation. This is a simplistic viewpoint which must be replaced by an interpretation focusing on the issue of the poetics of translation so as to take into account the underlying pattern that runs through Nabokov’s works.
Source : Based on abstract in journal