Guys, can we settle the translation debate right here, right now? Who are the definitive translators of Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and Chekhov? Should I listen to Amazon and just get the P&V translations?
>Dostoyevsky: McDuff, Magarshack, Avsey, MacAndrew
>Tolstoy: Maude and Maude
This is it right here.
For translation of Dostoyevsky that leans toward an 'older' feel, Magarshack is the best. Garnett worked in such a hurried manner that she skipped sections she didn't understand, made mistakes (and didn't correct them), and imposed her own editorial opinions and Victorian values on the texts she worked on. Also her translations all carry her own writing voice as opposed to that of the authors. One modification here is that Ralph Matlaw revised her translation of Brothers Karamazov, preserving her older style while fixing the mistakes she made. For a more modern translation, the other names above are all good for their respective titles.
For Tolstoy, he knew the Maudes personally, worked with them on their translation work, and approved of them personally. There are other occasional translations that may be preferable (Ann Dunnigan's War and Peace, for example), but the Maudes' work should always be a first consideration.
The trouble with Pevear and Volokhonsky is that their method is not as good as it's hyped up to be. Volokhonsky (whose English is poor) produces a very rough English gloss, and Pevear (who hasn't mastered Russian, as a matter of personal pride even) makes it grammatical. Despite appearances, this actually introduces an additional source of error and barrier to effective translation; one major issue with their work is that they often mangle idioms.
I would say that they're slightly easier to read and, personally, they helped me get into Russian literature, and plus the Wordsworth Classics are ridiculously cheap. They're good starting points.
Tolstoy: anthony Briggs for both w&p and AK
Dostoevsky: avesy for the Karamazov brothers, McDuff for crime and punishment.
I would avoid p&v altogether. They are only successful because of marketing. Reddit lovedTake the time and compare multiple translations. Sometimes it doesn't take more than the first sentence to realize one is better than the other.
the correct answer is that it actually doesn't matter for 99.9% of the population, and if you need to ask on what translations are better instead of having the requisite knowledge to make your own decision, then it really doesn't matter for you.
I actually having this on my bookshelf as my next book to read. Having not read C+P yet I'm looking forward to this. I'm also surprised about the lack of coverage its had here on lit.
I've read translations by magarshack, mcduff, avsey, Garnett, p&v and Ready. Some books in more than one translation.
The Oliver ready translation is as good as any. I preferred it to p&v, but could not say which is more accurate since I'm not Russian.
For 90%+ of people, if you read any of the translators I mentioned you will be fine. There is not that much of a difference (the obvious exception being wicked/spiteful in notes).
Is it correct to say that Pevear and Volokhonsky translation really isn't that bad, and is in fact quiet good, yet it isn't obviously the best translation like some of the reviewers claim it is?
I read one version of crime and punishment and completely forgot the translator. Then I read it again and used Pevear and Volokhonsky's translation. The only downside I noticed with it was that the funeral dinner scene was a lot less comical in the P&V translation. I also didn't really like the final dream translation as much.
>Is it correct to say that Pevear and Volokhonsky translation really isn't that bad, and is in fact quiet good, yet it isn't obviously the best translation like some of the reviewers claim it is?
Currently finishing Eugene Onegin.
I think Nabokov's translation is pretty damn good accuracy wise, but you lose the rhyme scheme. Apparently he spent like a decade making it, and wrote 3-4 volumes of annotations to accompany it.
I'd bet on him.
That said, seems like Russian (especially Pushkin) is really fucking hard to translate serviceable
Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf made me want to kill myself. Who's good for that?
Also, though I can't recall who it was right now, but I just threw out a shitty translation of Chaucer's Tales, and I'd like some recommendations on that as well.
Both books had the original text alongside the translation, though, which is a pretty decent feature.