Posted on November 12, 2019 at 3:00 PM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Yesterday was not only Veterans Day; it was also the birthday of two significant writers: Kurt Vonnegut and Fyodor Dostoevsky.

The latter author became famous in the English world thanks to a British translator named Constance Garnett — who, in turn, also became a household name in that era, according to an essay by Sara Wheeler.

Garnett also translated the works of Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov, and Ivan Turgenev, for a lifetime total of over seventy Russian works.

In the hundred years or so since Garnett’s translations were published, many other translators have of course tackled these works.

Wheeler argues, though, that Garnett’s preserve a sense of the time and capture the rhythm of the originals better than others.

Whether you care to argue the strength and weaknesses of her work, Wheeler’s piece on Literary Hub is worth checking out if only to admire her subject’s accomplishments and marvel at the particular challenges of Russian.

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