White Nights discussion

Best Brothers Karamzov edition

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message 1: by Pip (new)

Pip Hetherington | 1 comments This message should probably go in the 'Best translations of Dostoevsky' thread but as there had been no action there for a while I wanted to ask particularly about BK.

I have read a fair few of the Penguin Classic Contance Garnett translations of Dostoevsky and though I find Garnett herself a fascinating woman (she was the first translator of Dostoevsky into English, taught herself Russian while pregnant, and travelled alone to Russia to meet Tolstoy in the early 1900s!) I find her prose a bit turgid.

I am about to re-start Brothers Karamazov after attempting it years ago, and don't want to make the mistake of reading a Garnett translation again. Does anyone have any recommendations? Which translations have people read? Does anyone know which is considered the best rendering of Dostoevsky's own style?

message 2: by Steph (new)

Steph Sobota (stephsobota) | 2 comments I,too, tried to read the Garnett translation of BK, but I found myself confused by the meaning of some of her phrasing, and I ended up referring to the original Russian to figure out what some passages meant. And why read a translation if the original is clearer?

I would definitely recommend the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation of BK. It has some quirks to it, perhaps particularly for American readers. (e.g. when the Devil is talking with Ivan, they render Какая тут философия? as "How philosophize?" when it could be "What philosophy?" or something of the sort.) But other than the rare quirks, it is very readable. And it is the English translation, I think, that comes the closest to FMD's style.

And as far as their other translation of Dostoevsky go, I've read Notes from Underground and "Dream of a Ridiculous Man" as well, and thought they were clearer than the other translations I have read. I've read a bit of their Idiot and Demons, and was likewise pleased. (My husband is reading their Crime and Punishment now, so I can't say anything about it yet. When he is through bogarting it, I'll nab it.)

message 3: by Brad (new)

Brad | 4 comments While I don't have the background in russian with with to analyze it as well as Steph has, I can give my experience. I am currently reading the P and V translation of Brothers and find it amazing. I was recommended it by our pastor. I look forward to reading their other translations!


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