Hadji Murád Hadji Murád discussion


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Favorite Translation, Anyone?

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message 1: by Luisa (new)

Luisa I am wanting to read both 'Hadji Murad' and 'The Cossacks', but want to make sure I choose a translation that is both animated and - especially - accurate. Can anyone make a recommendation?The Cossacks


Larry Aylmer Maude, who was both friend and devotee of Tolstoy.


message 3: by El (new) - rated it 4 stars

El Gibran Please do not be surprised of numerous tartar words used in this book.


message 4: by Ed (last edited May 24, 2014 12:50PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ed Yeah, agreed with El. Make sure you get a translation with a brief Tartar glossary in the back, because most translations do not translate the Tartar words.

Personally, I'm a big fan of the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation. They're literal in a way most other translations are not, even to the point of making the English a bit stilted. Honestly, it reminds me of what it is like to read a book in another language where you know the mechanics of the language, but not much vocab or idiom, and you read it by yourself, translating with the aid of a dictionary. If you've ever done this, you know your own English translation doesn't really "flow". Their translation is like a more polished version of that. There are times I've come across passages in their translations that sound just terrible to my ear, in English. But when I ask my fiancee, a native speaker of Russian, what the Russian says, it's almost always exactly what they've written (exceptions for translating idiom). They don't clean up the language (much) if it translates into clunky English. They leave it, warts and all.

And so a lot of people bang on about P/V sounding clunky, and I agree. If I were to pull a quote from a Russian novel to show to someone or as an epigraph for something, I'd surely use another translation. But I really appreciate how literal they are, even at the expense of "flow". To each his own, though. Surely other people disagree strongly.


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