Northern Illinois University Press

Two Worlds, One Art

Literary Translation in Russia and America

Lauren G. Leighton

The sensitivity of Shakespeare's sonnets, the sweeping expanse of Tolstoy's vision, the nuances of Heller's satiric humor ... How can a translation successfully convey the scope of the original? In addressing this question, critics, theorists, and translators in the Russian- and English-speaking worlds have richly contributed to our understanding of the process of translation. However eclectic their systems of translation may be in approach, method, assumption, or discipline, the goals of scholars and practitioners working in Russian and English are comparable.

In this pioneering study of Russian- and Enlgish-language literary translation, Lauren G. Leighton evaluates two radically different worlds—the organized, uniformly defined Soviet school and the free-ranging and often contradictory approaches by individual translators in America—and demonstrates that the study of translation has converged on a worldwide basis in agreement about the art of translation. In-depth discussions of translation theory, criticism, and practice illuminate the methodology of both worlds, with emphasis given to the advances developed by the Soviet school, which until now has remained little known in the West.

In his examination of the constraints and demands encountered in the process of translation, Leighton offers an especially insightful look at the effects of ideology and censorship on Soviet translation and at the advantages and disadvantages of cultural plurality in American translation. Through comparative stylistic analysis of selected Russian and American classics—such as Crime and Punishment, Eugene Onegin, Huckleberry Finn, and The Grapes of Wrath—Leighton reaches significant new conclusions about how two world cultures convey literature in translation.

(1991) 292 pp.
ISBN: 978-0-87580-160-5
cloth $38.50

Table of Contents

Two Worlds, One Art
1. The Soviet School of Translation
2. Common Concerns
3. Translation and Politics
Criticism and Theory
4. Criticism in the Two Worlds
5. Soviet Theory of Translation
6. Theory of Realist Translation
7. Translation, Communication, and Culture
8. Artistic Translation: Vonnegut in Russia
9. Literary Translation: Solzhenitsyn in English
10. On Conveying Colloquial Speech
11. History of Translation: Translation Old and New
12. The Poet as Translator
13. The Poet-Translator
14. Nabokov, Onegin, and Others
15. On Literal Translation
16. On Colloquial Speech
17. On Realia

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ISBN: 978-0-87580-160-5
cloth $38.50