Anna Karenina

by Leo Tolstoy

Choice An award-winning author and translator, Bartlett offers a fluid, conversational British English rendition of Anna Karenina. In common with earlier translators (from Constance Garnett to Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky), Bartlett sought to offer a translation that is both idiomatic and faithful to the original--which is the central challenge of translating this, or any, novel. Tolstoy had a penchant for repeated words and long, clause-laden sentences, and translators have sometimes "refined" the prose by deploying synonyms and smoothing out syntax. Bartlett respects Tolstoy's deliberate repetitions. However, where Tolstoy varied adjectives, Bartlett repeats her favorites, especially awful and smart, and she repeats the colloquial phrase "off you go," suggesting a dismissal that is not always indicated in the Russian. More grating is her preference of was over the correct conditional were (as in "it's just as if I was doing homework" [part 6, chapter 3]) and of like over as (as in "and like a hungry animal will pounce on every object it comes across" [part 5, chapter 8]). Pevear and Volokhonsky are more felicitous, preserving Tolstoy's repetitions and offering more nuanced translations where appropriate, with grammatical consistency. Still, this is a solid translation, and Bartlett includes an excellent introduction and indispensable endnotes. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, general readers. --Nancy Tittler, SUNY at Binghamton

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

Choice There have been a few new translations of Anna Karenina in recent years, but Schwartz's rendering honors Tolstoy's well-documented disdain for affectations and the lofty prose that had become pervasive in the Russian literary language of his milieu. In contrast to other iterations that were corrections of Tolstoy's style and thereby disregarded his intent "to bend language to his will, as an instrument of his aesthetic and moral convictions" (to quote the Schwartz), Schwartz's translation embraces Tolstoy's unorthodox use of language and syntax. Previous translations frequently employed synonyms to reduce word and phrase repetition. Schwartz acknowledges that repetition was a literary device Tolstoy brought to bear to grant readers time to reflect on his ideas. She includes other linguistic quirks and adheres to the rhythm of the novel. Compared with other translations, this is devoid of abstraction, passive voice, and embellished phrases with additional adjectives. Many interpret the novel as the story of a romantic heroine who will make extraordinary sacrifices for love, but the present translation demonstrates that the novel also centers on Tolstoy's view of society. Schwartz's masterful approach to translation underscores the importance of preserving the novel's integrity. Summing Up: Essential. All readers. --Rachel Augello Erb, Colorado State University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

Choice An award-winning author and translator, Bartlett offers a fluid, conversational British English rendition of Anna Karenina. In common with earlier translators (from Constance Garnett to Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky), Bartlett sought to offer a translation that is both idiomatic and faithful to the original--which is the central challenge of translating this, or any, novel. Tolstoy had a penchant for repeated words and long, clause-laden sentences, and translators have sometimes "refined" the prose by deploying synonyms and smoothing out syntax. Bartlett respects Tolstoy's deliberate repetitions. However, where Tolstoy varied adjectives, Bartlett repeats her favorites, especially awful and smart, and she repeats the colloquial phrase "off you go," suggesting a dismissal that is not always indicated in the Russian. More grating is her preference of was over the correct conditional were (as in "it's just as if I was doing homework" [part 6, chapter 3]) and of like over as (as in "and like a hungry animal will pounce on every object it comes across" [part 5, chapter 8]). Pevear and Volokhonsky are more felicitous, preserving Tolstoy's repetitions and offering more nuanced translations where appropriate, with grammatical consistency. Still, this is a solid translation, and Bartlett includes an excellent introduction and indispensable endnotes. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, general readers. --Nancy Tittler, SUNY at Binghamton

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

Choice There have been a few new translations of Anna Karenina in recent years, but Schwartz's rendering honors Tolstoy's well-documented disdain for affectations and the lofty prose that had become pervasive in the Russian literary language of his milieu. In contrast to other iterations that were corrections of Tolstoy's style and thereby disregarded his intent "to bend language to his will, as an instrument of his aesthetic and moral convictions" (to quote the Schwartz), Schwartz's translation embraces Tolstoy's unorthodox use of language and syntax. Previous translations frequently employed synonyms to reduce word and phrase repetition. Schwartz acknowledges that repetition was a literary device Tolstoy brought to bear to grant readers time to reflect on his ideas. She includes other linguistic quirks and adheres to the rhythm of the novel. Compared with other translations, this is devoid of abstraction, passive voice, and embellished phrases with additional adjectives. Many interpret the novel as the story of a romantic heroine who will make extraordinary sacrifices for love, but the present translation demonstrates that the novel also centers on Tolstoy's view of society. Schwartz's masterful approach to translation underscores the importance of preserving the novel's integrity. Summing Up: Essential. All readers. --Rachel Augello Erb, Colorado State University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

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