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Durham University

School of Modern Languages & Cultures

Events in Modern Languages & Cultures

Translation & Linguistics Research Group: ‘…our story ends here’: Reflections on re-translating Crime and Punishment, Dr Oliver Ready [St Antony's, Oxford University]

12th December 2012, 12:00, Williams Library, St Chad's College, Durham University

After three years’ work, Oliver Ready recently completed a new translation of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment (1866) for Penguin Classics. Having mostly worked on late-Soviet and contemporary writing as a scholar and translator, he will reflect in this talk on the very different challenge posed by re-translating a classic text. He will confront such questions as: Why re-translate this familiar novel? What are the fundamental arguments in the ‘translation wars’ that have recently engulfed translators of the Russian classics, and of Dostoevsky in particular? What specific difficulties does Crime and Punishment pose to the translator, and what innovations has he brought to his endeavour? Above all, he will try to give an account of the practical experience of living with this text for such an extended period of time, and the ways in which doing so altered his own expectations  and ideas about literary translation.

Oliver Ready is Research Fellow in Russian Society and Culture at St Antony’s College, Oxford, where he is also Director of the Russkiy Mir Programme, organizing events and conferences on cultural themes. Dr Ready wrote his doctoral thesis on the fascination with 'folly' exhibited by Russian writers of the late-Soviet period and has recently published articles on this and related themes in the Slavonic and East European Review and Modern Language Review. He is general editor of the anthology, The Ties of Blood: Russian Literature from the 21st Century (Rossica, 2008). His publications as a literary translator include The Zero Train and The Prussian Bride (Rossica Translation Prize, 2005) by Yuri Buida. He is also Consultant Editor for Russia and East-Central Europe at the TLS.