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Author: Valentina S. Sergeeva
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Candidate of Philological Sciences, Senior Research Assistant at the Department of Literary Theory at the Gorky Institute of World Literature RAS, translator (Moscow).

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For citation:

Sergeeva V.S. The Epigraph “from an N.A. Nekrasov’s Poem” in Some English Translations of Notes from the Underground. Dostoevsky and World Culture. Philological journal, 2020, No. 2(10), pp. 170-196.

Issue: 2020 № 2(10)
Department: DOSTOEVSKY: TRANSLATION PROBLEMS
Pages: 170-196
DOI: 10.22455/2619-0311-2020-2-170-196
UDK: 82+821.161.1+811.11+81`25
BBK: 83+83.3(2=411.2)+ 81.432.1+81.1
Keywords: Dostoevsky, Notes from the Underground, translation theory, Nekrasov, commentary, reception, Russian literature in the West.
Abstract: The article deals with the problems of literary translation, particularly with the translation of the poetic fragment introducing the second part of Notes from the Underground. It examines some English translations dated between 1913 and 2014; the analysis concentrates on their faithfulness to the Russian original (its strophic and rhythmic structure, artistic and stylistic features) and the appearance that Dostoevsky gave to the fragment (fragmentariness, attribution). It also concentrates on the accompanying commentary if present, considering the additional difficulty in front of the translator: for the English-speaking reader the epigraph “from N.A. Nekrasov’s poem” is taken from an unknown composition, not presenting any kind of allusion. The article traces a tendency from poems written by the translator and rendering rather the spirit than the letter of the original, according to the translator’s interpretation, to variants that allow the readers to have a closer look at the original text. It is stated that the commentary, on one side, promotes the understanding of a piece of work created in a different era and culture, but, on the other side, it can interfere with the perception by trivializing the meaning and accomplishing the text interpretation instead of the reader  

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