Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Doctor Zhivago and Possible Conflict of Interest

I finished the new translation of Doctor Zhivago.  It's lovely and lyrical and enjoyable.  I don't always believe the newest translation is best, but this one is excellent.   
I was disconcerted a few weeks ago--even doubted my taste--when Ann Pasternak Slater, Boris Pasternak's niece, attacked the new translation in The Guardian.  It seemed a bit sensational  for a niece to shred Pevear and Volokhonsky's credibility. Possibly it's even conflict of interest.   Other reveiwers may have better qualifications than a relative, because a niece, even when she's a Russian translator, is unlikely to be objective.  
I love both translations.  As I compared them, I decided that I prefer the poeticism of the new Pevear-Volokhnosly translation.  
You can read a good review of the new Doctor Zhivago in the Globe and Mail by Caroline Adderson, an award-winning novelist.


Anonymous said...

I listened to this new translation read aloud by a wonderful British actor. Weeks and weeks of driving to and from GMU it took up.

I have the paperback. Many people might.


Tony S. said...

Who wrote the original translation?

Frisbee said...

Ellen, I'd love to listen to the audiotape of this.

Tony, the original translators in 1958 are Haward and--well, I'm blanking on the second name--but apparently they were well-regarded scholars. I do like their translation very much. Pevear & V are only the second translators of Dr. Z in English. And theirs is good, too. They are very different, however.