Nearly 150 years after its writing, Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina continues to offer up new insights to readers and translators alike, discoveries arguably made possible by the passage of time. The novel’s most recent translation, by Marian Schwartz, takes a hard look at Tolstoy as a stylist and how he wielded aesthetics to bring home moral principles. In her talk, Schwartz will argue for a language-centric view of this masterpiece of Russian—and world—literature.
About the speaker:
Marian Schwartz began her career in literary translation in 1978 with her translation of Landmarks, a 1909 collection of essays on the Russian intelligentsia written by some of Russia’s most eminent philosophers of the day. In the nearly four decades since then she has published over seventy-five volumes of fiction and nonfiction—biography, criticism, fine arts, and history. In that time, she has received a number of awards, including the 2014 Read Russia Prize for Best Translation of Contemporary Russian Literature, for her translation of Leonid Yuzefovich’s Harlequin’s Costume and, most recently, the Soeurette Diehl Frasier Award from the Texas Institute of Letters for her translation of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina.
Schwartz studied Russian at Harvard University, Middlebury Russian School, and Leningrad State University and received a Master of Arts in Slavic Languages and Literatures from the University of Texas at Austin in 1975, after which she headed to New York to try her hand at publishing. Two years as an assistant editor for Praeger Publishers led to the freelancer’s life, which she has embraced ever since, including a five-year engagement translating the quarterly Russian Studies in Literature.
In recent years, Schwartz has retranslated several Russian classics—Mikhail Lermontov’s A Hero of Our Time, Yuri Olesha’s Envy, Mikhail Bulgakov’s White Guard, Ivan Goncharov’s Oblomov, and Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina—but remains committed nonetheless to contemporary Russian literature. Current authors include Olga Slavnikova, Andrei Gelasimov, Leonid Yuzefovich, Mikhail Shishkin, and Sergei Kuznetsov; in 2011, AmazonCrossing published her translation of Gelasimov’s Thirst, followed in subsequent years by his The Lying Year, Gods of the Steppe, Rachel, and Into the Thickening Fog.
Schwartz is a past president of the American Literary Translators Association and the recipient of two Translation Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.
For more, go to her website: www.marianschwartz.com