Garnett made Dostoyevsky a household name, and he did the same for her. Ernest Hemingway was one of many who admired her Dostoyevskys, as well as her Tolstoys. “I remember,” he told a friend, “how many times I tried to read War and Peace until I got the Constance Garnett translation.” Not everyone shared his opinion. One critic described her Chekhov as a Victorian death rattle. Nabokov jumped in to damn her versions. But compare his translation of Gogol’s sleighbells in Dead Souls to Garnett’s. Chudnym zvonom zalivayetsya kolokolchik becomes:
Garnett: “The ringing of the bells melts into music.”
Nabokov: “The middle bell trills out in a dream its liquid soliloquy.”Who, do you think, has the tin ear?
Thursday, November 21, 2019
… The Woman Who Brought Dostoevsky and Chekhov to English Readers | Literary Hub. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)