This talk will explore the translation history of Anna Karenina, and the particular role played by Constance Garnett and Louise and Aylmer Maude in establishing Tolstoy’s reputation in the English-speaking world. This will lead to a discussion of some of the novel’s less well-known, but surprisingly revealing aspects, as seen from the grass-roots level of a contemporary translator, and, through a comparison of the fictional Anna with her real-life British contemporary Louise Jopling, a reconsideration of the novel’s relationship to the “woman question” in late 19th-century Russia.
Rosamund Bartlett is a writer, scholar and translator based in Oxford, who specializes in both music history and literature. The author and editor of several books, including Wagner and Russia, Shostakovich in Context, Chekhov: Scenes from a Life, and Tolstoy: A Russian Life, she has also received recognition as a translator, having published two volumes of Chekhov’s stories and the first unexpurgated edition of his letters. Her new translation of Anna Karenina was published by Oxford World’s Classics in 2014.
Formerly Reader in Russian at the University of Durham, she maintains an active scholarly profile, and has lectured on Russian and European cultural history at universities, museums, and public institutions around the world. She has a particular interest in the intersection between politics, history and the arts, and drew on recent research for her 2014 lecture series at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, “From Impressionism to Blast: The Emergence of European Modernism on the Eve of the Great War.” She will follow this up in 2015 with lectures on “World War I and the European Avant-Garde.” She is a Trustee of the Anton Chekhov Foundation, set up to preserve the writer’s house in Yalta, and in 2010 was awarded the Chekhov 150th Anniversary Medal by the Russian government in recognition of her educational and charitable work.