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“Korney Chukovsky, the writer & translator. Then and Now”. A two-part talk marking Chukovsky’s 140th anniversary
Friday 23 September, 2022, 19:00 - 20:30
Chukovsky, Then and Now with Dr. Megan Swift
Korney Chukovsky created a canon of Soviet children’s literature in the 1920s, but he was also the most popular children’s writer in post-Soviet Russia as late as 2016 with over 2.35 million copies of his works sold in that year alone. This first part of our anniversary talk looks at how Chukovsky has been republished and re-illustrated for his new child (and parent) readers, and how he provides a vital link between two generations divided by the fall of Communism.
Chukovsky as a theoretician, a subject, and an object of translation with Olga Bukhina
Korney Chukovsky is not only a very famous children’s writer known to every child in Russia and beyond; he is not only a famous translator of British children’s and classical literature; he is also one of the first scholars of translation theory in Russia. We will talk about Chukovsky’s ideas of a “high art” of translation; we will see whether his understanding of the translator’s work is outmoded or not. Chukovsky was particularly concerned with the question of accuracy vs. artistry in translation; in his book, he uses multiple examples of what, from his point of view, are good and mediocre translations. We will also talk about Chukovsky’s own translations from English into Russian for children and adults as well as about translations of Chukovsky’s narrative poems for children into English: contemporary translators also need to manoeuvre between the Scylla of accuracy and the Charybdis of artistry.
WHEN: Friday 23 September, 19:00 – 20:30
FEE: Voluntary donation*
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About the speakers
Dr. Megan Swift is a professor of Russian Studies at the University of Victoria in Canada and a specialist in modernist literature, Soviet book art and revolutionary culture. She is the author of the book Picturing the Page, Soviet Illustrated Children’s Literature and Reading Under Lenin and Stalin (published with University of Toronto Press in 2020 and the winner of two book prizes). She is also the editor and a contributing author to the book Revolutionary Aftereffects: Material, Social and Cultural Legacies of 1917 in Russia Today, published by University of Toronto Press in 2022.
Olga Bukhina is a translator, a writer, a children’s books specialist, and an independent scholar based in New York City. She has translated over fifty books from English into Russian, often together with her sister Galina Gimon: young readers’ novels, graphic novels, and picture books as well as historical fiction, non-fiction, and scholarly books. Among the authors are C.S. Lewis, Enid Blyton, Elizabeth Goudge, Philippa Pearce, Philippa Gregory, Carl Sandburg, Louise Fitzhugh, Jane Yolen, Lois Lowry, Meg Rosoff, Jacqueline Kelly, B.J. Novak, Sean Rubin, Brian Gallagher, and Jean Little. Olga has co-authored three children’s books for the Children’s Project of Ludmila Ulitskaya. Olga’s book The Ugly Duckling, Harry Potter, and Others: A Guide to Children’s Books About Orphans was published in Moscow. She writes about children’s literature for various journals, collections, and online publications in Russian and in English. She coauthored, together with Andrea Lanoux and Kelly Herold, Growing Out of Communism: Russian Literature for Children and Teens, 1991–2017 (Brill|Ferdinand Schöningh, 2022). Visit her website for more: www.olgabukhina.com
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