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Korney Chukovsky, The Writer & Translator. Then and Now

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Ksenia Afonina.

Join us for an online two-part talk marking 140th anniversary of Korney Chukovsky, Soviet children’s literature writer and translator.

1/ “Chukovsky, Then and Now” by Dr. Megan Swift, Professor, Germanic and Slavic Studies, University of Victoria in Canada

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.

2/ “Chukovsky as a Theoretician, a Subject, and an Object of Translation” by 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.

The event is free to attend, but we would welcome suggested donations of £5-£10. Please contact us, if you would like to donate

This talk is part of the The Cambridge Russian-Speaking Society (CamRuSS) series.

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