Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Short Stories by Anton Chekhov: Bk. 1: A Tragic Actor and Other Stories (Audio)

Anton Chekhov was a master of the short story. However, he gets poor treatment by the Interwar Period translations of Constance Garnett. I first came to dislike Garnett’s Russian translations while discovering the writings of Fyodor Dostoevsky. The great Russian writers all have very distinctive writing styles and Constance Garnett succeeded in making them sound like Victorian era British novelists. She is known for her very fast, “smoothed over” style of translation in which difficulties in the original are simply dropped from the work. This is simply not the way to get the flavor of the great Russian writers. I can only surmise that the decision to go with the Garnett translation of these stories rested upon the economics of public domain versus newer, licensed translations.