Sarah Gear‘s PhD is about translating contemporary Russian literature and its translation into English. She is particularly interested in the differences between the commissioning, translation and reception of novels written by liberal writers and those with nationalist views. Sarah will be researching the extent to which politics affect the commissioning of new translations, while sketching the sociological networks within the translation publishing industry. In three case studies, she will compare Vladimir Sorokin’s Day of the Oprichnik with Zakhar Prilepin’s Sankya; Ludmila Ulitskaya’s Big Green Tent with Mikhail Elizarov’s The Librarian; and Mikhail Shishkin’s Maidenhair with Roman Senchin’s Minus. Using the theories of Pierre Bourdieu and Bruno Latour, Sarah will explore how and why publishers selected these books; who funded their translation; and how they were received in the UK and the US. Ultimately, Sarah will consider what translations can tell us about the receiving culture, as well as their culture of origin. Sarah holds an MA in Translation Studies from the University of Stirling (2019), and a BA (Hons) in French and Russian from the University of Glasgow (2001). She recently wrote her dissertation on the translation of idiolect and place in Savva’s Days, a novel published in 2018 by Grigori Sluzhitel. Sarah has spent time living in Russia, Spain and France, and in the past she has worked as a bookseller, a researcher for Rough Guide travel guides, freelance travel writer, piano teacher, and also as a Tour Director directing tours for American school parties around the UK, France and Spain.
Anna Maslenova finished her BA in Philology (2017) and MA in Comparative Studies (2019) at the Higher School of Economics (Russia); she has also studied Cultural and Intellectual History at the University of Cologne (2019). She focused on Nabokov’s prose, investigating intertextual connections with the work of Goncharov and Tolstoy. Her interest in English literature started with Joseph Conrad and his novel Under Western Eyes. Her current research is devoted to microhistories of mediators between the Russian and English-speaking worlds at the beginning of the 20th century. She aims to study different translators’ intentions and approaches in attempting to make Russian writers comprehensible to Western readers. Her work will throw light on individual translators like Nadine Jarintsov, John Pollen, Marian Fell, and Natalie Duddington, while placing them in the context of contemporary networks promoting Russian literature and culture. She is currently investigating the Anglo-Russian Literary Society and other early 20C networks which supported translation from Russian into English.
Christina Karakepeli has a BA in Greek Philology, specializing in Linguistics, at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (2017). In 2020, she will graduate from her MA in Translation Studies and Interpreting at the Department of English Language and Linguistics at the same university. She first encountered Russian literature through 19th-century writers (Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Turgenev, Gogol) in both Greek and English translation. She has studied Russian for the past ten years. Her PhD will examine the canon of Dostoevsky translations in Greece through three translation eras from 1886 to today. She aims to demonstrate how historical, linguistic and ideological change requires new interpretations of influential works, including re-translations. Russian literature has exerted great influence in Greek literary circles ever since the last decade of the 18th century. Among Russian authors, Dostoevsky’s work may be the most influential, constantly re-translated into Greek since 1886. Of his numerous translators, two stand out for their diametrically opposed ideological views: Aleksandros Papadiamantis, the first translator of Crime and Punishment into Greek (1886), a devout Orthodox Christian and a major Greek novelist in his own right; and Dostoevsky’s most famous Greek translator, Aris Aleksandrou, a Russian-born left intellectual who translated the entirety of his works in the 1950s. His translation remains the most influential as it re-introduced and canonized Dostoevsky as a political thinker rather than a Christian writer. Christina’s PhD will explore connections between these two translators (and their translations), their reception in the Greek literary world, and their enduring influence on Greek re-translations of Dostoevsky up to the present day.