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Editado: Ene 5, 2020, 7:31am

I have the following questions about the books of Tolstoy:

1. The Heritage Press books of Tolstoy's War and Peace i've come across are illustrated by Eichenberg, while the LEC books are illustrated by Freedman. With respect to War and Peace, do we also have Heritage Press books illustrated by Freedman and LEC books illustrated by Eichenberg?

2. Both the Heritage Press and LEC books of War and Peace have translations by Louise and Alymer Maude, while the LEC and Heritage Press books of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina use the translation of Constance Garnett. Leaving aside the modern translations of Tolstoy, is there any consensus here about who is the better Tolstoy translator between Garnett and the Maudes?

3. Which is the best available edition of Garnett's translation of War and Peace?

Editado: Ene 5, 2020, 10:10am

I can at least answer #1: The Freedman LEC and Eichenberg/Vassily Verestchagin Heritage War and Peace are unique to those presses. Both did their fair share of exclusives for each press; Freedman did Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre for the Heritage Press, for instance, while Eichenberg did Gulliver's Travels.

I do have a tally of Heritage Press exclusives here:

Fellow devotee SteveJohnson also has a comprehensive spreadsheet documenting ALL of the publications of the LEC and Heritage Press here:

Both are a work in progress, but ought to help deciphering which press published what edition with specific illustrators.

Ene 5, 2020, 11:53am

>1 blue.eyes: here is an article comparing 4 translations. I have read both the Garnett and the Maude translations of War and Peace. I found them equally enjoyable. It is very difficult for the lay reader to determine better translations unless they can read the original language. I have at times compared two different translations of novels and found such comparisons troubling especially when an edition was censored (for example, Eugene Sue’s Mysteries of Paris - Chapman and Hall first English translation).

Editado: Ene 5, 2020, 3:08pm

I concur heartedly with >3 HugoDumas:: if you can't read a foreign language with some degree of fluency, it is nearly impossible to compare the merits of one translation with another. My criteria has always been: how does it sound/read in your own language?

Just superficially comparing the English translations of Anna Karenina I possess, the LEC Garnett (as revised by Bernard Guerney from the Russian text edited and revised by Gustavus Spett) and my Signet Classic paperback from my undergraduate days translated by David Magarshack, I find that the sense of what happens is virtually identical, not only as to action and description of characters and places, but also reflecting Tolstoy's prejudices (for he is not the totally objective observer that some claim him to be).

Without hesitation, I prefer to read him in the Garnett translation, which is clear, cogent and powerful in the choice of words.

I have never read War and Peace in any other version but the Maudes' in the LEC (and Heritage Press) and it is important to remember that their original version had Tolstoy's seal of approval, but even after that the Maudes extensively revised their translation for the 1938 LEC edition (I don't know whether that revised version is the one found in most non-Macy editions, and is definitely not Amy Mandelkar's new revision of the Maude translation published in 2010 which, according to the publishers,"has been revised to bring it fully into line with modern approaches to the text...French passages are restored, Anglicization of Russian names removed, and outmoded expressions updated”). I haven't seen this revision, but putting long passages back in French would be a hindrance to my understanding, plus I am used to the Anglicized names of the characters and do not see that as a deal-breaker anyway, and I did not feel when I read it that any expressions struck me as outmoded.

Editado: Ene 6, 2020, 3:03am

Thanks for the explanations. I am a bit picky about translations, and in the autobiographical 'A Moveable Feast', Ernest Hemingway writes:

"I remember how many times I tried to read War and Peace until I got the Constance Garnett translation."

I read a few online articles criticizing the Garnett translations after which I couldn't help telling myself: 'if she is good enough for Hemingway then she is good enough for you'.

I found it peculiar that LEC/HP would use the Garnett translation for Anna Karenina and the Maude translation for War and Peace since Garnett has also translated War and Peace, and the Maudes have also translated Anna Karenina; and Garnett and the Maudes did their translations of Tolstoy at about the same time.

Editado: Ene 6, 2020, 2:53pm

>5 blue.eyes:

Actually, the general consensus at the time the LEC published War and Peace was that the Maudes' translation was the superior, and that was before they revised it for the LEC. Garnett's translation of Anna was always considered the better translation although it left out 3 chapters of the original manuscript which the then-Czarist government censored, and added certain "simplicities and crudenesses of Garnett's own"--this from the Monthly Letter. The LEC had Bernard Guerney edit the Garnett translation to correct what were considered faults and the 3 missing chapters were translated from the original by Anatol Lunacharsky and Gustavus Spett, who being now residents of Socialist Russia had no problem with chapters critical of the aristocracy.

If you read many of the criticisms of the newer translations of Anna, you will find often that the Garnett translation finds critical approval. In an article in Commentary strongly critical of the recent darlings of Russian translation, Pevear/Volokhonsky, there is this statement:

Students once encountered the great Russian writers as rendered by the magnificent Constance Garnett, a Victorian who taught herself the language and then proceeded to introduce almost the entire corpus of Russian literature to the English language over the space of 40 years, from the 1890s to the 1930s. Her greatest virtues were her profound and sympathetic understanding of the works themselves and a literary artist’s feel for the English language

And in the Los Angeles Review of books:

There are no translation machines that can get us much closer to the novel than Constance Garnett did in 1901, or Leo Wiener in 1904, or Louise and Aylmer Maude in 1918

Oct 28, 2020, 2:38pm

>6 Django6924: “...left out 3 chapters”

I just completed Part 6 of this 1933 edition and several chapters were focused on the election of a new marshal of the province. Are these the chapters that were restored (specifically chapters 26–31 of Part 6)? I can’t seem to locate any references to the censored chapters. Also, the ML seems to suggest this is the first time these chapters were printed in English — is this still the case or have all modern translations included these censored chapters (whichever they were).

Oct 28, 2020, 4:08pm

Good question, and I have in the past searched online for an answer to no avail. Nowhere in Lunacharsky's tedious and propagandistic introduction does he specify which chapters he helped to restore, and I wasn't able to find anything online--rather amazing since this is of more than minor interest.

With libraries closed, I'm thinking the answer will take a while to be forthcoming.

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