Translating the Russian Classics: Tolstoy and Dostoevsky

Join us at the Calvert 22 Bookshop for a talk on translating Russian literature to celebrate the publication of three new books from Oxford University Press and Notting Hill Editions.

Sarah J. Young will chair the discussion between Nicolas Pasternak Slater and Rosamund Bartlett, who will share their insight into the process of translating Russian classics, an issue which continues to spark controversy even today, with a focus on the works of Fyodor Dostoevsky and Leo Tolstoy.

Oxford University Press have published a brand new edition of Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky as part of their Russia Centenary Season featuring  a new translation by Boris Pasternak’s nephew, Nicolas Pasternak Slater and edited by Sarah J. Young.

Oxford University Press’ edition of Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy features a translation by Rosamund Bartlett, who has also written an introduction to The Russian Soul: Selections from a Writer’s Diary by Fyodor Dostoevsky published by Notting Hill Editions, which contains excerpts from Dostoevsky’s provocative review of Anna Karenina, and deals extensively with issues of “crime” and “punishment”.


Nicolas Pasternak Slater has translated several works by Boris Pasternak, most recently The Family Correspondence, 1921–1960 (Hoover Press, 2010). For Oxford World’s Classics he has translated Lermontov’s A Hero of Our Time and Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories.

Rosamund Bartlett is a writer, scholar and translator with expertise in Russian cultural history. Her books include biographies of Tolstoy and Chekhov.  As a translator she has produced the first unexpurgated edition of his letters for Penguin Classics, and is currently working on her second anthology of Chekhov stories for Oxford World’s Classics.

Sarah J. Young is Senior Lecturer in Russian at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London, where she teaches and researches nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian literature, culture and thought.  She is the author of Dostoevsky’s ‘The Idiot’ and the Ethical Foundations of Narrative (Anthem Press, 2004), and co-editor of Dostoevsky on the Threshold of Other Worlds (Bramcote Press, 2006).

About Oxford University Press

Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

About Notting Hill Editions

Taking its cue from the vivid contribution of the short text to European cultural life and judging that the moment is right to reinvigorate the essay, Notting Hill Editions is devoted to the best in essayistic nonfiction writing.

Part of The Future Remains: Revisiting Revolutiona season marking the centenary of the Russian Revolution.

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