July 01, 2001

Bulgakov's Post Horses

Bulgakov's Post Horses
Larissa Volokhonsky and Richard Pevear Courtesy of the subjects

Richard Pevear and his wife Larissa Volokhonsky (above) are widely considered to be two of the world’s top translators of Russian fiction into English. Together they have translated many of the “giants” of Russian literature:Fyodor Dostovevsky, Leo Tolstoy, Nikolai Gogol and Mikhail Bulgakov. In 1991, their translation of Dostoyevsky’s Brothers Karamazov won the prestigious PEN/Book-of-the-Month Translation Award, and reviewers have repeatedly acclaimed the pair for their ability to faithfully render original Russian texts in modern English.

Pevear and Volokhonsky’s new translation of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina has just been released by Viking Penguin, which published their their 1997 translation of Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita (see page 44), in the Penguin Modern Classics series.

Russian Life Editor Mikhail Ivanov visited with the translators in April, in their cosy Paris apartment in the 15th arrondissement. Together they discussed the subtleties of the translator’s art and on the particular difficulty of translating Bulgakov.

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