“The Original Is Unfaithful to the Translation”: On Translation and Its Discontents

Monday, November 19, 2018
6:00pm - 7:30pm
Ella Weed Room, 223 Milbank Hall, Barnard College

In this talk and reading of translations of classical and contemporary Russian poets (including Elena Shvarts, Vladimir Aristov, Alik Rivin, and Alexander Griboyedov), Julia Trubikhina and Betsy Hulick, partners in crime and co-translators, will talk about their joint and individual projects and discuss what happens in the process of translation.

Sponsored by the Harriman Institute and the Barnard Slavic Department. Please contact us at BarnardSlavic@gmail.com to RSVP or with any questions. This event is part of the Creative and Scholarly Women of Slavic Literature series.

Julia Trubikhina received her PhD in Comparative Literature from New York University. She teaches in the Division of Russian and Slavic Studies at Hunter College, CUNY. Her book The Translator’s Doubts: Vladimir Nabokov and the Ambiguity of Translation (Academic Studies Press, 2015) received the Samuel Schuman Prize in Nabokov Studies in 2016. The second edition of the book has just come out in paperback. With support by Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, it has been selected among 42 titles for the project “Reissuing and Promoting Slavic Studies Titles as Free EBooks.” In addition to scholarly articles and reviews in academic journals, Julia Trubikhina (as Julia Trubikhina-Kunina) has also published translations and contributed original poetry to Russian, European, and American anthologies and literary journals. The first English-language volume of the contemporary META poet Vladimir Aristov, which Julia edited and co-translated with Betsy Hulick (also, with Julia’s Introduction and an interview with the poet) came out in 2017 (Ugly Duckling Presse), was reviewed in the US, UK, and Russia, and is now out in its second edition. Julia is currently researching a new book on Nabokov and translation and working on two literary translation projects: poetry and prose by a seminal contemporary woman poet and writer Elena Shvarts (together with Betsy Hulick) and the poetry parts of Efim Etkind’s memoir.

Betsy Hulick’s background is in literature (BA, Vassar College) and theater (Equity, SAG, AFTRA); she was awarded the Pushkin Translation Prize (Columbia University). She has received fellowships from VCCA, Yaddo, Ragdale, the Wurlitzer Foundation, and abroad (Malta, Germany). Her translations include: Nikolai Gogol’s “The Government Inspector” (performed on Broadway) and “Marriage” (regional), Anton Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya and Other Plays” (Bantam World Classic), Alexander Pushkin’s narrative poems including “Golden Cockerel” (Fence) and “Count Nulin” (Cardinal Points). With Julia Trubikhina, Betsy co-translated Vladimir Aristov’s “What I Saw from the Mountain” (Ugly Duckling Press) and poems by Elena Shvarts (Atlantic Magazine). Among individual projects, most recently, Betsy has translated Alexander Blok’s “The Twelve” (Cardinal Points) and, forthcoming from Columbia University’s “Read Russia” program, Alexander Griboedov’s “Woe from Wit,” (excerpts appeared online in Circumference). In addition to translations, Betsy has published original poetry in various literary magazines, including Southhampton Review and Think!, as well as two small, illustrated books: “30 Poems by Christian Morgenstern” and “A Fable for Beginners or, Only the Buttons Are Real.”