Marian Schwartz has translated over sixty volumes of Russian classic and contemporary fiction, history, biography, criticism, and fine art. She is the principal English translator of the works of Nina Berberova and translated the New York Times’ bestseller The Last Tsar, by Edvard Radzinsky, as well as classics by Mikhail Bulgakov, Ivan Goncharov, Yuri Olesha, and Mikhail Lermontov. Her most recent book translations are Andrei Gelasimov’s Gods of the Steppe (AmazonCrossing), Mikhail Shishkin's Maidenhair (Open Letter Books), Leonid Yuzefovich’s Harlequin’s Costume (Glagoslav), and Aleksandra Shatskikh's Black Square (Yale University Press). She is the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts translation fellowships and is a past president of the American Literary Translators Association.
In an op ed piece for the Guardian, Mikhail Shishkin explains the larger disaster that has befallen Russia and Ukraine as a result of Putin's recent actions:
"Unending, smouldering conflict on the border is a regime dream that is coming true before our eyes. Undeclared war with Ukraine finally gives it cause to crush independent civil society in Russia and establish a lethal police order. Militarism, the hunt for domestic enemies, the struggle against "traitors," and the mass propaganda of patriotism – all this is already our present. Scoundrels and fools have speculated for too long on love for the fatherland. And now, once again, we've all been taken hostage – both Ukrainians and Russians. Once again we are going to suffer together – two fraternal nations. And we are going to have to fight for our future together."
A war between Russia and Ukraine would be close to a civil war and just as unspeakably sad.
In the last year, Cristina Vezzaro has asked over a hundred literary translators to answer the same set of questions for her blog, Authors & Translators--and the answers have been fascinating. We all have our own take on just what we're doing when we translate literature and our own motivations. My turn came recently to talk about my translation career. Check out my interview here.
In 2008, Olga Slavnikova's Love in Train Car No. 7 was published in Moscow. These twelve stories, originally written for Russian Railways' glossy magazine, each involves a train or train travel. The latest of these to be published in my translation is "The Cherepanova Sisters," which came out in New England Review's current issue featuring Russian literature, of which I'm very proud to be a part.
"The Cherepanova Sisters" is a thoroughly delightful story set in the boonies of Russia about two sisters with serious technical skills who see the desolation their small town has fallen into and decide to take matters into their own hands by making the train run again. Following the universal law, no good deed goes unpunished.
In December 2014, Deep Vellum, a startup not-for-profit literary publisher of "the world's greatest untrnaslated contemporary writers of literature and creative nonfiction," will bepublishing Calligraphy Lesson: The Collected Stories of Mikhail Shishkin, Shishkin's first collection of short stories in any language. Calligraphy Lesson gathers work written between 1993, when his Debut Prize-winning story "Calligraphy Lesson" was published, through 2013, when he wrote "Nabokov's Inkblot" for a dramatic adaptation to the stage by Schauspielhaus Zürich. Translators for the volume are Marian Schwartz, Leo Shtutin, Mariya Bashkatova, and Sylvia Maizell.