Winter 1962 • Vol. XXIV No. 1 Book ReviewsJanuary 1, 1962 |

Cleaning the Night Watch

Selected Tales by Nikolai Leskov. Translated by David Magarshack. Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, $5.00. Old thorn: to what minimal standard shall we hold our translator? Fidelity at least, understood as retention of tone, of spirit, and no imperious out-thinking of the original by silent substitution or deletion. We have special reason to honor the reliable guide, since like it or not the better part of our critical appreciation begins with close reading. Under these circumstances nothing is potentially quite so treacherous as a translation. In the present instance, David Magarshack has failed reprehensibly to take us to Leskov, and I am concerned lest this volume be taken as the pitch of Leskov's achievement. Leskov's language is admittedly bizarre and exact enough on several levels simultaneously to age his translators. They do invariably plead that his colloquial style constitutes too formidably quirky a barrier for them. Nonetheless, the popular success of the present collec

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The Dungeon of the Novel

By Philip Young

Selected Tales by Nikolai Leskov. Translated by David Magarshack. Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, $5.00. Old thorn: to what minimal standard shall we hold our translator? Fidelity at least, understood as […]

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