World Literature as a Communal Apartment
Translation and Literature, Vol. 21.3, pp. 402-421, 2012
20 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2012 Last revised: 15 Apr 2013
Date Written: September 10, 2012
Semyon Lipkin (1911-2003) was one of the Soviet Union’s most visionary translators. In addition to introducing Russian readers to Persianate literary traditions and to the oral epics of the indigenous peoples of Central Asia and the Caucasus, he produced original literary masterpieces inspired by his translational activities. In pioneering an ethics of translation at considerable political risk to himself, Lipkin forced Soviet writers to look beyond Russian culture. Even more fundamentally, Lipkin countered Soviet ethnic nationalism with an ethics of translational difference. This essay engages with Lipkin’s translational method in order to elucidate his vision of world literature under Soviet rule.
Keywords: world literature, Soviet, East-West exchange, translation, cultural difference, Persian, Chechen
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