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Contradictory Woolf$
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Derek Ryan and Stella Bolaki

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780983533955

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780983533955.001.0001

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Virginia Woolf and the Russian Oxymoron

Virginia Woolf and the Russian Oxymoron

Chapter:
(p.229) Virginia Woolf and the Russian Oxymoron
Source:
Contradictory Woolf
Author(s):

Claire Davison

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9780983533955.003.0029

This chapter examines a translation of Fyodor Dostoevsky by Virginia Woolf and Samuel Koteliansky, with particular emphasis on Woolf's precise role in the translating process and how this translation differed from other English and French versions. Woolf's 1925 essay “A Russian Point of View” seemingly flaunts contradictions or ambivalence, in terms of subject as well as authorial stance, creating an underlying tension that remains unresolved to the end. The essay's opening pages do not only draw on Woolf's own publications on Russian literature since 1917, but also interweave her own recycled ideas with an intriguing mish-mash of late-nineteenth and early twentieth-century Russian voices. The chapter then considers how translating as an activity and a concept gave rise to an essential and revealing dynamics in Woolf's creative work as much as in her critical reflections on language, translation, and the meaning of meaning.

Keywords:   translation, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Samuel Koteliansky, contradiction, Russian literature, language, meaning

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