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By prospect   December 2007

Translation wars

We seem to be getting used to the idea of truncating literary classics: Orion recently launched a series of “compact editions” of such works as Moby Dick, Middlemarch and Bleak House. But some people’s tolerance clearly has a limit, especially where the jewel of Russian literature, War and Peace, is concerned. A blistering war of words has broken out over Andrew Bromfield’s new slimline (886-page) translation of Tolstoy’s epic, which has just been published by Ecco. Academics across Russia have denounced it as an act of desecration. And Richard Pevear, co-translator of Vintage’s new full-length (1,267-page) edition, which…

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