Constance Garnett Reviews
The subtitle of Richard Garnett's biography (reissued in Faber Finds) of the grandma, Constance Garnett (1861-1946) is A Bit Life. It could not be more apt. She remains the most successful Language translator of Russian literature: twelve volumes of Dostoevsky, five Gogol, half Herzen (his absolute My Past and Thoughts), seventeen of Tchehov (her spelling), five of Tolstoy, eleven of Turgenev and so on. Many of these will appear in Faber Finds. She translated over works. It is not, but the sheer quantity which is to be celebrated, although that in itself is impressive, it is more the enduring quality of its own job. Obviously there have been critics - translation is a peculiarly contentious subject, but there've been many more admirers. Himself praised her. Of her Turgenev translations, Joseph Conrad stated 'Turgeniev (sic) for me personally is Constance Garnett and Constance Garnett is Turgeniev'. Katherine Mansfield announced the lifestyles of her creation of writers were changed by Constance Garnett's translations, and H. E. Bates went so far as to say that modern English Literature itself couldn't have been what it is with no translations.
This extraordinary achievement was realized despite poor health and poor vision, the latter being destroyed by her own labours on War and Peace, a dreadful if fitting forfeit; her is really had been A Bit Life.
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Constance Garnett is rated 8 out of 10 based on 247 reviews.