UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


An Evolution of Joseph Brodsky’s Collaborative (Self)Translation

11 October 2021, 6:00 pm–7:30 pm

Book cover: Bloomsbury Publishing Joseph Brodsky and Collaborative Self-Translation

A Russian Studies Seminar with Dr Natasha Rulyova, University of Birmingham.

This event is free.

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An Evolution of Joseph Brodsky’s Collaborative (Self)Translation: From remote control via combative collaboration towards self-translation and creative writing

Dr Rulyova is Senior Lecturer and Russian Language Lead at the University of Birmingham. In this paper, which draws on her book Joseph Brodsky and Collaborative Self-Translation (Bloomsbury Academic: 2020), Dr Rulyova will discuss the evolution of the Nobel Prize winning Russian-American poet’s bilingual writing. Her approach to the analysis of Brodsky's work is underpinned by 'social turn' in translation studies, which means that she is interested in the process of translation, agents and their networks. To study the role played by Brodsky’s collaborators, she draw on a large amount of the previously unpublished archival materials, which are held in the Brodsky Archive of Beinecke Library, Yale University, USA. This paper identifies three main stages in the spectrum of Brodsky’s changing translation practices: (1) remote control, when the poet was not yet actively involved in the production of his texts in English, his second language; (2) combative collaboration, when Brodsky negotiated with his commissioned translators in the intercultural space to create multi-authored English versions; (3) self-translation and creative writing, when the poet started to self-translate with no prior translations but still relying on his collaborators’ feedback, eventually leading to his creative writing.