Review by Choice Review
Katz's translation is a splendid rendition of Turgenev's prose in contemporary English idiom. Compared with Ralph Matlaw's translation for "Norton Critical Editions" (CH, Dec'67), which enjoys today an overwhelming popularity in colleges and universities, Katz's version brings Turgenev much closer to the contemporary literary English used on the North-American continent. It is stylistically "cleaner," is often more precise, and avoids pompousness and affectations that characterize Matlaw's version. Katz also gives a very different impression of Turgenev's narrative dynamic. His restrained, measured, and almost dispassionate prose seems to capture very well Turgenev's sense of stylistic harmony, the author's detachment from his characters, his soft lyricism, and his belief in humanity's helplessness vis-`a-vis historical or natural forces. It is very difficult to render the internal dynamic of a writer who not only wrote in another tongue but also from within another culture and in the previous century. That task requires both linguistic sensibility and psychological and cultural openness to the cultural Other. Katz has met this difficulty with commendable success. One could wish that this new Norton edition had provided an expanded introduction to better place Turgenev's novel in the cultural and literary context of his time. In this respect, the earlier Norton edition, which includes not only Matlaw's translation but also Turgenev's comments on the novel and a collection of critical essays discussing it, still remains the most comprehensible one. Advanced undergraduate. S. Roll; McGill University
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