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Old 06-18-2011, 05:36 AM   #8
fantasyfan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OtterBooks View Post
Eeegads I wish I had seen the other thread sooner. I've read every translation and have a couple first US editions.

It's kinda late now, but imo you haven't fully experienced this book unless you read the Michael Glenny translation (or Russian). Those literary vampires Pevear and Volokhonsky suck the life out of Master and Margarita with their clinical hack-job; it's as if they ran it through Google Translate then added footnotes. Glenny captures the poetry and humor.

Quite frankly you shouldn't understand Master and Margarita; at least without a guide (which ruins a first reading). Even the original text had its meaning intentionally hidden in layers of veiled symbolism to avoid having its socio-political criticism easily spotted.
Since I don't understand Russian I clearly cannot comment on the fidelity of the various translations to the original. In various reviews I noted that the P&V translation is generally considered more accurate than that by Glenny and many readers think it is very good. Further, I think the notes in the P&V version are often quite useful.

That said, speaking personally, I did find the P&V version very stilted and often tedious in sections. So, about a third of the way through, I got a copy of Glenny and found it to be more fluid, idiomatic and much less stilted but, apparently, it also takes more liberties with the text {and doesn't provide notes}. What I did was keep the notes to the P&V translation on hand for reference purposes and read Glenny's version. While this certainly slowed my progress through the novel, I found I enjoyed the book more. In the end, reading should be enjoyable and Glenny provided far more enjoyment.

Last edited by fantasyfan; 06-18-2011 at 10:10 AM.
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