YUP: What is something you most want readers to get out of your translation of Anna Karenina?--Marshal Zeringue
MS: Tolstoy was not a comic writer, of course, but he could be very sly about people and situations.
In the opening scene, Stiva wakes up in the morning and is so carried away by his dreams and sense of physical well-being that he reaches for his dressing gown –and doesn’t find it in its usual place because he is not in his usual place. He’s sleeping on the sofa in his study instead of in bed with his wife, but he’s so wonderfully cheerful and oblivious, he fumbles in thin air. It’s a sight gag.
Another example: when Tolstoy makes fun of Princess Betsy for translating French idioms directly into Russian—she calls Anna a “terrible infant,” for example—he does it in a way the reader can’t help but find humorous.
Tolstoy was a great psychologist, so it’s no wonder he saw the humor in his characters’ thoughts, words, and actions. This may...[read on]