Mikhail Zoshchenko's "Michel Siniagin": a critical study and translation

France, Rose (2001) Mikhail Zoshchenko's "Michel Siniagin": a critical study and translation. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Printed Thesis Information: https://eleanor.lib.gla.ac.uk/record=b2023774


This thesis is a critical study and translation into English of Mikhail Zoshchenko's long story "Michel Siniagin", including a critical analysis of the text of "Michel Siniagin" in relation to other work by the same writer, and a discussion of the specific problems raised by Zoshchenko's work for the English language translator.The first chapter of the thesis is devoted to language and style in Zoshchenko's work. "Michel Siniagin" and the related cycle of "Sentimental Tales" are viewed in the context of the author's broader stylistic project. The chapter opens with a discussion of skaz in Zoshchenko's short stories as a reflection of early Soviet socio-linguistic reality and as an attempt to expand literary narrative beyond the discourse of the educated classes. It goes on to describe the emergence of a parodic semi-educated writer figure in the "Sentimental Tales", whose literary style parodies the democratisation of culture in post-revolutionary Russia and the attempts of those in authority to create a proletarian classical literature or "Red Lev Tolstoi". Some of the specific stylistic features of "Michel Siniagin" are then examined in greater detail.The second chapter explores some of the more important thematic elements of "Michel Siniagin" and the "Sentimental Tales". It aims to show the thematic continuity of Zoshchenko's work and to emphasise intertextual connections with contemporary literary developments and topical social and philosophical questions. This chapter also explores the autobiographical element in "Michel Siniagin" and looks at the significance for Zoshchenko of the real life beggar-poet Aleksandr Tiniakov, who served as the inspiration for the anti-hero Siniagin.The third chapter is devoted to the problems of literary translation. It begins with a defence of practical, critically engaged models of translation theory, arguing that when theory becomes divorced from practice, it tends to stray into abstract and perfectionist discourse and to distort the reality of translation as it actually happens. The chapter summarises recent arguments in favour of free/dynamic versus literal/formal translation strategies. It then examines how the specific nature of Zoshchenko' s work affects the translator's choice of strategy, comparing the effectivity of some previous translations of Zoshchenko' s short stories. The final part of this chapter looks at the problems posed by the deliberately clumsy prose style of Zoshchenko' s fictional "author" in "Michel Siniagin" and the "Sentimental Tales", compares my own translation with existing translations. It is argued that interference from foreign cultural associations is more detrimental to the humour and spirit of Zoshchenko' s work than interference from so-called "translationese".The penultimate chapter of the thesis explores the impact of self-censorship and censorship on Zoshchenko's work in general and on "Michel Siniagin" in particular, comparing different versions of the text of "Michel Siniagin" and describing amendments made to the text by Zoshchenko at manuscript stage and by editors at later stages in its history.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PG Slavic, Baltic, Albanian languages and literature
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > Slavonic Studies
Supervisor's Name: Kirkwood, Prof. Mike and Dewhirst, Mr Martin
Date of Award: 2001
Depositing User: Miss Louise Annan
Unique ID: glathesis:2001-6568
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 23 Jul 2015 08:50
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2015 08:50
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/6568

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