|dc.description.abstract||This dissertation, entitled Linguistic and Cultural Aspects of the Russian
Postmodernist Novel and its Translation: Tatyana Tolstaya’s ‘Кысь’, is in five
chapters, of which the first relates primarily to themes of the Russian source text.
The translation in question is by the American Jamey Gambrell, and inevitably it is
referred to in Chapter 1, although Chapter 2 offers an overview of the translation
theory against which the translation is assessed. Chapters 3 and 4 cover the
translation of language and meaning respectively. The fifth chapter introduces a
French-language translation to compare two translations operating under two
different sets of norms. I conclude by proposing a format for a translation that could
make the novel more accessible to a non-Russian readership.
In this Introduction, brief biographical details of Tatyana Tolstaya and a
synopsis of the novel Кысь are followed by extracts of interviews conducted with
Tolstaya over the last 20 years. As the dissertation will show, the novel has aroused
no little conflict of opinion and it is appropriate that the author puts her side of the
Many of the texts quoted in the following are only available in Russian and my
translations are attributed by ‘trans. LCK’. In the sections dealing with the
technicalities of translation, I have given page numbers using the shortened notation
(R: -) to refer to the source text (Tolstaya 2000) and (E: -) to refer to the English
translation (Tolstaya 2003a).
Where I have transliterated from Russian into English, I have followed the
Library of Congress system except where alternative English equivalents have
become well established. For example, I will refer to the name of the author at the
heart of this dissertation, officially transliterated ‘Tat’iana
Tolstaia’) as ‘Tatyana Tolstaya’, in line with common usage.
The novel Кысь is generally acknowledged to be a demanding book and it is a
tribute to its complexity that this dissertation cannot possibly hope to cover all the
issues explored by the author. I have, however, endeavoured to analyse some themes
and certain passages in considerable detail, and have been struck by the skill and
perseverance of the two existing translations of this novel. Comments offered here
are not to be taken as criticism but are offered as alternative approaches to attempt to
meet those challenges posed by the source text.||en