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Rezvy V.A. “Falsification of Shakespeare”: GeorgyShengeli’s Unpublished Article on Boris Pasternak’s Translations. Studia Litterarum, 2017, vol. 2, no 3, pp. 300–333. (In Russ.) DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2017-2-3-300-333

Author: V.А. Rezvy
Information about the author:

Vladislav A. Rezvy, Editor, Vodoley Publ., Goncharova 17 а, 2, 127254 Moscow, Russia. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Received: April 18, 2017
Published: September 25, 2017
Issue: 2017 Vol. 2, №3
Department: Textology. Materials
Pages: 300-333

UDK: 82.09
BBK: 83.3(2Рос=Рус) +83 + 83.3(4Вел)51
Keywords: Shengeli, Pasternak, Shakespeare, literary translation, translation history, translation theory and criticism.


In his article “Pasternak’s Shakespeare” (1945), Georgy Shengeli, poet, literary translator and expert in prosody, examines the fragments from Shakespeare’s tragedies Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet translated by Boris Pasternak, criticizing the latter in the light of his own views on translation, according to which accuracy and artistry are the main literary translation requirements. At the same time, Shengeli ignores the circumstances in which Pasternak made his translations as well as his intentions: to adapt Shakespeare to the Russian stage; the adaptation should be therefore judged as an original work of Russian literature.While recognizing natural and free syntax as an unquestionable merit of Pasternak’s translations, Shengeli seeks to prove by means of statistical calculations and line-by-line comparison of the translation with the original that Pasternak’s work is a falsification of Shakespeare. This essay shows how Shengeli, albeit aptly noting semantic and stylistic flaws in Pasternak’s translations, himself makes inaccuracies in the interpretation of the original and, in the spirit of the time, translates literary polemics into ideology, calling for “political conclusions.”


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