TRIN Seminar: “Translating for the Revolution: Soviet Transformations of Dos Passos”, Zachary Murphy King, 10:30AM March 29 2024 (EN)

The Department of Translation and Interpreting has the honor to invite you to the seminar entitled “Translating for the Revolution: Soviet Transformations of Dos Passos” by Dr. Zachary Murphy King.

Date: Friday, March 29, 2024
Time: 10:30-12:00
Place: H232

Abstract: The 1930s in the Soviet Union witnessed the historic elevation of writers into, as Stalin memorably stated, “engineers of human souls.” Soviet and international writers, critics, and cultural figures participated in a major debate in the early 1930s over what this machine for forming souls, which they called “socialist realism,” might look like. The works of Western modernist writers—particularly Joyce, Proust, and John Dos Passos—became central in this debate over how literary methods and methods of translation could impact readers. In my talk, I focus on translations of the American writer Dos Passos, who was trying to find his own socialist “formula” in his fiction, as Soviet translators tried to adapt his popular writing to rapidly changing Soviet literary expectations. Contrasting the approaches of a translator who creatively re-envisioned Dos Passos with those who rewrote the text to fit a new stylistic mold, I illuminate the role of translation in shaping Soviet literary practice.

Bio: Zachary King earned his PhD from the University of Chicago in 2022 with a thesis focusing on the reception of Marcel Proust, John Dos Passos, and James Joyce in Soviet Russia. Currently, he works as a freelance translator from Russian, German, and Polish to English. He is the translator of a number of books, including “The Charisma of World Revolution” by Gleb Albert (published by Brill), selected articles from “The Complete Works of Rosa Luxemburg” (published by Verso), and “The Steps of Nemesis: A Dramatic Chronicle in Six Scenes from Party Life in the USSR (1936-1938)” by Nikolai Evreinov (published by the University of Chicago Press).