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David Doughan

Perestroika Hits The Shire *


This is the tale of how Frodo Torbins comes to Kvetlorien, among other bizarre places. In other words, in this Russian translation of The Fellowship of the King, the names have been somewhat restructured. In the Shire, that's not too bad - for example, torba means 'bag', and Frodo's faithful Sam becomes Semmium (- semi-wit) Skromby (╩ ?skromniy, 'modest'). However, when Rohan becomes Mustangrim, Glorfindel becomes Vseslavur (slava = glory) and Lothlorien becomes Kvetlorien (for no reason I can see), you may feel the process has been carried a little too far.

Similar things happen to the meaning. It is generally considered rather naughty for translators to paraphrase except when the meaning is incapable of being expressed in any other way; however, Muravyov and Kistyakovskii do this quite regularly, in such a way as to distort the meaning. Worse, they sometimes re-write drastically. For instance: did you know that Amroth was buried under Cerin Amroth? Nor did JRRT.

Where Elvish words aren't completely changed, they're likely to be mistransllterated. If a Russian comes up to you crying Mae gverinnien!, be understanding - that's what the translation says. I'll be fascinated to see what the translators do to the Appendices, if they ever get there.

Most of the illustrations are taken, or adapted, from The Father Christmas Letters, except for the back cover, which portrays a sinister-looking Godfather in a snap-brim trilby, black shirt and white tie, improbably sticking a pipe into his mouth, and even more Improbably bearing Tolkien's signature.

Those who want to know more about this fascinating work should keep an eye on the pages of Quettar.


[*] Статья была опубликована в журнале "Amon Hen", в марте 1990 г.
Поскольку данная статья была написана 13 лет назад, с тех пор автор изменил свой взгляд на некоторые вещи, в особенности после того, как познакомился с монографией Марка Хукера "Толкин русскими глазами", посвященной исследованию русских переводов произведений Толкина. (Сноска добавлена по просьбе автора).


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