My Appointment with Onegin: Charles Johnston, Douglas Hofstadter and Stanley Mitchell

Date: 06/11/2023

Time: 07:00-09:00PM

Location: OEM1018

Speaker: Dr. Anna Ponomareva (UCL/Imperial College London)

Translation Seminar Series


The issue of translation methods has been discussed in one way or another since the birth of translation itself. However, shortly before the turn of the 21st century it was promoted as the focus of contemporary translation studies by Lawrence Venuti, with the publication of his book The Translator’s Invisibility: A History of Translation in 1995. In this book Venuti gives names to two translation methods, domesticating and foreignizing, and advocates visibility, or self-positioning, for the translator in his or her work. Venuti’s ideas have triggered various polemical reactions in translation studies, the reverberations from which are still heard today. This lecture focuses on evaluating the presence of the translator in his or her work by looking at various book covers and the paratext of three translations of Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin (1830s) into English. They are by Charles Johnston (1977), Douglas Hofstadter (1999) and Stanley Mitchell (2008). It will be shown that these translators had appointed themselves to offer their Onegin(s) to English-speaking audiences as, with various degrees of self-confidence, they were sure that they were famous enough to advertise their translations and to attract their prospective readers, sometimes even more then Pushkin himself.

About the Speaker:

Dr. Anna Ponomareva (PhD in Translation Studies, UCL; MPhil in Russian Studies, University of Manchester; MA/BA in Philosophy, Moscow State University) teaches Russian, Practical Translation from English into Russian (Medical and Scientific), Translation in History and Comparative Literature at various schools at UCL. She is also an Acting Co-ordinator for Russian at Imperial College London where Russian is taught at the Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication. Anna’s areas of research are Translation Studies, Russian Language, Pedagogy, Russian Symbolism, Comparative Literature and History of Ideas. She is the author of several publications in Russian and English. Her most recent publication is the following:

Maxim Gorky’s World Literature Project. Lessons from the Past in Cros, Isabelle; Godard, Anne (eds) Ecrire entre les langues. Littérature, traduction, enseignement., Editions des archives contemporaines, France, 2022. ISBN: 9782813004642, pp. 103-106, doi:

This autumn two more articles, chapters in edited volumes, written by Anna will appear:

Mirror pas de deux: Cranko’s reinvention of Pushkin’s Text in his Ballet Onegin (1965) will be published in Helen Julia Minors (ed.) Music, Text and Translation Vol. 2. London and Oxford: Bloomsbury, 2023.

The Visibility of The Translator: A Case of Telugu Section in Progress Publishers and Raduga will be published in Maguire, Muireann and Catherine McAlter (eds) Translating Russian Literature in a Global Context. Cambridge: Open Book publication, 2023.

Background Readings:

Johnston, Charles. 1977. Alexander Pushkin, Eugene Onegin. Translated by [Sir] Charles [Heburn-Johnston [1912-1986]. London: Scolar Press.

Gu, Yu. 2013. “《奥涅金》的 15個中文譯本 (Fifteen Chinese translations of Eugene Onegin).” China Reading Weekly, February 6, 2013.

Hofstadter, Douglas. 1999. Eugene Onegin: A novel in verse by Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin. A novel versification by Douglas Hofstadter [1945- ]. New York: Basic Books.

Mitchell, Stanley. 2008. Alexander Pushkin, Eugene Onegin: A Novel in Verse Translated with an introduction and notes by Stanley Mitchell [1932- 2011]. London: Penguin Books 2008.

Batchelor, Kathryn. 2018. Translation and Paratexts. London and New York: Routledge.

Genette, Gérard. 1987. Seuils. Paris: Editions du Seuil. [Paratext: Tresholds of Interpretation (1997) Foreword by Richard Macksey, Translated by Jane E. Lewin. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.]

Ponomareva, Anna. 2018. “Pushkin’s Novel in Verse Eugene Onegin: the Emergence of a Key Russian Cultural Text in English“. In Kirsten Malmkjaer and Adriana Serban (eds) Key Cultural Texts in Translation. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins: 131-150.

My Appointment with Onegin: Charles Johnston, Douglas Hofstadter and Stanley Mitchell
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