The water of life

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This article examines the practice and significance of several Croatian and Serbian translations of poetry from Russian in the 1970s and 1980s. It takes examples from versions of three Russian writers from the early 20th century made by translators primarily known for their original writing, Josip Sever, Danilo Kiš, Irena Vrkljan and Dubravka Ugrešić. Each translator selects a suitable literary forebear or model and mobilizes the original author’s image and significance, along with the status of Russian literature and culture in general, in order to shape his or her own bibliography and literary personality. These translations play multiple roles in the recipient culture: they select particular Russian authors and make them available in the local language, thus recommending them to readers, while the acts of selection and translation demonstrate the Russian authors’ influence on or connections with the local writers who choose to translate them.


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