ABSTRACT

The Penguin Classics series, operating under the auspices of the Penguin brand, benefitted from the company's established reputation and already wide recognition. First, the translators, who brought their various professional backgrounds, skill-sets, and/or personal aesthetic, which could be adapted, or maybe, specialised, if required, to suit Penguin's specific needs and those of Penguin's readers. As discussed, the classic Russian literature that Penguin launched so enthusiastically from 1950 with brand new translations has itself, for the most part, been re-translated now. Penguin's Russian Classics mission – the existence of a shared vision executed by skilful individuals working in collaboration and backed up by a corporate infrastructure – was an essential, necessary, though ­ultimately superseded stage for Russian literature in English translation. The David Magarshack microhistory provides an essential point of comparison between the earliest Penguin translation expectations and ­practices under E.V. Rieu and those implemented later, when Penguin was commissioning translations of Soviet dissident literature.