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Thank You, Translators

To the Editors:

I read with some astonishment the review by Stacy Schiff of two new books on Nabokov [NYR, November 19]. The first of them was the collection of letters to Véra, his wife, translated and edited by Olga Voronina and Brian Boyd. Nowhere in Schiff’s review was either Voronina or Boyd mentioned. Has The New York Review suddenly taken a dismissive view of the art of translation? Is it now an enterprise unworthy of criticism? Is scholarly editorial work viewed as trivial?

The thoughtlessness of reviewers who fail to give proper attention and credit to the work of translators and scholars is perhaps unexceptional, but the failure of the editors of The New York Review to insist that editors and translators deserve, at a minimum, acknowledgment and perhaps even praise or chastisement is inexcusable. The fact is that Voronina (a colleague here at Bard) and Boyd, through elegant translations of daunting prose and a meticulous scholarly apparatus, have provided an indispensable and authoritative volume for readers interested in the subject of Nabokov, even if they read Russian.

Leon Botstein
President
Bard College
Annandale-On-Hudson, New York