Joseph Brodsky and Collaborative Self-Translation

Research output: Book/ReportBook


The book examines the method and practices of translation and self-translation of the Nobel Prize winning Russian-American poet Joseph Brodsky's poems from Russian into English. By drawing on the first extensive archival study conducted at the Brodsky archive in Beinecke library (Yale University) and the Farrar, Straus and Giroux Archive at the New York Public Library, the book reveals that Brodsky's poems in English are the product of multiple authorship and collaborative translation. My argument goes against the grain, bringing the evidence that Brodsky shaped and curated his English-Language voice in the process of collaborative translation and it offers a new framework for examining self-translation within 'social turn' in translation studies. Specifically, the originality of my approach is in showing a collaborative aspect and highlighting the significance of retranslation in the process. This book also contributes to the debate about translations’ ownership by considering conversations between Brodsky and his translators, which touch on ethical and aesthetic principles in historical, poetic and cultural contexts. The book brings new light to our understanding of authenticity and ‘authentic voice’ by demonstrating that the author’s authentic writing style in a second language develops in response to and in collaboration with native speaking translators, peer poets, editors and friends. It is not something given but is achieved and curated in the process of collaborative self-translation.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
Number of pages216
ISBN (Electronic)9781501363931, 9781501363948
ISBN (Print)9781501363924
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2020


  • self-translation
  • collaborative translation
  • retranslation
  • 'social turn' in translation studies
  • translators' microhistories
  • poetic translation
  • authentic voice
  • biligual writing
  • late bilingual
  • mimetic translation
  • multiple authorship
  • interlinea translation
  • translators networks
  • strangership
  • Exile


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