Profiles

Susanna Witt

Susanna Witt

Senior Lecturer

Visa sidan på svenska
Works at Department of Slavic and Baltic Studies Finnish Dutch and German
Email sanna.witt@slav.su.se
Postal address Institutionen för slaviska och baltiska språk finska nederländska 106 91 Stockholm

About me

 

Associate professor in Slavic languages and literatures

Authorized as translator from Russian into Swedish by the Swedish Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency

2019–2021 Leading Research Fellow, Department of History and Theory of Literature, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow

2017– Senior lecturer in Russian at Stockholm University

2012–2016  Research fellow at Uppsala Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Uppsala University

2009–2011 Research fellow at the Department of Slavic languages and literatures, Stockholm University

 20022007 Postdoctoral fellow, Department of Modern Languages, Uppsala University

 

Research interests

Russian 20th century literature,  Russian literary modernism, Russian translation history, theory of translation in Russia, translation and power,  Soviet nationalities policies, Stalinist culture, culture of ”late socialism”, Ukrainian literature and culture

 

Recent projects

2015–2018 “The Interface with the Foreign: The ‘Soviet School of Translation,’ Cold War and World Literature” (funded by the Swedish Research Council)

2009–2011 ”Totalitarianism and Translation: Control and Conflict in Soviet Translation Practices” (funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond/The Swedish Foundation for  Humanities and Social Sciences)

 

Recent publications

Witt, Susanna. 2019. “En maître reviderar sin meter: Georgij Šengelis femfotade experiment med Byrons Don Juan”. In: Slavica antiqua et hodierna. En hyllningsskrift till Per Ambrosiani (Stockholm Slavic Papers 28), 167–177.

 Witt, Susanna. 2019. “The Translator as Trickster: Mark Tarlovskii and Southern Subjectivity.” In: Words, Bodies, Memory. A Festschrift in honor of Irina Sandomirskaja, eds. Lars Kleberg, Tora Lane, Marcia Sa Cavalcante Schuback (Södertörn Philosophical Studies 23), Huddinge: Södertörns högskola, 191–209.

Witt, Susanna, 2019,  “Kontsept ‘sovetskoi shkoly perevoda’” — ditia pozdnego stalinizma” [The concept of the ‘Soviet school of translation’ — a child of late Stalinizm]. In:  Vtoroi vsesoiuznyi s’’ezd sovetskikh pisatelei (1954). Ideologiia istoricheskogo perekhoda i transformatsiia sovetskoi literatury  [The Second all-union congress of Soviet writers (1954). The ideology of historical transition and the transformation of Soviet literature]. Eds. K. A. Bogdanov and V. Iu. Viugin. St. Petersburg: Aleteia.

Witt, Susanna. 2019. “Institutionalized Intermediates: Conceptualizing Soviet Practices of Indirect Translation.” In: Indirect Translation: Theoretical, Methodological and Terminological Issues, eds. Alexandra Assis Rosa, Hanna Pieta, Rita Bueno Maia, New York and London: Routledge [Book edition of the eponymous special issue of Translation Studies, 2017].

Witt, Susanna and Brian James Baer. 2018. “Introduction: The Double Context of Translation." In: Translation in Russian Contexts: Culture, Politics, Identity. London: Routledge, 1–16.

Witt, Susanna and Brian James Baer (eds.). 2018. Translation in Russian Contexts: Culture, Politics, Identity. London: Routledge.

Vitt, Susanna [Witt, Susanna]. 2017. "'Sovetskaia shkola perevoda' — k probleme istorii kontsepta" ['The Soviet school of translation' — to the history of the concept]. In: Perevodcheskie strategii i gosudarstvennyi kontrol'/Translation Strategies and State Control. Ed. Lea Pild.  Acta Slavica Estonica IX. Tartu: Tartu University Press, 36–51.

Witt, Susanna. 2017. “Institutionalized Intermediates: Conceptualizing Soviet Practices of Indirect Translation."  Translation Studies 10(2), 1–17. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14781700.2017.1281157

Witt, Susanna. 2016.“Socialist Realism in Translation: The Theory of a Practice,” Baltic Worlds, IX:4, 52–58. http://balticworlds.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/BW-4-2016-23-82.pdf

Witt, Susanna. 2016. “Translation and Intertextuality in the Soviet-Russian Context: The Case of Georgii Shengeli’s Don Juan.Slavic and East European Journal. 60:1, 22–48.

Witt, Susanna. 2016. “Byron’s Don Juan in Russian and the ‘Soviet School of Translation’.” Translation and Interpreting Studies. Special issue : Contexts of Russian Literary Translation, ed. by Susanna Witt and Julie Hansen. 11:1, 23–43.

Witt, Susanna and Julie Hansen. 2016. “Introduction.” Translation and Interpreting Studies. Special issue : Contexts of Russian Literary Translation, ed. by Susanna Witt and Julie Hansen. 11:1, 1–3.

Witt, Susanna and Julie Hansen (eds.). 2016. Contexts of Russian Literary Translation. Special issue of  Translation and Interpreting Studies. The Journal of the American Translation and Interpreting Studies Association. 1(2016).  130 pp.

Witt, Susanna. 2015. “Pasternak, Łysohorsky and the Significance of  ‘Unheroic’ Translation.” Russian Literature 78, 755–773. http://authors.elsevier.com/sd/article/S0304347915001052

 

Teaching

VT17 Textanalys och översättning I, RY1

HT17 Textanalys och översättning I, RY1

VT18 Textanalys och översättning I, RY1; Litteraturhistoria RY2/KPSL

HT18 Textanalys och översättning I, RY1; Litteraturhistoria RY2/KPSL;  Översättning och makt  (delkurs 3 i temat  "Språk och makt"  inom Humanistiska fakultetens forskarskola)

VT19 Textanalys och översättning I, RY1; Litteraturhistoria RY2/KPSL

HT19 Textanalys och översättning I, Ry1; Litteraturhistoria RY2/KPSL

VT20 Textanalys och översättning I, Ry1;  Textanalys och översättning II, RY2; Litteraturhistoria RY2/KPSL; Uppsatsseminarium; Rysk poesi, närläsning, RY4

HT20 Grammatik och text II, RYNyb; Textanalys och översättning I, Ry1;  Textanalys och översättning II, RY2; Litteraturhistoria RY2/KPSL; Litteraturvetenskaplig teori och metod, Forskarutbildning

 

www.slav.su.se

 

 

 

 

 

Publikationer

I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas

  • 2014. Susanna Witt. Med blicken österut, 383-399

    Drawing on Lawrence Venuti's (2009) discussion of translation and intertextuality, this study presents a comparative analysis of the two Russian translations of Byron's Don Juan to appear in the Soviet era, Georgii Shengeli's from 1947 and Tatiana Gnedich's from 1959. The interdiscursive and intertextual relations established by the two translations presents the reader with two very different works.  While Gnedich's translation is marked by a tendency  to adhere to contemporaneous Soviet discourses, Shengeli's translation is found to accommodate a dialogue with Silver Age literature, making his version a functional equivalent of Akhmatova's A Poem whithout a Hero.

  • 2013. Susanna Witt. The Art of Accommodation, 141-184

    The chapter provides a microhistory of the little known First All-union Conference of Translators held in January 1936 — at a watershed in Soviet culture of the 1930s, marked by the establishment of the Committte on Arts Affairs  in December 1935  and the subsequent  campaign against “formalism in the arts”  on the eve of the Great Terror. Focus is on the  formation of Soviet translation ideology as it emerges from the archival material of the conference. Special attention is paid to the operational value and varying content of such concepts as “literalist” vs. “free” translation and the role of translations in forming the “national cultures” as an ambivalent project  situated in a field of tension between Stalinist nationalities discourse and “bourgeois nationalism” (as a latent threat). The chapter includes a publication of archival material: the draft resolution of the conference.

  • 2013. Susanna Witt. Ab imperio: Studies of New Imperial History and Nationalism in the post-Soviet Space 14 (3), 155-190

    In the construction of a Soviet literary canon, various forms of indirect translation played a significant role. The process of making mutually accessible the desired literary output of the peoples of the Soviet Union was often hampered by lack of language competence among translators. The use of intermediary texts, especially podstrochniki (interlinear trots) was ubiquitous. Deemed unsatisfactory “in principle,” it was tolerated as a “temporary means,” but surfaced regularly on the agenda of the concerned bodies of the Writers’ Union. Drawing on archival material, this article provides a microhistory of the podstrochnik through an analysis of discourses on the topic from the 1930s up to the 1960s. As an appendix, the chapter includes a 1940 draft resolution on the regulation of translations from the literatures of the peoples of the USSR.

  • 2013. Susanna Witt. Dzhambul Dzhabaev , 267-286

    The chapter demonstrates the relevance of literary translation as an object of research within the broader context of Soviet culture. With a focus on the Stalin period, it draws attention to translation as a pragmatic “no man’s land,” open to initiatves on the part of different agents. Drawing on Bakhtin’s analysis of the utterance and on Toury’s (2005) application of the concept of “culture planning,” the chapter pays special attention to the use of interlinear trots, or podstrochniki, as an institutionalized “creative space” between source and target texts.

  • 2011. Susanna Witt. Contexts, Subtexts and Pretexts, 149-170

    Literary translation in the Soviet Union may well be the largest more or less coherent project of translation the world has seen to this date — largest in terms of geographical range, number of languages involved and timespan; coherent in the sense of ideological framework (allowing for fluctuations over time) and centralized planning. The chapter demonstrates the relevance of literary translation as an object of research within the broader context of Soviet culture. With a focus on the Stalin period, it draws attention to translation as a pragmatic "no man's land," open to initiatives on the part of different agents. Drawing on Toury's (2005) application of the concept of "culture planning," the chapter pays special attention to the use of interlinear trots, or podstrochniki, as an institutionalized "creative space" between source and target texts. Soviet practices, it is argued, may prompt a reconsideration of common concepts such as source language, target language and translational agency.

  • 2011. Susanna Witt. Litteratur i gränszonen, 35-52

    Studien belyser nationalitetslitteraturernas framväxt i form av översättningar och dessas  funktion  i det sovjetiska litterära systemet 1934-1936, d.v.s. under tiden mellan Första författarkongressen och  Första allunionella översättarkonferensen. Fokus ligger på översättningarnas synliggörande i det offentliga rummet. Det empiriska materialet utgörs av dagstidningen Pravda för perioden samt dokumentation ur ryska arkiv.

  • 2017. Susanna Witt. Translation Studies 10 (2), 1-17

    In the Soviet Union, practices of indirect literary translation,particularly the use of interlinear intermediates, wereinstitutionalized in the early 1930s through special terminology,specific administrative treatment within the literary apparatus, andeducational efforts. Such practices continued until the end of theSoviet era, but were intensely debated and criticized, renderingproblems of indirect translation both visible and articulated in aunique way. Drawing on archival sources, this article presents anoverview of such issues, taking into consideration the heretoforescant attention given the subject in both Western and Russianscholarship. Conceptualizing the massive Soviet experience in thefield, it aims at providing new perspectives on the phenomenonof indirect translation.

  • 2017. Brian James Baer, Susanna Witt.

    This volume represents the first large-scale effort to address topics of translation in Russian contexts across the disciplinary boundaries of Slavic Studies and Translation Studies, thus opening up new perspectives for both fields. Leading scholars from Eastern and Western Europe offer a comprehensive overview of Russian translation history examining a variety of domains, including literature, philosophy and religion. Divided into three parts, this book highlights Russian contributions to translation theory and demonstrates how theoretical perspectives developed within the field help conceptualize relevant problems in cultural context in pre-Soviet, Soviet, and post-Soviet Russia. This transdisciplinary volume is a valuable addition to an under-researched area of translation studies and will appeal to a broad audience of scholars and students across the fields of Translation Studies, Slavic Studies, and Russian and Soviet history.

Visa alla publikationer av Susanna Witt vid Stockholms universitet

 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

Publications

A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2013. Susanna Witt. The Art of Accommodation, 141-184

    The chapter provides a microhistory of the little known First All-union Conference of Translators held in January 1936 — at a watershed in Soviet culture of the 1930s, marked by the establishment of the Committte on Arts Affairs  in December 1935  and the subsequent  campaign against “formalism in the arts”  on the eve of the Great Terror. Focus is on the  formation of Soviet translation ideology as it emerges from the archival material of the conference. Special attention is paid to the operational value and varying content of such concepts as “literalist” vs. “free” translation and the role of translations in forming the “national cultures” as an ambivalent project  situated in a field of tension between Stalinist nationalities discourse and “bourgeois nationalism” (as a latent threat). The chapter includes a publication of archival material: the draft resolution of the conference.

  • 2013. Susanna Witt. Ab imperio: Studies of New Imperial History and Nationalism in the post-Soviet Space 14 (3), 155-190

    In the construction of a Soviet literary canon, various forms of indirect translation played a significant role. The process of making mutually accessible the desired literary output of the peoples of the Soviet Union was often hampered by lack of language competence among translators. The use of intermediary texts, especially podstrochniki (interlinear trots) was ubiquitous. Deemed unsatisfactory “in principle,” it was tolerated as a “temporary means,” but surfaced regularly on the agenda of the concerned bodies of the Writers’ Union. Drawing on archival material, this article provides a microhistory of the podstrochnik through an analysis of discourses on the topic from the 1930s up to the 1960s. As an appendix, the chapter includes a 1940 draft resolution on the regulation of translations from the literatures of the peoples of the USSR.

  • 2013. Susanna Witt. Dzhambul Dzhabaev , 267-286

    The chapter demonstrates the relevance of literary translation as an object of research within the broader context of Soviet culture. With a focus on the Stalin period, it draws attention to translation as a pragmatic “no man’s land,” open to initiatves on the part of different agents. Drawing on Bakhtin’s analysis of the utterance and on Toury’s (2005) application of the concept of “culture planning,” the chapter pays special attention to the use of interlinear trots, or podstrochniki, as an institutionalized “creative space” between source and target texts.

  • 2011. Susanna Witt. Contexts, Subtexts and Pretexts, 149-170

    Literary translation in the Soviet Union may well be the largest more or less coherent project of translation the world has seen to this date — largest in terms of geographical range, number of languages involved and timespan; coherent in the sense of ideological framework (allowing for fluctuations over time) and centralized planning. The chapter demonstrates the relevance of literary translation as an object of research within the broader context of Soviet culture. With a focus on the Stalin period, it draws attention to translation as a pragmatic "no man's land," open to initiatives on the part of different agents. Drawing on Toury's (2005) application of the concept of "culture planning," the chapter pays special attention to the use of interlinear trots, or podstrochniki, as an institutionalized "creative space" between source and target texts. Soviet practices, it is argued, may prompt a reconsideration of common concepts such as source language, target language and translational agency.

  • 2011. Susanna Witt. Litteratur i gränszonen, 35-52

    Studien belyser nationalitetslitteraturernas framväxt i form av översättningar och dessas  funktion  i det sovjetiska litterära systemet 1934-1936, d.v.s. under tiden mellan Första författarkongressen och  Första allunionella översättarkonferensen. Fokus ligger på översättningarnas synliggörande i det offentliga rummet. Det empiriska materialet utgörs av dagstidningen Pravda för perioden samt dokumentation ur ryska arkiv.

  • 2017. Susanna Witt. Translation Studies 10 (2), 1-17

    In the Soviet Union, practices of indirect literary translation,particularly the use of interlinear intermediates, wereinstitutionalized in the early 1930s through special terminology,specific administrative treatment within the literary apparatus, andeducational efforts. Such practices continued until the end of theSoviet era, but were intensely debated and criticized, renderingproblems of indirect translation both visible and articulated in aunique way. Drawing on archival sources, this article presents anoverview of such issues, taking into consideration the heretoforescant attention given the subject in both Western and Russianscholarship. Conceptualizing the massive Soviet experience in thefield, it aims at providing new perspectives on the phenomenonof indirect translation.

  • 2017. Brian James Baer, Susanna Witt.

    This volume represents the first large-scale effort to address topics of translation in Russian contexts across the disciplinary boundaries of Slavic Studies and Translation Studies, thus opening up new perspectives for both fields. Leading scholars from Eastern and Western Europe offer a comprehensive overview of Russian translation history examining a variety of domains, including literature, philosophy and religion. Divided into three parts, this book highlights Russian contributions to translation theory and demonstrates how theoretical perspectives developed within the field help conceptualize relevant problems in cultural context in pre-Soviet, Soviet, and post-Soviet Russia. This transdisciplinary volume is a valuable addition to an under-researched area of translation studies and will appeal to a broad audience of scholars and students across the fields of Translation Studies, Slavic Studies, and Russian and Soviet history.

  • 2019. Susanna Witt. Words, Bodies, Memory, 191-209

    This article presents the career of the Russian poet-translator Mark Tarlovskii (1902–1952) through the prism of the trickster archetype as applied to Soviet culture by Mark Lipovetsky (2011). Drawing on both published and archival material, the article traces Tarlovskii’s navigations through “cynical culture” in the Soviet 1930s and 1940s. While these were arguably survival strategies on the part of the translator, they had as yet unrecognized implications for the field of literary translation and Soviet “nationalities culture” at the time. Furthermore, these navigations help to unearth a “southern subjectivity” whose significance for Russian culture of the epoch is still understudied.

  • 2018. Susanna Witt. Vtoroj vsesojuznji s’ezd sovetskich pisatelej

    Настоящая статья посвящена русской истории перевода периода 1945–1953 гг. В позднем сталинизме становится акутальным ряд проблем, которые подспудно существовали в контексте советского перевода и раньше, но стали приобретать все более острый характер в ходе послевоенных идеологических кампаний. Новые культурно-политические ориентиры, связанные со ждановщиной, борьбой против «низкопоклонства перед Западом» и «космополитизма» ставили переводчиков, которые по самой своей профессии были вынуждены каждодневно иметь дело с «чужим», в особое положение.                                                                             

    В переводческой корпорации это время отмечено особо резкими столкновениями, чем отчасти определялись те рамки, в которых тема перевода, несмотря на перемены общего культурного климата, будет обсуждаться в последующие десятилетия. Именно в этот период начинает формироваться концепт «советской школы художественного перевода», ставшей в последствии предметом официальной гордости и едва ли не символом советской культуры. Настоящая статья основана на архивных  и журнальных материалах и посвящена выявлению тех дискурсов, в терминах которых артикулировались те или иные позиции по отношению к художественному переводу в 1947–1954 гг., то есть с момента послевоенного восстановления Секции переводчиков ССП и вплоть до II Съезда советских писателей в 1954 г.

  • 2019. Susanna Witt. Slavica antiqua et hodierna, 167-177

    This article presents an archival finding — the first parts of Byron’s Don Juan translated by Georgii Shengeli in 1953 in iambic pentameter instead of the hexameter he used for his 1947 edition of the work. The fragment is discussed against the background of the critical campaign that was launched against Shengeli in the early 1950s. It is compared with the published version  as well as with Tatiana Gnedich’s 1959 translation with particular  attention to disputed features.

Show all publications by Susanna Witt at Stockholm University

Last updated: June 4, 2020

Bookmark and share Tell a friend