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Professor Emeritus Produces New Translation of "Crime and Punishment"

November 3, 2017

Michael Katz and his most recently published work.

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – Michael R. Katz, the C.V. Starr professor emeritus of Russian and east European studies, and W. W. Norton and Company have just released a new, 624-page translation of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment.

Katz, the former dean of the Middlebury Language Schools, has produced “a rare Dostoevsky translation…a major contribution to the dissemination and understanding of the Russian novel,” according to Professor William Mills Todd III of Harvard University.

Steve Donoghue of “Open Letters Monthly” calls it “the best, truest translation of Dostoevsky’s masterpiece into English. It’s a magnificent, almost terrifying achievement of translation, one that makes its predecessors, however worthy, seem safe and polite.”

While Crime and Punishment has been translated into English before, Katz’s version “breathes fresh life into this ageless classic in a sparkling new translation, with novel insights into the linguistic richness, subtle tones, and cunning humor of Dostoevsky’s magnum opus,” according to the publisher. “He ably recreates the feeling of the original Russian for the English reader, allowing the text to evoke the same stirring emotional responses as the author intended.”

Katz has translated more than a dozen Russian novels into English including works by Tolstoy, Jabotinsky, and Turgenev. In 2014 for Yale University Press, Katz produced The Kreutzer Sonata Variations containing a new translation of Lev Tolstoy’s controversial novella plus the previously neglected (and never before translated into English) “counterstories” written by the author’s wife and son.

The professor emeritus has retired from the Department of Russian, yet he continues to teach with the Bread Loaf School of English. Last summer he offered a comparative literature course titled “War and Peace and The Brothers Karamazov,” and in 2016 he taught “The Art of Literary Translation.”

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