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Like with Tver and the 'complicated' or 'exotic' modes of address, translators approach these references in different ways. Nekrasov was a poet, publisher and critic, and a friend and colleague of many of the great Russian thinkers and writers of the 19th century (Dostoyevsky, Turgenev, Belinsky to name but three).In this and the following chapters, I will attempt to illustrate these issues, and engage with the thought process and value judgments behind the translation process. However, despite his important role in the literary culture of his time, his standing in contemporary English-speaking culture is comparatively non-existant.This isn't the only reference to Nekrasov in The Seagull.Another aspect of the Russian text that translators often discuss, underestimate, or neutralise is the quotations of Russian poetry, song and folksong, mostly given by Chekhov to Dorn and Sorin.As a result, the audience will not understand this aspect of Chekhov's style.It also contibutes to Nekrasov's muted international profile; ignorance of his poetry in the English-speaking world will continue, and his works will remain out of print.Both of these footnotes focus on the ideological background to Nekrasov's poetry, and how knowledge of these aspects should affect the audience's view of Arkadina.Worrall's note calls Nekrasov 'a civic poet with a social conscience...
This is chapter 4, which will be placed after the chapter discussing the reference to Tver. In the previous chapter, it was illustrated that unexplained reference can lead to elements of cultural communication and information being rendered arbitrary and empty.
Indeed, Alexander and Sturridge's neutralisation of the line to 'she's capable of...
reeling off poetry at you' has essentially the same thematic effect, as to the general English-speaking audience, Nekrasov will default to 'a poet', and by extension the image of a pretentious old actress dropping lines of poetry in conversation will prevail.
The original line quoted by Chekhov does not contain a personal pronoun.
This opens up the line to various interpretations, including 'my youth', 'thy youth', 'her youth' and 'our youth'.