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A.M. Gorky Institute
of World Literature
of the Russian Academy of Sciences

IWL RAS Publishing

A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature
of the Russian Academy of Sciences


Povarskaya 25a, 121069 Moscow, Russia



Types of publications


The article discusses the history of the Swedish translations of F.M. Dostoyevsky’s Notes from Underground and compares all the four existing translations, namely by Cecilia Borelius (1948), Ulla Rosen (1985), Barbara Lönnqvist (2010), and Bengt Samuelson (2017). The article also considers either the prefaces or afterwords written in most cases by the translators themselves. Cecilia Borelius’ translation may be labelled as careless and ignoring the original, Ulla Rosen’s text is more accurate, however, not without mistakes, Barbara Lönnqvist’s translation is quite thorough and provides most of comments, whereas Bengt Samuelson’s work is most creative, with non-dictionary translations, often departing from F.M. Dostoyevsky’s text. After analyzing the history of translations and what each translator introduced into the Swedish tradition of translating Notes from the Underground, the article compares how the concepts most important for Dostoevsky were transferred into Swedish, particularly, such as “underground”, “living life”, “beautiful and high”, “natural person and conscious person”, “will / freedom”, etc., as well as the most difficult words to translate (for example, “notes”) and some references (biblical — for example, “gnashing of teeth” — and literary — for example, “Spanish king”). It is concluded that the history of translations of the story Notes from Underground illustrates both the general translation tendency towards greater care and accuracy in conveying the features of the original, and the increased attention to Notes from Underground as particular work.

Information about the author:

Kseniia R. Andreichuk, PhD in Philology, Senior Researcher, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 a, 121069 Moscow, Russia.


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  • Keywords: F. Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground, translations, Swedish.


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