Убить пересмешника…

The 2006 Russian Language World Classics edition of To Kill A Mockingbird! I love it. I don’t understand a single word of it, but I love it. Let’s look at the cover image first.

russian cover image 2

So we’ve got Jem looking like an unkempt cowboy Tom Sawyer and Scout looking like…I don’t even know who. Molly from American Girl? (Did you know they retired Molly from American Girl? So sad.) Someone who would rather be on a steamboat than mucking around with her brother Tom Sawyer in the front yard? Which is the front yard of a house of unidentifiable origin – theirs? The Radley’s? Miss Maudie’s? Who knows. Obviously, or at least probably, influenced by the movie. Scout’s got Mary Badham hair going on. I love it. It’s the most straightforward illustrated cover I own.

So I bought this edition off of Amazon for more money than I care to admit. I bought it in 2012 but check out the due date slip!

russian due date

Who in the years of our Lord 2008-2009 was still using due date slips? The library I bought the book from! Yes, it’s a former library copy and I assume the book’s four check outs over 1.5 years is the reason it got deaccessioned. Sad for the Russian library users who use this library, but happy for me, as I get this great book I can’t read.

Which library?

russian bookplate

Handy bookplate! Thanks Lynn Public Library. 891.7 is “Russian literature” in the Dewey Decimal System, btw.

Lynn Public Library is located in Lynn, MA. Its main library was built in 1900 and is a National Historic Site. It is the only library serving a population of 90,000+. According to the library website, it is in a consortium of 28 other area libraries. A well served city, I’d guess.

(The library also apparently just switched online catalogs. Having recently switched OPACs in my own library system, I offer my condolences to the Lynn Public Library circulation staff.)

According to unverified information on Wikipedia, Lynn, MA was home to one of the largest Russian-speaking communities in the North Shore area of MA in the early 1900s. Only 3.77% of the population is Russian or Russian-speaking now. Unfounded conjecture suggests this is why Убить пересмешника… only got checked out four times, but who can say for sure? Maybe it just wasn’t a very good translation. Or book.

Back to the book: it has footnotes! Here is one of them:

russian footnote

According to Google Translate “сражение во время перой мировой войны” means “battle during the First World War”. Useful historical information for readers! I would translate the other footnotes but I had to pick out the letters in an online Russian keyboard one by one just to translate that footnote and I have too much homework to spend time translating the rest of the footnotes that slowly. I assume the other footnotes contain more historical information for readers.

I do wonder if the translation kept Scout’s occasional lapses in grammar intact as well as the racial slurs. I wonder that with all my non-English editions. I would really like to know how the book is presented in all these different languages, how it differs and what is the same. Has anything been sanitized? Has anything been made worse? Not being a natural polyglot, I will likely never know.

russian tkam

2006. (Bought in 2012).



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