As Yann Martel might have said, if he'd read this terrific profile of the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation team in Humanities (link via BookForum), which notes among other things, that they have 'finished' translating the works of Tolstoy. Surely a good excuse to revisit some of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky's works. I will also have to indulge in the pleasure of a second shot at The Brothers Karamazov:
The first Pevear-Volokhonsky collaboration was conceived as a way of addressing a commonly cited critique of [Constance]Garnett and her successors. Husband and wife, each having worked independently as translators, initially joined forces in order to better emphasize the overlooked irony in Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. “Constance Garnett didn’t understand that he was funny. And every time he was funny—which he very often is, even at the most heartbreaking moment—she removed it,” Richard claims. “The humor transforms the darkness of what he’s describing. And so that all got omitted for a long time. We wanted to restore that; that was our first mission.”
It was also interesting to learn that Garnett, a classics student when at Cambridge, began studying Russian "while enduring a difficult pregnancy, in the 1890s."
* I haven't read The Life of Pi, though I have read the author's note, where Martel posts away a failed manuscript to a fictitious address in Siberia (with a fictitious return address in Bombay) and then asks himself this question (in full, "What now, Tolstoy? What other bright ideas do you have for your life?")