Saint Petersburg: V tipografii Snegireva i Ko, 1836. , VI, 213,  pp. 21,5x13,5 cm. In modern half-leather with covers marbled; gilt lettering on spine. Some soiling of pages, otherwise near fine.
Early Russian translation into prose. Very rare.
The story of Othello turned up in Russian publications in 1809, as a prose adaptation that I. Vel’iaminov had created from an alteration by French playwright Jean-François Ducis. Then, some fragments were published selectively, as well as an adaptation for mime ballet.
This translation was undertaken by writer and literary critic Ivan Panaev (1812-1862). Panaev debuted in 1834 with some stories. His works stood out primarily by female characters. Contemporaries remembered him mostly as a journalist. In particular, in 1947, together with Nekrasov, Panaev revived ‘Sovremennik’. There, under the pseudonym “New poet”, Panaev wrote
monthly witty feuilletons, first critical, then about life in St. Petersburg. However, his translation of Othello is particularly interesting. In his memoirs, Panaev confessed: “Like all young people, I was passionate about the theater <...> At that time I began to read Shakespeare <...> I didn’t know English and got to know Shakespeare in French translation. ‘Othello’ made the same impression on me as “Notre Dame de Paris” by Hugo once. For several weeks in a row I only raved about ‘Othello’ <...> The desire to see this drama on the Russian stage haunted and tormented me.
Finally, I decided to translate it, inviting my relative and friend M. Gamazov who knew English quite well... Gamazov helped me a lot and then checked the translation with the English text”.
His translation of the tragedy was chosen by Panaev’s relative, actor Yakov Bryansky for his show. He influenced Panaev to delude the public: “We will put “from English” on the poster; this is necessary, otherwise they will think that this is a remake of Ducis”. As a result, an advertising poster for the first staging of ‘Othello’ stated this knavery. The book of the translation was released shortly afterwards, with the same claim on the title page.
The only copy is located in Folger Shakespeare Library.
Price: $2,500.00Status: On Hold