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13.   Aleksei Remizov’s English-language Translators: New Material

Marilyn Schwinn Smith

Aleksei Remizov, even more so than other writers of the post-revolution emigration, relied on both competent translators and prestigious promoters for entry into the British book market. His works did not fall within the genres familiar to British readers from either English or Russian literature. His unique language was a challenge even to Russian readers. As one of his translators said, ‘After all, to translate Remizov is not the same as translating some Turgenev or Tolstoy’.1 The story of Remizov’s introduction to British audience—the transit of the émigré’s manuscript to a bound volume distributed to British booksellers—follows, almost like a script, the process described by Olga Kaznina.2

The Remizov story also incorporates a vignette of British modernists, who looked to the Russian ‘moderns’ for inspiration and direction. Virginia Woolf’s interest in the Russians is but one example of the increasing intellectual awareness of Russian culture in Britain. Remizov’s English-language translators add another dimension to this period of British engagement with Russia. Drawing together a large cast of characters interesting in their own right, the effort to introduce Remizov to a British audience is broadly representative of an important movement in British culture and consciousness. The cast is composed of Russian émigrés, commonwealth immigrants, native Britons and individuals of dual national heritage. As a whole, these translators and promoters, whose individual paths intersect in sometimes surprising ways, testify to the expansion of British interests beyond the confines of an insular culture into a pan-European modernism.

The time-span of this cross-cultural episode is, broadly, 1914-1947. The prime movers include Harold Williams, Dmitrii Mirskii, Lev Shestov, George Reavey and Stefan Schimanski among the promoters; John Cournos, Alec Brown, Jane Harrison, Hope Mirrlees and Beatrice Scott among the translators. The initial phase consists of Williams’s and Cournos’s early work during the Great War—a period of intense interest among the British in their new ally. Next, a concentration of effort on Remizov’s behalf occurs during the mid-1920s—a decade characterized by a coming-to-terms with post-war reality. Mirskii and Brown sought to alter the taste of the ‘British Public’—to replace British enthusiasm for Tolstoi, Dostoevskii and Chekhov with a modernist taste for Remizov. Harrison, meanwhile, translated Remizov’s animal tales as a counter to the extremes of rationalism she saw behind the catastrophe of modern warfare. Later, in the aftermath of World War II, Scott, Reavey and Schimanski, variously involved in the small magazines of an international modernism, brought out the final Remizov translation discussed in this chapter. Much is already known about the figures involved in the first two groups, for whom I supply a few previously un-remarked details. Less information has been gathered about the last. Finally, I introduce a new constellation of figures, adding a new dimension to the picture of Remizov and his English-language translators at the heart of European modernism.

Cournos is in many ways exemplary of Remizov’s English-language translators. Born Ivan Grigor’evich Korshun (Johann Gregorevich in his own version) in Zhitomir in 1881, his first language was Yiddish; he studied Russian with a tutor at home, together with German and Hebrew. At age ten, he emigrated to Philadelphia, where English became his primary language. In June 1912, Cournos moved to London, where he gained immediate entry to the literary and art worlds, freelancing as an interviewer and critic for American and, later, British newspapers, and launching his own literary career as a poet among the British Imagists, later, as a novelist. Cournos was not alone among Remizov’s promoters and translators to be bi- or multi-lingual, or to have spent his earliest childhood in Russia, or to be deeply involved in a pan-European, modernist culture.

Pride of place goes to Cournos, whose claim to have ‘introduced [Remizov] to the English-reading public with The Clock’3 refers to his having been the first to translate a novel. Remizov had, technically, been introduced to British readers by Harold Williams with his encomium to Remizov—‘the most interesting of contemporary Russian writers of fiction’ in his influential Russia and the Russians (1914).4 Cournos first remarked on Remizov in the context of the wartime debate over German ‘civilization’ versus Russian ‘barbarity’. In the 24 July 1915 issue of Harper’s Weekly—thus roughly contemporaneously with Williams’s book—Cournos offered a précis and translated the final three paragraphs of Remizov’s tale ‘The Guest’. Cournos asserted that, more than Dostoevskii or Tolstoi, Remizov’s tale best represented the Russian characteristic of thinking with one’s conscience, in contrast to the German habit of mind—a penchant for efficiency and thoroughness.5 In February 1916, Cournos published his translation of Remizov’s tale (‘The Betrothed’) and a brief essay on Remizov’s style (again contrasting Remizov with Dostoevskii) in the Imagist periodical The Egoist, thus introducing the Russian author to the journal’s influential modernist contributors, who included James Joyce, Ezra Pound, H. D. and T. S. Eliot.6

That same year, Cournos drafted a translation of The Clock. When the two men met during the revolutionary winter of 1917-18 in Petrograd, Cournos received ‘authorization’ to publish his translation,7 and possibly received a copy of ‘Beloe serdtse’, a story whose publication reflects the personal connection between author and translator, and their shared experience of war-time, revolutionary Petrograd.8 Another consequence of this visit was Cournos’s fantasy re-creation of his experiences in the city. ‘London under the Bolsheviks’ (1919) contains a composite portrait of Russian writers under the Bolsheviks.9 The revised versions of this portrait, appearing in the 1924 introduction to The Clock and in Cournos’s 1935 autobiography, make clear that the composite portrait had been based largely on what Cournos observed during his visits to Remizov’s flat.10 Publication of The Clock concluded Cournos’s relationship with Remizov. Remizov, however, may not have finished with Cournos. In 1932, he composed one of his handwritten and illustrated albums, copying out Cournos’s English translation. Remizov titled this album ‘Kourinas’, a word related to neither ‘chasy’ nor ‘clock’, but rather to the name of its translator. Remizov annotated the text: ‘Byessinia—Devil’s land; Kourinassi—Hen-noses. Play on words’.11 Cournos himself pointed to the malapropism of his adopted surname, Cournos (short nose, French) as opposed to the physically more appropriate birthname, Korshun (hawk, Russian). The title ‘Kourinas’ may be Remizov’s sly commentary on his failure to receive royalties for The Clock from his ill-named translator.12

The émigré Slavist, Dmitrii Mirskii began negotiations with Chatto & Windus in May 1924 for a translation of The Fifth Pestilence and sent his chosen translator, the 24-year-old Alec Brown, to Remizov in Paris. Negotiations were complicated by the poor sales of The Clock, the possibility of censorship and the relative shortness of the text. When the book eventually appeared in 1927, it included a second novella, Stratilatov, and was distributed by another press.13 Throughout these difficulties, Brown shuttled between England—where he consulted with Mirskii—and his home in Belgrade—where he consulted with Remizov’s close friend, Evgenii Anichkov—visiting Remizov in Paris when possible. All the while, the two maintained a prolific correspondence on the subject of Brown’s translations and other literary ventures which continued into the 1930s. That same spring of 1924, Mirskii met two Englishwomen, the British classicist and Slavophile Jane Harrison and her companion-in-Russian Hope Mirrlees, thus initiating the much noted and productive friendship between Harrison and Mirskii.14

The back-story to these friendships and consequent publications can be dated to 1916, when Harrison wrote: ‘I am now embarking on the lives of Russian Saints. […] There is a modern Remezov [sic], I am taken by—but he uses too many hard words’.15 That same year, Middleton Murry and S. Kotelianskii translated and published a collection of Shestov’s essays, from which Harrison cited approvingly Shestov’s remark: ‘we want not so much a science as an art of life’.16 After retiring from Newnham College, Cambridge, and moving to Paris in 1922, Harrison met Shestov. They were socializing actively by April 1923. Shestov enlisted Harrison’s financial assistance for Remizov’s move from Berlin to Paris at the end of the year. Remizov arrived in Paris on 8 November 1923 and Shestov introduced Harrison to Remizov on 3 February 1924.17

At the end of March 1924, Mirrlees and Harrison lunched in the London home of Logan Pearsall Smith. Among the guests were Raymond Mortimer and ‘Prince Mirsky’. Mirrlees writes: ‘Logan & the Prince were very anxious to persuade Jane & me to translate some Russian books; but we refused with an oath. However, Jane thought better of it & sent a p.c. to say she’d be willing to do some Remizov, one of the writers the Prince is particularly anxious should be known in England’.18 The pair began, however, with a translation of the 17th century Life of Archpriest Avvakum, which was published in October 1924 by Harrison’s friends Virginia and Leonard Woolf at The Hogarth Press.19 Harrison then undertook the Remizov translation—four short tales, anchoring the collection The Book of the Bear— immediately on completion of the Avvakum translation. This collection of Russian animal tales continued Harrison’s ongoing advocacy of what the British could learn from the Russians—the revival of a consciousness more attuned to the psyche’s interior and religious capacities, qualities she found in Remizov’s writing.20 Since Avvakum had been placed with a Bloomsbury house, Harrison’s and Mirrlees’s agent successfully negotiated with a new house managed by Bloomsbury friend, David Garnett—the Nonesuch Press—for a 1926 publication timed for the Christmas market. The Book of the Bear was Harrison’s final work engaged with Russia, but she continued her correspondence with the Remizovs until her death in 1928.

The Remizov translations produced in the 1920s reflect a small, but not insular, community. A web centered on Remizov in Paris emanated outwards, connecting his cosmopolitan translators. Brown’s dedications—of Stratilatov to Mirskii and of The Fifth Pestilence to Remizov’s great friend, Evgenii Anichkov—is emblematic. These few details—Brown consulting with Remizov in Paris, with Mirskii in London, with Anichkov in Belgrade—chart a topography of relations between émigré Russians and British modernists. From the beginning, the figures involved in translating Remizov were multi-lingual, of diverse nationality and national status, and operated internationally. Cournos, born in Russia, subsequently an American citizen residing in England, harnessed his knowledge of Russian to promote his own literary aspirations. An Englishman of literary ambition, Brown adopted the Slavonic literatures of Russia and Serbia, as the Russian-born Cournos had adopted English. Cournos had made Shakespeare’s homeland his own base, as Brown made Serbia, both men spending considerable time in Paris. A younger generation was to continue this pattern.

After the intensity of efforts to publish English translations of Remizov during the 20s, the 30s was a barren decade, followed by the darkness of the war years. Thus, it must have been a delightful surprise when, on 16 January 1947, Remizov received a letter from Beatrice Scott in Oxford announcing the publication of her translation, On a Field Azure, with an introduction by George Reavey. This title was the sixth issue of Stefan Schimanski’s ‘Russian Literature Library’, a series only established in 1945.21 Scott also mentioned in passing, perhaps expecting that the name would impress Remizov, ‘During the war, I also spoke to Herbert Read [the well known poet, art critic] and he was interested in a collected volume of your fairy tales’. Remizov clearly made due note of this, writing next to one of his drawings on an envelope: ‘Herbert Read/skazki’.22

Born in London of a British father and Russian mother, Scott was well-versed in, and sophisticated about, contemporary Russian literature, as evidenced by her correspondence with Read as well as by the choice and quality of her translations. In her letter to Remizov, she was not entirely forthcoming about Read’s interest in publishing him. In 1943, Schimanski had directed Scott to contact Read—a partner at Routledge—about translating for the firm.23 Scott wrote to Read on 22 May:

I understand from Mr. Schimanski that you contemplate publishing a volume of Pasternak, and I feel very strongly that representative volumes of single authors are particularly needed. I am very keen myself to prepare and translate a selection from the work of Remizov and hope you may be interested in this. As you will know his work is of a high standard and very varied, and since he has had a great influence on younger Russian authors his work should be known in England, which it is not. The selection would of course depend partly on the length allowed for the book. The following is a possible selection:-

(1) Extracts from Remizov’s diary, printed in EPOPEYA, a literary magazine.



(4) Fairy tales.

(5) Folk tales.

(6) Dreams and prose lyrics.

(7) The short novel SISTERS OF THE CROSS.

  Yours sincerely, Beatrice Scott.

After further discussion and personal meetings, Read concluded that Scott’s projected publication was not feasible:

Dear Mrs. Scott,

Since your visit the other day we have found a copy of the translations from Remizov by Wishart & Company, published in 1927. The volume includes ‘The Fifth Pestilence’ and ‘The Tale of I. S. Stratilatov’, which you propose to translate. This volume, as I told you, was a failure, and we feel that a similar volume at the present time would not stand any better chance. Remizov’s work seems to be of a type which is almost untranslateable, and even when translated does not convey the linguistic qualities upon which the virtues of the original so much depend.

In the circumstances we do not feel that we can encourage you to go ahead with a translation of the further volume of Remizov’s writings. We should, however, always be pleased to consider any other proposal which you might care to make.

Yours sincerely, [HR]24

Presumably, Read eventually indicated interest in publishing a volume of fairy tales, a genre of considerable popularity. What is clear is that Scott herself was the initiator and, when she moved with Schimanski to Lindsay Drummond, was able to proceed with On a Field Azure under more hospitable circumstances.

In her letter to Remizov of 1947, Scott also expressed hope that he was not ‘displeased that one of your books should have been translated in England without your previous knowledge’. Simultaneously, she asked to become the ‘sole authorized translator into English at this time’ of ‘the second and third volumes of ‘Olia’’. There is a certain irony in the fact that On a Field Azure was published without Remizov’s knowledge. A work dear to his heart which he was eager to see published in translation, V pole blakitnom, published in 1922, was the first installment of Remizov’s fictionalized biography of his wife. When the Russian text was finally published in 1927, it was re-titled Olia.25 German, French, Croatian, Bulgarian, and Slovenian translations appeared between 1924 and 1931. Just as Remizov had not known of Scott’s translation, she had not known of the manuscript translations completed in the mid-20s.

Returning to that active month of May 1924, Hope Mirrlees wrote home that ‘a young man called Dixon’ was helping explain the Avvakum text. Since the text was both difficult to obtain and its language difficult, Shestov had enlisted Remizov to read to the translators from his personal copy and assist them with its Old Russian.26 Dixon, evidently, served as a translator between Remizov and the Englishwomen during these readings. Mirrlees continued: ‘He is going to translate the Remizov book I told you about last time—we have promised to touch it up, as his English is not as good as his Russian’.27 That book was the first two parts of Olia. At the end of the year, Remizov requested Brown to polish Dixon’s manuscript. Brown agreed to look at the draft, but counter-proposed that he, himself, be granted translation rights.28 Apart from an announcement appended at the end of the 1927 Russian edition of Olia for a forthcoming English translation titled Olga, Brown’s translation remains un-remarked.29 Aside from Mirrlees’s and Brown’s letters, Dixon’s translation is totally unknown.

Even so, Remizov continued to associate Dixon with the book, inscribing the copy now held by the Amherst Center for Russian Culture: ‘To Vladimir Vasil’evich Dikson, without whom this book would not have appeared. 23.7.27. Paris. Humbly dated. Aleksei Remizov’.30 Other than the author of an unknown English-language translation of Olia, who was Vladimir Dixon?31 He had much in common with Remizov’s other translators. His mother was Russian, as was Reavey’s and Scott’s; like Cournos, Reavey and Schimanski, his earliest youth was spent in Russia; like Cournos, Brown and Reavey, he wrote poetry and prose; but, unlike any others in this cast, he was in business. His interest in modernist art engaged him in correspondence with Ezra Pound on the subject of music and mathematics.32 To Remizov, however, he was, to adopt the language of Avvakum, like a ‘ghostly’ son.33

The Dixon translation prompts a few remarks on Remizov’s position vis-à-vis that nexus of European modernism—James Joyce. As famously reported by Nabokov, Joyce seemed to think ‘Remizov mattered as a writer!!’34 There are various routes by which Joyce may have formed such an opinion of Remizov. Had Joyce happened to read Brown’s translation of Stratilatov, he may have noted the following: ‘It is easy, in fact, to imagine [Remizov] working as legend has made James Joyce work, with various coloured crayons for the various passages, to aid the mind in composing the preconceived pattern’.35 Or, he may simply have heard about the Russian author in the offices of left-leaning journals, such as the Nouvelle revue française, transition and This Quarter. Andrew Field comments that, apart from Nabokov, Remizov was the only other writer of the emigration ‘adopted and fully accepted by French avant-garde circles in Paris’.36 He may have learned of Remizov from Reavey, whom Joyce would have known in the early 30s through their association with transition, or through their mutual friendships with Beckett. Reavey was a frequent visitor to Remizov’s flat, beginning in 1930, just when Remizov wrote in his introduction to the 1930 posthumous edition of Dixon’s verse and prose: ‘Of all the contemporary foreign writers who are comparable to Dixon in perception and in their means of expressing ‘life,’ I would name Max Jacob and James Joyce’.37 Reviewing this book, B. Sosinsky suggests that the prose in the volume indicates that Dixon had learned from Joyce, with whom Dixon was personally acquainted.38 S.S. Khoruzhii notes that Joyce’s familiarity with Remizov’s work may have come through Paul Leon, Joyce’s secretary. Or, Joyce may have known Remizov through Dixon himself, as the connecting link between Joyce and the Russian literary Paris.39

Joyce’s esteem for Remizov may have been rooted in an awareness, whatever its origin, of the Russian author’s deep regard for the word, for his subversive use of words, for the mystifications of the often pseudonymous author, for just the sort of exuberant playfulness of Remizov’s mock-literary society, ‘The Great Free Order of the Apes’, channeled through Remizov’s ‘ghostly’ son. I refer to the letter published in 1929, over the signature Vladimir Dixon, which opens: ‘Dear Mister Germ’s Choice’.40 There is an aura of mystification to Joyce’s response. He and the publisher, Sylvia Beach, fostered the notion that Joyce himself was the author of this so-Joycean bit of prose, when they knew full well the author was its signatory. Joyce clearly thought highly of the letter. Otherwise, why would he have encouraged the mis-attribution? Joyce’s regard for ‘Mister Germ’s Choice’ may be the first indication of his later esteem for one of the more fabulous prose experimenters of the Russian emigration, an author who indulged in comparable, public mystifications.


  1   Alec Brown to Aleksei Remizov, 5 January 1925, Aleksei and Serafima Remizova-Dovgello Papers, The Amherst Center for Russian Culture (Amherst College, Amherst, MA), hereafter Remizov Papers). I express my gratitude to Dr. Stanley J. Rabinowitz, for his assistance in working with the Center’s holdings.

  2   The categories, promoters and translators, are abstracted from criteria for successful entry into the Anglophone book market laid out by Olga Kaznina. The first criterion, exposure to British readers through English-language publications, might take the form of positive comparison with authors already known to and appreciated by the British, mention in introductions to works by those authors or in surveys of contemporary Russian literature. Such publicity was but the first step toward establishing a presence in the British market and attracting competent translators. The second criterion was well-reviewed and good translations, even reviews of books translated into languages commonly known among the English, such as German or French. See Olga Kaznina, Russkie v Anglii (Moscow, 1997), especially pp. 365-6 and 385.

  3   John Cournos, Autobiography (New York, 1935), p. 305; Aleksei Remizov, The Clock (London, 1924).

  4   Harold Williams Russia of the Russians (London, 1914), p. 217. See also Charlotte Alston, Russia’s Greatest Enemy?: Harold Williams and the Russian Revolutions (London, 2007).

  5   John Cournos, ‘Kultur and the Russian Conscience’, Harper’s Weekly (24 July 1915), p. 82.

  6   Aleksei Remizov, ‘The Betrothed,’ trans. John Cournos, The Egoist, III, no. 2 (1 February 1916), p. 23; John Cournos, ‘Aleksei Remizov’ (with woodcut of Aleksei Remizov by Roald Kristian), ibid., pp. 28-9.

  7   ‘I had wished to tell you that there is a good prospect of my finding for my translation of ‘Chasy’ which I made in 1916 and which I had told you about when I was in Petrograd during 1917-18’ (Remizov Papers, John Cournos to Aleksei Remizov, 30 May 1924).

  8   Cournos’s translation appeared in the January 1921 issue of The Dial, which raises the question of how he obtained the text. Hélène Sinany says the following of Shumy goroda: ‘Il est probable qu’une partie de ces texts a été publiée entre 1918 et 1921 en périodiques. Malheuresement on n’a pu retrouver toutes les references’. Hélène Sinany, Bibliographie des Oeuvres de Alexis Remizov (Paris, 1978), p. 54.

  9   John Cournos, London under the Bolsheviks: A Londoner’s Dream on Returning from Petrograd, (London [1919]), (Russian Liberation Committee’s publications, no. 4), pp. 3-12, and Foreword (pp. 11-12). In all probability, fellow journalist with the Anglo-Russian Commission in Petrograd and long-time friend of Remizov, Harold Williams had introduced Cournos to Remizov. Cournos remained in touch with the Williamses, Harold and Ariadna, who had evacuated from Petrograd, arriving in London, via Newcastle, just a week after Cournos in 1918. Ariadna played a leading role in the Russian Liberation Committee and edited their publications.

10   The 1924 publication of The Clock reprinted the three previously published short pieces: ‘The Betrothed’ (The Egoist), ‘Easter’ (The Westminster Gazette) and ‘A White Heart’ (The Dial). ‘Easter’ (‘Svetlo-Khristovo-Voskresenie’) was first published in Rus’ (a daily newspaper) on 11 December 1903 and re-issued in Sochineniia, VII, ‘Otrechennye povesti’ in 1912, where Cournos is most likely to have found it. ‘The Betrothed’ (‘Suzhenaia’) first appeared in Sketing-rink (a weekly sports, literary and arts, and humour magazine) in 1910 and was re-issued in Dokuda i balagur’e (russkie zhenshchiny) in 1914, where Cournos is most likely to have found it. ‘A White Heart’ (‘Beloe serdtse’) first appeared in Shumy goroda (Revel’, 1921). See Sinany, Bibliographie.

11   See Images of Aleksei Remizov. Drawings and Handwritten and Illustrated Albums from the Thomas P. Whitney Collection (Amherst, MA, 1985), p. 69.

12   ‘As soon as I know how the book is selling I will try to send you a few pounds. What little I have received in advance does little more than pay for the typing of the book, my agent’s commissions, and odd expenses. I did the translation in 1916, and spent no little in sending it around. Then again I revised it, and had the manuscript retyped. However, if I make anything out of the book, you will have a share’ (Remizov Papers, John Cournos to Aleksei Remizov, 24 November 1924).

13   Aleksei Remizov, The Fifth Pestilence together with The History of the Tinkling Cymbal and Sounding Brass. Ivan Semyonovitch Stratilatov, trans. Alec Brown (London, 1927). See also A.B. Rogachevskii, ‘Neizvestnye pis’ma D.P. Sviatopolka-Mirskogo serediny 1920-kh godov’, Diaspora: Novye materially, II (St Petersburg, 2001), pp. 349-67; Robert Hughes, “… S Vami Beda – ne Perevesti’. Pis’ma D.P. Sviatopolka-Mirskogo k A.M. Remizovu. 1922-1929’, Diaspora: Novye Materialy, V (Paris and St Petersburg, 2003), pp. 335-401.

14   See G.S. Smith, ‘Jane Ellen Harrison: Forty-Seven Letters to D.S. Mirsky, 1924-1926’, Oxford Slavonic Papers, NS XXVIII (1995), pp. 62-97.

15   Jane Harrison to Gilbert Murray, 22 January 1916. Harrison Papers 1/1/33, Newnham College Archive, Cambridge University. I thank Anne Thomson for her assistance in using the Harrison Papers. Harrison does not mention which Remizov text she has been reading, but since his name comes up in association with lives of the Saints, she may have been reading from his 1907 Limonar’—a modernist re-working of saints’ lives and medieval apocryphal texts. During World War I Harrison studied Russian with Paul Boyer at the École des langues orientales in Paris.

16   Lev Shestov, Anton Tchekhov and Other Essays by Leon Shestov, trans. J.M. Murry and S.S. Koteliansky (London, 1916); Jane Ellen Harrison, Aspects, Aorists and the Classical Tripos (Cambridge, 1919), p. 33; see also M.S. Smith, Bergsonian Poetics and the Beast: Jane Harrison’s Translations from the Russian’, Translation and Literature, XX (2011), pp. 314-33 (p. 325).

17   Jane Harrison to Jessie Stewart, 27 April 1923 (Shestov to tea); Henri Bergson to Jane Harrison, 9 May 1923 (cannot come to meet Shestov), Harrison Papers; Lev Shestov to Hope Mirrlees, 30 July 1923 (reply to letter, continuing conversation on Pascal), Mirrlees Papers, Newnham College Archive, Cambridge University. I thank Anne Thomson for assistance in using the Mirrlees Papers. Three letters Shestov wrote to Remizov in September mentioned the promise of funds for the move. Lev Shestov to Aleksei Remizov, 3 September 1923, 12 September 1923, 13 September 1923. Remizov Papers.

18   Hope Mirrlees to Lina Mirrlees, 29 March 1924, Mirrlees Papers 2/1/3. I thank Sandeep Parmar for bringing the relevant Mirrlees correspondence to my attention.

19   The Life of Archpriest Avvakum by Himself, trans. Jane Harrison and Hope Mirrlees (London, 1924). For a brief discussion of the translation, see Marilyn Schwinn Smith, ‘Bears in Bloomsbury: Jane Ellen Harrison and the Russians’, in Maria Cândida Zamith and Luisa Flora (eds.), Virginia Woolf: Three Centenary Celebrations (Porto, 2007), pp. 125-9. For a discussion of the political context within which the translation was published, see Jean Mills, ‘The Writer, the Prince and the Scholar: Virginia Woolf, D.S. Mirsky, and Jane Harrison’s Translation from Russian of The Life of the Archpriest Avvakum, by Himself—a Revaluation of the Radical Politics of the Hogarth Press’, in Helen Southworth (ed.), Leonard and Virginia Woolf, the Hogarth Press and the Networks of Modernism (Edinburgh, 2010), pp. 150-75.

20   See M.S. Smith, ‘Bergsonian Poetics and the Beast’.

21   Both Schimanski and Reavey were Russian-born and British-educated, intensely active in European modernist circles (often in Paris), and worked assiduously to promote Russian literature in England, whether émigré or Soviet. For more about the work of Schimanski, Reavey and Read in connection with Pasternak, see Lazar Fleishman, ‘Boris Pasternak i gruppa “Transformation”’, in Ot Pushkina k Pasternaku (Moscow, 2006), pp. 715-30.

22   Aleksei Remizov, On a Field Azure, trans. Beatrice Scott (London 1946); Beatrice Scott to Aleksei Remizov, 12 January 1947, Remizov Papers.

23   In the early 1940s, Schimanski consulted for Herbert Read at Routledge for Russian titles and had brought Beatrice Scott into the fold, as one of his Russian translators. Scott was to translate ‘The Safe Conduct’ for the first significant publication of Pasternak’s prose in England. It was a major undertaking, involving Pasternak’s family in Oxford and orchestrated by Schimanski. Read was an enthusiastic supporter of the publication. But when the other Routledge directors were slow to give final approval, Schimanski accepted an offer to assume a position with significant discretion in terms of publication at Drummond’s new publishing firm. The Pasternak title, The Collected Prose Works, appeared as a Lindsay Drummond imprint in 1945. It was at this time, and under these circumstances that Schimanski’s ‘Russian Literature Library’ came into being, and Schimanski’s translators went with him to the new house. For more about the work of Schimanski, Reavey and Read in connection with Pasternak, see Lazar Fleishman, ‘Boris Pasternak i gruppa ‘Transformation’’. I am grateful to Prof. Fleishman for bringing his essay to my attention.

24   University of Reading, Special Collections: Archives of Routledge & Kegan Paul. UoR RKP 202/4. I thank Nancy Jean Fulford for assistance with the Routledge archives.

25   Aleksei Remizov, Olia (Paris, 1927).

26   ‘Miss Harrison pishet mne, chto Vy dali-taki ei Vashego Avvakuma. Naverno po khodataistvu Shestova?’, Mirskii to Remizov, 20 May 1924, in Hughes, ‘…S Vami Beda – ne Perevesti’, p. 356. Remizov described his contribution to the translation in a short article published in ‘Poslednikh novostiakh’, 2 March 1939: ‘V 1924 godu Avvakum zagovoril po-angliiski. Perevod sozdavalsia v Parizhe miss Kharrison Elenoi Karlovnoi, i ee uchenitsei Khop Mirrliliz Nadezhdoi Vasil’evnoi v sotrudnichestve S.P. Remizovoi-Dovgello i D. P. Sviatopolka-Mirskogo. Moe uchastie bylo v zvanii ‘chtetsa’: intonatsiia i ritm vshepchut i samoe zakovyristoe i neprivychnoe – ne ‘literaturnoe’ – zhivuiu rech’, kotoruiu vsegda mozhno predstavit’ ‘knizhno’ i perevesti na zhivuiu rech’ drugogo iazyka’, ‘Avvakum (1620-1682)’, pp. 235-7, in A.M. Remizov, ‘Neizdannyi ‘Merlog’’ (ed. by Antonella d’Amelia), in Minuvshee. Istoricheskii Al’manakh, III (Moscow, 1991), pp. 199-261 (p. 236). As late as November 1924, that is, no longer related to the Avvakum project, Shestov was inviting Remizov to his flat where Harrison could hear him read. Lev Shestov to Aleksei Remizov, 11 November 1924 and 13 November 1924. Remizov Papers.

27   Hope Mirrlees to Lina Mirrlees, [29] May 1924. Newnham, Mirrlees Papers. Dixon evidently remained in contact with Harrison and Mirrlees beyond this first meeting over Avvakum. A copy of their The Book of the Bear is among the Dixon Papers (Addendum) held by the Amherst Center for Russian Culture. On 16 May 1927, Harrison wrote to Gilbert Murray, ‘Also the whole of my bear-dream has been published in Russian!’ Harrison Papers 1/1/38. Newnham College Archive, Cambridge University. The ‘bear-dream’ appeared in Jane Ellen Harrison, Remininscences of a Student’s Life (London, 1926), pp. 77-8. The Russian translation appeared in Dixon’s review. Vladimir Dixon, ‘O liubvi Rossii’, in Versty, III (1927), pp. 181-3.

28   Alec Brown to Aleksei Remizov, 5 January 1925. Remizov Papers. When publication of Stratilatov and The Fifth Pestilence was jeopardized, Brown had lobbied hard for its postponement, proposing instead that Chatto & Windus publish first his translation of V pole blakitnom—a text more accessible to British readers.

29   Remizov, Olia, n. p.

30   Idem. The inscription appears on the page preceding the title page, which otherwise shows only the ‘Vol’ logo. Volume donated to the Amherst Center for Russian Culture as part of the Dixon bequest.

31   Vladimir Dixon. b. 16 March 1900, Sormovo, Russia – d. 17 December 1929, Paris, France. Educ.: Podolsk Gymnasium, June 1917; B.S. M.I.T 1921; M.S. Harvard University 1922; Auditor for the Singer Company in Europe. See John Dixon, ‘Ecce Puer, Ecce Pater: A Son’s Recollections of an Unremembered Father’, James Joyce Quarterly, XXIX, no. 3 (1992), pp. 485-509.

32   See Robert Spoo, ‘The Letters of Ezra Pound and Vladimir Dixon’, James Joyce Quarterly, XXIX, no. 3 (1992), pp. 533-56.

33   Remizov undertook the preservation and publication of Dixon’s literary papers after his untimely death in 1929. A manuscript English translation titled Olia is held in the Dixon Papers (Addendum) at the Amherst College Center for Russian Culture. On 3 November 1932, Reavey wrote to Remizov from London, saying that he had met Brown and arranged for him to transmit the manuscript of Olia (George Reavey to Aleksei Remizov, 3 November 1932. Remizov Papers). On 12 November 1932, Brown wrote: ‘Dear Aleksei Remizov, If Reavey had not been born, and founded the European bureau, I would not have learned your new address’ (Alec Brown to Aleksei Remizov, 12 Novrmber 1932. Remizov Papers). The text under discussion may have been Dixon’s draft.

34   See Andrew Field, Nabokov: His Life in Part (New York, 1977), p. 222.

35   Alec Brown, ‘Preface’, in Aleksei Remizov, The Fifth Pestilence, p. xvii.

36   Field, Nabokov, p. 205.

37   Aleksei Remizov, ‘Introduction’, trans. Elizabeth Meyendorff Myers, in Edward Manouelian, ‘Aleksei Remizov and Vladimir Dixon’, James Joyce Quarterly, XXIX, no. 3 (1992), pp. 559-62 (p. 561).

38   ‘Vozmozhno, chto etomu iskusstvu Vl. Dikson nauchilsia u Dzhoisa, s kotorym byl v lichnykh otnosheniiakh.’ (Review of ‘Vladimir Dikson. Stikhi i proza. S predisloviiem Alekseiia Remizova’, Chisla, IV (1931), p. 270).

39   S.S. Khoruzhii, ‘“Uliss” v russkom zerkale’, in James Joyce, Sobranie sochinenii, III (Moscow, 1994), pp. 363-605, http://www.james-joyce.ru/articles/ulysse-v-russkom-zerkale.htm [accessed 15.10.2012]. I thank Ekaterina Turta for bringing this publication to my attention.

40   Appended to a 1929 collection of essays on Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake, Our Exagmination Round His Factification for Incamination of Work in Progress (Paris, 1929). The manuscript of the ‘litter’ is re-produced on pp. 517-20 of John Whittier-Ferguson’s ‘The Voice behind the Echo: Vladimir Dixon’s Letters to James Joyce and Sylvia Beach’, James Joyce Quarterly, XXIX, no. 3, pp. 511-31. See also, Thomas A. Goldwasser, ‘Who Was Vladimir Dixon? Was He Vladimir Dixon?’, James Joyce Quarterly, XVI, no. 3 (1979), pp. 219-22.