The Bilingual Muse analyzes the work of seven Russian poets who translated their own poems into English, French, German, or Italian. Investigating the parallel versions of self-translated poetic texts by Joseph Brodsky, Vladimir Nabokov, Marina Tsvetaeva, Wassily Kandinsky, Elizaveta Kul’man, Andrey Gritsman, and Katia Kapovich, Adrian Wanner considers how verbal creativity functions in different languages, the conundrum of translation, and the vagaries of bilingual identities. Wanner argues that the perceived marginality of self-translation stems from a romantic privileging of the mother tongue and the original text. The unprecedented recent dispersion of Russian speakers over three continents has led to the emergence of a new generation of diasporic Russians who provide a more receptive milieu for multilingual creativity.
Swiss-born Adrian Wanner, a graduate of Zurich University and Columbia University, teaches Russian and Comparative Literature at Pennsylvania State University, USA. In addition to four scholarly monographs written in English he has published multiple German verse translations of Russian, Romanian, and Ukrainian poetry.