The Witch of Konotop (written in 1833 and published in 1836–37) is a beloved, classic Ukrainian comic novella that is little known outside of Ukraine. Part of the reason for this has been the difficulty in translating its complex stylistic levels that range from archaic Old Church Slavonic to colorful, colloquial Ukrainian. It shares several stylistic similarities to Mykola Hohol’s (aka Nikolai Gogol’s) Ukrainian horror tales in Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka (1833). These include a folksy, rambling narrator; comical situations with moral lessons; insignificant detail; ironic asides; as well as a thematic focus on Ukrainian folk belief in witches and demons.
This book has been published with the support of the Translate Ukraine Translation Program.
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Michael Naydan is Woskob Family Professor of Ukrainian Studies at The Pennsylvania State University. He has published over 50 articles on literary topics and more than 80 translations in journals and anthologies. He has translated, co-translated, or edited more than 40 books of translations, including Mark Andryczyk’s Ukraine 22: Ukrainian Writers Respond to War (Penguin Books, 2023), Zelensky: A Biography (Polity Press, 2023), Yuri Vynnychuk’s The Night Reporter: A 1938 Lviv Murder Mystery (Glagoslav Publications, 2021), Selected Poetry of Bohdan Rubchak: Songs of Love, Songs of Death, Songs of the Moon (Glagoslav Publications, 2020); Maria Matios’s novel Sweet Darusya: A Tale of Two Villages and Yuri Vynnychuk’s novel of the Shoah Tango of Death (both with Spuyten Duyvil Publishers, 2019). His own novel about the city of Lviv Seven Signs of the Lion appeared with Glagoslav Publications in 2016. He has co-translated several of these and other volumes with Alla Perminova. He has received numerous prizes for his translations including the George S.N. Luckyj Award in Ukrainian Literature Translation from the Canadian Foundation for Ukrainian Studies in 2013.
Alla Perminova is a professor of English at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and a practicing literary translator from and into Ukrainian, English, and Spanish. She received her doctoral and postdoctoral degrees in translation studies from Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv where she worked as a full professor for fifteen years. She is Oleh Olzhych National Literary Contest first prize winner (1997), Fulbright senior scholar (The Pennsylvania State University, 2012–2013), the author of 70 scholarly articles, translator and/or editor of 20 books, presenter of over 30 talks at international conferences. Her personal philosophy as a translator and a researcher is discussed in her book A Translator’s Reception of Contemporary American Poetry (in Ukrainian, 2015), in which she promotes the reception model of literary translation.