Alice in Wonderland in the USSR

Check out this fascinating history of the Soviet edition of Alice in Wonderland:

An official responsible for non-Soviet socialist literature was leafing through the list of books recently published in the countries of the "people's democracy," as the Eastern European satellite states were called back then, when he stumbled upon the Bulgarian publication of a book about a girl called Alice. Thinking it was a Bulgarian book, he ordered a Russian translation to be done and published in Sofia for future importing into the Soviet Union (this was a standard procedure for such publications, which were sponsored by Soviet money). The Bulgarians were surprised, and it took some effort and persuading to find someone to translate the book from English and not from Bulgarian.

That translator happened to be Nina Demurova, a university instructor of English and translation who had long been fascinated by Carroll. Thus, the first postwar Russian version of "Alice" appeared in 1967 in Sofia, with illustrations by Bulgarian artist Petar Chuklev; Nina Demurova translated the bulk of the text, while the poems were flamboyantly translated by Dina Orlovskaya. It turned out that Demurova, a relative unknown at the time, had unwittingly outmaneuvered several famous translators who were fighting for the right to translate "Alice" at prestigious children's publishing houses in Moscow. (There's also a persistent urban legend that Demurova is actually Bulgarian.)


(via Making Light)