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Sunday Morning News

`Gone With the Wind' Translated Into Russian

Aired March 25, 2001 - 8:32 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, from the worst of Hollywood to one of the undisputed best films ever made we go. "Gone With the Wind" won 10 Academy Awards in 1940. The Margaret Mitchell novel it was based on has been translated into 32 languages. And now at last you can read it in Russian, and thanks to the effort of our guest today.

Tatiana Kudriavtseva took 18 years to get the novel translated into Russian. It's a great pleasure to have you with us.

TATIANA KUDRIAVTSEVA, RUSSIAN EDITOR: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: Eighteen years, you have the determination and the perseverance of Scarlet.

KUDRIAVTSEVA: Well, I wanted so much for the Russian readers to read it and to know the little bit more about the history of the United States, because it's an important part of your history, the Civil War.

O'BRIEN: Now, in the old Soviet days, literature, of course, was tightly controlled.

KUDRIAVTSEVA: Yes.

O'BRIEN: Was -- is this a big reason why it took so long to bring this book of literature into Russian?

KUDRIAVTSEVA: Exactly.

O'BRIEN: Was it banned?

KUDRIAVTSEVA: Exactly. It was not banned, but it was not given permission to be published and the permission was to be given by the central party committee that was the master of the country. So everything depended on them.

O'BRIEN: Well, why do you suppose they had a problem with "Gone With the Wind?" What do you think was in there that upset the communists?

KUDRIAVTSEVA: Oh, I know what upset the masters of the country. First of all, they decided that Margaret Mitchell did not correctly depict the relations between the owners and the slaves, that the relations weren't so warm to be true. And secondly, they did not like the fact that Margaret Mitchell described the Ku Klux Klan as an organization that was established to defend the white women against the blacks because to the mind of the communists, this organization was a racist organization and it could not be depicted like that.

O'BRIEN: Well, let me ask you this. The themes and just the general story of "Gone With the Wind, " does it resonate with Russians? Do they identify with the stories and not unlike sort of an American Tolstoy novel?

KUDRIAVTSEVA: You see that, the whole thing happened in Russia. I mean the publication, the possible publication of "Gone With the Wind" happened in Russia after the Second World War. So we were survivors of the war, like Scarlet, and this novel was ringing a lot of bells for us. We saw the ravages, we saw the fires, we saw the pilloried villages, we saw the poverty and the hunger. And that appealed greatly to us. And then "Gone With the Wind" is considered in Russia as American "War and Peace."

O'BRIEN: All right, help us briefly with a few idioms. Fiddly dee, how did you do fiddly dee into Russian?

KUDRIAVTSEVA: Brasholte (ph).

O'BRIEN: All right. And frankly, Scarlet, I don't give a damn? What does -- how does that sound in Russian?

KUDRIAVTSEVA: Chezna govanas Scarlet (ph), minienda plevatt (ph).

O'BRIEN: All right, thank you so much, Tatiana Kudriavtseva. Congratulations on an impressive effort and I wish you well as you continue. Are you going to continue translating novels?

KUDRIAVTSEVA: Oh, yes. I do. I am translating Norman Mailer now, "The Time of Our Times."

O'BRIEN: Wow.

KUDRIAVTSEVA: It's going to appear very soon, I hope. And I have translated Joyce Carol Oates and William Styron (ph) and many other not so important writers. But I like American literature and I work with it all the time.

O'BRIEN: It's a great pleasure having you here with us.

KUDRIAVTSEVA: Thank you very much.

O'BRIEN: All right.

KUDRIAVTSEVA: Thank you so much.

O'BRIEN: Congratulations on your efforts. We'll be -- all right.

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