Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Comparative Literature


André Aciman

Committee Members

Elizabeth Beaujour

Giancarlo Lombardi

Subject Categories

Comparative Literature | French and Francophone Literature | Russian Literature | Translation Studies


Dostoevsky, Balzac, Eugéenie Grandet, translation studies, literary translation


The focus of this study in comparative criticism is a close analysis of Dostoevsky’s first literary publication - his 1844 translation of the first edition of Balzac’s Eugе́nie Grandet (1834) and the stylistic choices that he made as a young writer while working on Balzac’s novel. Through the prism of close reading this dissertation analyzes Dostoevsky’s literary debut in the context of his future mature aesthetic style and poetics. Comparing the original and the translation side by side, the dissertation focuses on the omissions, additions and substitutions that Dostoevsky brought into the text. It demonstrates how young Dostoevsky’s free translation of Eugénie Grandet predicts the creation of his own literary characters, themes, and other aspects of his literary output that are now recognized as Dostoevsky’s signature style. The present study investigates the changes that Dostoevsky made while working on Balzac’s text, “inscribing himself,” using Venuti’s term, into the text, and analyzes the complex transplantation of Balzac’s imagery, motifs, and character portraiture from Eugénie Grandet into Dostoevsky’s own texts later on.

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