The Seagull


The Seagull was first translated into English for a performance at the Royalty Theatre, Glasgow, in November 1909.[31] Since that time, there have been numerous translations of the text—from 1998 to 2004 alone there were 25 published versions.[31] In the introduction of his own version, Tom Stoppard wrote: "You can’t have too many English Seagulls: at the intersection of all of them, the Russian one will be forever elusive."[32] However, some early translations of The Seagull have come under criticism from modern Russian scholars. The Marian Fell translation, in particular, has been criticized for its elementary mistakes and total ignorance of Russian life and culture.[31][33] Renowned translator and author of the book The Oxford Guide to Literature in English Translation Peter France wrote of Chekhov's multiple adaptations:

Proliferation and confusion of translation reign in the plays. Throughout the history of Chekhov on the British and American stages we see a version translated, adapted, cobbled together for each new major production, very often by a theatre director with no knowledge of the original, working from a crib prepared by a Russian with no knowledge of the stage.[34]

Notable English translations

Translator Year Publisher Notes
George Calderon 1909 Glasgow Repertory Theatre This is the first known English translation of The Seagull. This translation premiered at the Royalty Theatre, Glasgow, on 2 November 1909, also directed by Calderon.[35]
Marian Fell 1912 Charles Scribner's Sons First published English language translation of The Seagull in the United States, performed at the Bandbox Theatre on Broadway by the Washington Square Players in 1916.[36] Complete text from Project Gutenberg here.
Constance Garnett 1923 Bantam Books Performed on Broadway at the Civic Repertory Theatre in 1929,[37] directed by Eva Le Gallienne.
Stark Young 1939 Charles Scribner's Sons Used in the 1938 Broadway production starring Uta Hagen as Nina,[38] as well as the 1975 film directed by John Desmond.[39]
Elisaveta Fen 1954 Penguin Classics Along with Constance Garnett's translation, this is one of the most widely read translations of The Seagull.[40]
David Magarshack 1956 Hill & Wang Commissioned for the 1956 West End production at the Saville Theatre, directed by Michael Macowan, and starring Diana Wynyard, Lyndon Brook, and Hugh Williams.[41]
Moura Budberg 1968 Sidney Lumet Productions Commissioned and used for the 1968 film directed by Sidney Lumet.[42]
Tennessee Williams 1981 New Directions Publishing Williams' "free adaptation" is titled The Notebook of Trigorin. First produced by the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company in 1981, the United States premier occurred at the Cincinnati Playhouse in 1996, starring Lynn Redgrave as Madame Arkadina. Williams was still revising the script when he died in 1983.[43]
Tania Alexander & Charles Sturridge 1985 Applause Books Commissioned and used for the 1985 Oxford Playhouse production directed by Charles Sturridge and Vanessa Redgrave.
Michael Frayn 1988 Methuen Publishing Translated Nina's famous line "I am a seagull," to "I am the seagull," as in the seagull in Trigorin's story. This was justified by Frayn, in part, because of the non-existence of indefinite or definite articles in the Russian language.[44]
Pam Gems 1991 Nick Hern Books
David French 1992 Talonbooks Used in the 1992 Broadway production by the National Actors Theatre at the Lyceum Theatre, directed by Marshall W. Mason and featuring Tyne Daly, Ethan Hawke, Laura Linney, and Jon Voight.[45]
Paul Schmidt 1997 Harper Perennial Used in the 2008 off-Broadway production at the Classic Stage Company, starring Dianne Wiest, Alan Cumming, and Kelli Garner.[46]
Tom Stoppard 1997 Faber and Faber Premiered at the Old Vic theater in London on 28 April 1997. Its United States premiere in July 2001 in New York City drew crowds who sometimes waited 15 hours for tickets.[47]
Peter Gill 2000 Oberon Books
Peter Carson 2002 Penguin Classics
Christopher Hampton 2007 Faber and Faber Used in the Royal Court Theatre's 2008 production of The Seagull at the Walter Kerr Theatre, directed by Ian Rickson and featuring Peter Sarsgaard, Kristin Scott Thomas, Mackenzie Crook and Carey Mulligan.[48]
Benedict Andrews 2011 Currency Press Used in the 2011 production at Sydney's Belvoir St Theatre, starring Judy Davis, David Wenham, Emily Barclay, Anita Hegh, Gareth Davies, Dylan Young and Maeve Dermody, adapted for an Australian setting, with minor dialogue changes.[49][50]

This content is from Wikipedia. GradeSaver is providing this content as a courtesy until we can offer a professionally written study guide by one of our staff editors. We do not consider this content professional or citable. Please use your discretion when relying on it.