Kathleen Parthé, professor of Russian and director of the Russian Studies program at the University of Rochester, has won the 2013 Book Prize for Best Scholarly Translation into English for her work editing and translating A Herzen Reader (Northwestern, 2012). The book prize is awarded annually by the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (AATSEEL). Parthé will collect her award on January 10, 2014, during the AATSEEL conference held in Chicago.
"This highly-esteemed award demonstrates the significance of Kathleen's translation and its excellence," said Susan Gustafson, Karl F. and Bertha A. Fuchs Professor of German Studies and chair of modern languages and cultures. "The AATSEEL award is an admirable and inspiring achievement of which the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures is truly proud."
A Herzen Reader features one hundred essays and editorials by Russian radical thinker Alexander Herzen (1812–1870) that were previously unavailable in English. Herzen, a leader of the Russian intelligentsia in the 1840s, founded an uncensored liberal press while living in exile in London during the 1850s and early 1860s. Two journals, The Polar Star and The Bell, were published at the press for the purpose of exposing Russian political corruption.
"I kept coming across characterizations of Alexander Herzen as one of Russia's most dangerous pre-revolutionary writers—absolutely fearless, and very imaginative in finding ways to get the truth back to a Russian audience from his self-imposed exile in Europe," said Parthé. "I was intrigued by the fact that his most provocative political essays, read by everyone from radical activists to the imperial family, had never been translated into English."
A Herzen Reader, published on the bicentennial of Herzen's birth, is currently on display in the newly-renovated Herzen House Museum in Moscow. In October, the book received a glowing review in the Times Literary Supplement, the leading international forum for literary culture.
Parthé is also the author of Russia's Dangerous Texts (Yale, 2004), The Search for a New Russian Identity (The Library of Congress, 2003), and Russian Village Prose (Princeton, 1992; Russian edition, 2004). Currently, she is working on translating and annotating Herzen's personal correspondence and collaborating with Oxford University scholar Robert Harris to publish a new, one-volume translation of Herzen's memoir—the first in 90 years.