Diversity and transliteration

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October 5, 2003 by AK

I suppose it can be taken for an established truth that Russia’s elites have long been more diverse ethnically than Russia proper’s population at large. The same applies to its literary elite; the names of a few major Russian authors are clearly non-Russian in origin, so that transliterating them from Russian into English mechanically, according to the standard rules (assuming their existence), does not seem the best method. Should we write Gertsen or Herzen; Fet or Foeth; Khodasevich or Chodasiewicz; Blok or Bloch; Mandelshtam or Mandelstam; Shvarts or Schwartz? My own choice is a matter of taste and even caprice.

UPDATE: LanguageHat comments and corrects me.


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