More Scott for Russians

We recently acquired two very rare translations into Russian of Walter Scott’s epic poems The Lay of the Last Minstrel and Rokeby. Scott was probably the most popular foreign author in Russia in the 19th century.


The Lay of the Last Minstrel was first published in 1805. The Russian translation (RB.s.2828), in prose rather than verse, appeared in 1823. The translator was Mikhail Kachenovsky (1775-1842), a professor at Moscow University and editor of the journal Vestnik Evropy (Herald of Europe). We only know of two other copies of this translation. One is held in Helsinki by the National Library of Finland, and one in St Petersburg at the National Library of Russia.

The first English edition of Rokeby appeared in 1813 and was soon translated for readers on the Continent.  The Russian translation (RB.s.2826-2827), by an unidentified translator, appeared in 1823. The Russian version of the poem is in prose, just like that of The Lay of the Last Minstrel. The National Library of Russia in St Petersburg holds a copy, but we have traced no other copies in western European libraries.

Find out more about Sir Walter Scott  in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (accessible through NLS Licensed Digital Collections)

The Walter Scott Digital Archive maintained by Edinburgh University Library is a treasure trove of information. Have a a look at the pages about The Lay of the Last Minstrel and Rokeby.