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The Twelve Chairs - Ilf and Petrov

Posted: Fri 16. Feb 2018, 14:42
by Paulgato
I would like suggest a reading of The Twelve Chairs by Ilf and Petrov., published 1928. The two authors died in 1938 and 1942 respectively, so their works should be out of copyright in Europe, though not in the USA.

I'm not sure of the position regarding the various translations. I've seen an English translation online, which is either in breach of copyright, or else has been made freely available by the translator(?) The translation is at and the translator is John Richardson.

Any language would be great, although I myself would only be able to read it in English. I originally studied the book in Russian at school, but my Russian is nowhere near good enough! (Well, I could probably read a chapter or two, and that might even be fun for me, but a native speaker would of course be better, and that might be more fun for Russian listeners!)

Re: The Twelve Chairs - Ilf and Petrov

Posted: Fri 16. Feb 2018, 21:54
by Cori
Welcome to Legamus!

Unfortunately the translation at is in breach of copyright (pretty much everywhere in the world.) It was published in 1961, and there's no suggestion that it was especially posthumous. (We focus on authors who died in 1947 or earlier.)

There's a version published in 1930 (also online in breach of copyright here) as Professor Dame Elizabeth Hill died in 1996. I think Doris Mudie pre-deceased her, though that won't make a difference for many years to us.

I think original Russian will be the best way to go with this, though finding a copy of the text that's clearly public domain might be challenging.

Re: The Twelve Chairs - Ilf and Petrov

Posted: Sat 17. Feb 2018, 01:38
by Paulgato has the Russian text in various e-book formats, including .pdf and .txt ... tulev.html

Can we assume that since both authors were dead by 1942, that the original Russian text is now out of copyright and in the public domain? Excuse my ignorance on legal matters, but is it more complicated than counting 70 years from their deaths and then using whichever text is available? Russian copyright is life+70, according to Wikipedia.

(Was that your (excellent) reading of To The Lighthouse, btw? It was that reading which brought me to Legamus via a Librivox forum post I think.)

On reflection, my own Russian reading skills are really not good enough to contribute these days. Do we have at Legamus some fluent Russian speakers, or would it perhaps be better to ask on the Librivox forum? Idid recently listen to a truly wonderful English reading of a Turgenev novel by a gentleman with a Russian accent, who also has made readings in Russian there.

Re: The Twelve Chairs - Ilf and Petrov

Posted: Sat 17. Feb 2018, 13:09
by Cori
Hey, yes, the Woolf is mine. :D How lovely, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

My worry with online texts is that they can be altered, which in theory confers a new copyright on them. This happens where languages have changed over time, so words are 'updated' to the modern usage. Also where words are censored / bowdlerised. The copyright might not be actively pursued, but we can't take the risk.

If that site is clear that it's transcribed the text from an original version, without changes, and they don't claim a new copyright, then it ought to be fine to use.