Ronald Meyer began his career as translator and editor of translations from Russian at Ardis Publishers, where he held the position of senior editor throughout the 1980s. He is best known for his translations of Anna Akhmatova's My Half-Century: Selected Prose (Ardis, 1992; 3rd edition 2013), for which he was awarded a Wheatland Foundation Translation Grant, and Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Gambler & Other Stories (Penguin UK, 2010). Four stories from the Dostoyevsky collection have since been reissued in Penguin UK's Little Black Classics and Pocket Classics (2015-16).
Chekhov represents another major figure in Meyer's work as translator and scholar. Meyer translated three stories for the Norton Critical Edition of Chekhov's Selected Stories (2014), one of which, "The Death of a Government Clerk," was broadcast on Symphony Space's "Selected Shorts" (January 2018). He was commissioned by the Atlantic Theatre Company (New York) to translate Chekhov's "Cherry Orchard," which was adapted for the stage by playwright Tom Donaghy (2005). His translation of Chekhov's "Kashtanka" was adapted for a children's edition with illustrations by Gennady Spirin (Harcourt Brace, 1995). In addition, Meyer has authored two scholarly articles on Chekhov in English translation: "Chekhov's 'House with the Mezzanine' and the History of Russia Literature in English Translation" and "The Cherry Orchard in the Twenty-First Century: New Adaptations and Versions" (both 2012).
In 2017, Meyer translated the dystopian play, Numbers, by Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov. Unjustly imprisoned in Russia to silence his opposition to Russia's annexation of Crimea, Sentsov was honored in 2017 with the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award.
Meyer directs the MA Program in Russian Literary Translation at Columbia University, where he has taught since 1995. He is a member of PEN America's Translation Committee, and served on the jury for the 2016 PEN Translation Prize. Meyer was awarded a fellowship from the Likhachev Foundation (St. Petersburg) in 2011. He holds a Ph.D. in Russian Literature from Indiana University.
My Half-Century: Selected Prose by Anna Akhmatova
"My Half-Century includes the sketches of nine writers and the painter Modigliani […] as well as a number of autobiographical notes, Akhmatova's important critical studies of Pushkin, and a selection of public addresses and letters that together open a window into Russian intellectual life. This is an important, accessible volume; it is highly recommended. General readers; undergraduate; graduate."—Choice; a Choice "Outstanding Academic Book" of 1993
"If anything, Akhmatova's diary--lilke some of her other prose--is moving in its underlying awareness of the insufficiency of language to convey truth about history. Yet, in bits an dpieces, My Half Century, edited by Ronald Meyer, a scholar of Russian literature, does manage to render the times in which Akhmatova lived." —New York Times Book Review, July 11, 1993
"Ronald Meyer's edition of the (not-quite-complete) collected prose is a real achievement, and it contains translations of the articles on Pushkin plus a miscellany of diary fragments, memoirs of friends and contemporaries like Blok, Mandelstam, Pasternak, and Tsvetaeva, brief reviews and public statements, and a selection of letters. The editor, who has also supplied some 100 pages of indispensable annotations and a comprehensive index, has fashioned from this disparate material an encompassing view of the life and career of the writer. An essential outline is provided by the reliable biographical sketch which introduces the volume. Meyer has clearly profited from his collaboration with a surviving friend and confidante of Akhmatova's, Emma Gerstein, whose knowledgeable essay on Akhmatova as a prose writer is appended as an Afterword."
—Robert P. Hughes, Washington Post Book World
The Gambler & Other Stories by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, translated by Ronald MeyerPenguin Classics, 2010
Demons by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, translated by Robert A. Maguire, edited by Ronald MeyerPenguin Classics, 2008