Russian Dinosaur has an intriguing interview with Cathy McAteer about her research on translator David Magarshack and the Penguin Classics series he worked for; like everybody else, I was familiar with his versions of classic Russian literature (notably Dostoevsky), but I knew nothing about him or about the background of the translations. Turns out he was born in Riga (his dates were 1899–1977, just like Nabokov’s) and emigrated to the UK at nineteen, married the Yorkshire-born and Cambridge-educated Elsie, and approached E.V. Rieu offering his services as a literary translator; I’ll let you get the rest of the story at the link (and I’m looking forward to the book, if McAteer turns her PhD research into one), but here I want to highlight the final bit, since it is based on my request to the Dinosaur for information about pronunciation:
One last quick question (by special request): how would you actually pronounce Magarshack?
CM: This is an interesting one. I only ever hear Brits referring to him as MAGarshack, but of the Russians I know who are familiar with Jewish surnames, they say MagarSHACK. Alas, I do not know how he talked about himself here in the UK, but I guess it’s the same sort of conundrum facing anyone who says NabOkov/PasterNAK/RomAnov amongst British lay listeners..
Russian Магаршак is indeed stressed on the final syllable (it’s one of those Jewish names derived from abbreviations, in this case of Morenu Ha-rab Rabbi Shelomo Kluger), and I presume that’s how the translator said it in his head, but I suppose he bowed to popular pronunciation when he talked with people; was that popular pronunciation indeed MAGarshack? Is that how people who interacted with him at Penguin said it? If you know, I’m all ears.