07:48The Walt Whitman Archive
Here we make available three early Russian translations of Whitman, Konstantin Balʹmont's Pobegi Travy (1911), a translation of Whitman's "Pioneers! O Pioneers!" (1918), and Kornei Chukovsky's Uot Uitmen: Poeziia Gradushchei Demokratii (1919). Balʹmont's work was initially contributed to the literary journal Vesy; he later published Pobegi Travy as the first book-length translation of Whitman's poems into Russian. The rare chapbook edition of Pionery—translated by an individual known only by the initials "S. M."—illustrates the avant-garde mixed-media experimentation that was a hallmark of post-revolutionary Russian culture. Chukovsky's Uot Uitmen was first published in 1907. Like Leaves of Grass itself, Chukovsky's translation went through several revisions and editions (the Archive makes available the fourth edition), and these versions were vital in establishing Whitman's reputation in Russia.
To provide broad perspective on Russian translations, we offer both Stephen Stepanchev's chapter "Whitman in Russia" from Walt Whitman and the World, ed. Gay Wilson Allen and Ed Folsom (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1995), pp. 300-338, and a translation from the Russian of Elena Evich's article, "Walt Whitman in Russian Translations: Whitman's 'Footprint' in Russian Poetry." To introduce individual Russian texts by Balʹmont and Chukovsky, we include Martin Bidney's article "Leviathan, Yggdrasil, Earth Titan, Eagle: Balʹmont's Reimagining of Walt Whitman," reproduced with permission, and Irwin Weil's "Memories of Chukovsky, as an Extraordinary Man and as a Poetic Translator," which was written specifically for the Whitman Archive.
Introduction and context
Pobegi Travy (1911)
Uot Uitmen: Poezziia Gradushchei Demokratii (1919)
The Walt Whitman Archive is an electronic research and teaching tool that sets out to make Whitman's vast work, for the first time, easily and conveniently accessible to scholars, students, and general readers. Whitman, America's most influential poet and one of the four or five most innovative and significant writers in United States history, is the most challenging of all American authors in terms of the textual difficulties his work presents. He left behind an enormous amount of written material, and his major life work, Leaves of Grass, went through six very different editions, each of which was issued in a number of formats, creating a book that is probably best studied as numerous distinct creations rather than as a single revised work. His many notebooks, manuscript fragments, prose essays, letters, and voluminous journalistic articles all offer key cultural and biographical contexts for his poetry. The Archive sets out to incorporate as much of this material as possible, drawing on the resources of libraries and collections from around the United States and around the world. The Archive is directed by Kenneth M. Price (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) and Ed Folsom (University of Iowa).
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