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The epoch of Romanticism and protests against the unrestricted freedom of translation in England, Germany and France.


In the second half of the eighteenth century, especially during the last decades, the controversy between the opponents of the strict word-for-word translation, and those who supported the free sense-to-sense translation (or simply the unrestricted free interpretation) continued unabated. In fact, new vigorous opponents appeared within both trends, the most outspoken among them were J.Campbell and A.F.Tytler in England, and the noted German philosopher and author J.G.Herder (1744-1803). Each of them came forward with sharp criticism of both extreme trends in belles-lettres translation and each demanded, though not always consistently enough, a true and complete rendition of content, and the structural, stylistic and artistic peculiarities of the belles-lettres originals under translation. These proclaimed views regarding the requirements of truly faithful artistic translation were also shared by several authors, poets and translators in other countries, including France, where free/unrestricted translation was most widely practised. Campbell's and Tytler's requirements, as can be ascertained below, are generally alike, if not almost identical. Thus, Campbell demanded from translators of belles-lettres the following: 1) to give a just representation of the sense of the original (the most essential); 2) to convey into his version as much as possible (in consistency with the genius of his language) the author's spirit and manner, the very character of his style; 3) so that the text of the version have a natural and easy flow1(Chief Things to be Attended to in Translating, 1789).

A.F.Tytler's requirements, as has been mentioned, were no less radical and much similar, they included the following: 1) the translation should give a complete transcript of the ideas of the original work; 2) the style and manner of writing should be of the same character with that of the original; 3) the translation should have the ease of an original composition.2(The Principles of Translation, 1792). These theoretical requirements to belles-lettres translation marked a considerable step forward in comparison to the principles which existed before the period of Enlightenment and Romanticism. At the same time both the authors lacked consistency. Campbell, for example, would admit in his Essay that translators may sometimes render only the most essential of the original and only as much as possible the author's spirit and manner, the character of his style. This inconsistency of Campbell could be explained by the strong dominating influence during that period of unrestricted freedom of translation.

Much more consistent in his views, and still more persistent in his intention to discard the harmful practice of strict word-for-word translation as well as of the unrestricted freedom of translating belles-lettres works was J.G.Herder (1744-1803). He visited several European countries including Ukraine and studied their national folksongs, the most characteristic of which he translated into German and published in 1778-79.

Herder himself, a successful versifier of songs, understood the inner power of these kinds of literary works and consequently demanded that all translators of prose and poetic works render strictly, fully and faithfully not only the richness of content, but also the stylistic peculiarities, the artistic beauty and the spirit of the source language works. His resolute criticism of the unrestricted freedom of translation and verbalism found strong support among the most outstanding German poets such as Gothe and Schiller among other prominent authors. He also found support among the literary critics in Germany and other countries. This new approach, or rather a new principle of truly faithful literary translation, was born during the period of Enlightenment and developed during early Romanticism (the last decades of the eighteenth century). It began slowly but persistently to gain ground in the first decades of the nineteenth century. This faithful/realistic principle, naturally, was not employed in all European countries at once. After centuries long employment the word-for-word and unrestricted free translation could not be discarded overnight. As a result, the free sense-to-sense translation/unrestricted free translation as well as free adaptation (or regular rehash) continued to be widely employed in Europe throughout the first half of the nineteenth century and even much later. In Russia and in Ukraine, free sense-to-sense translation/free adaptation was steadily practised almost uninterruptedly both during the first and second halves of the nineteenth century. Among the eighteenth century Russian poets who constantly resorted to free sense-to-sense translation and free adaptation were Lomonosov, Sumarokov, Trediakovskii and others. In Ukraine, free sense-to-sense translation in the second half of the eighteenth century was occasionally employed by H.Skovoroda (in his translations from the Latin). During the nineteenth century the number of free interpretations increased considerably, among the authors in Russia being Zhukovskii, Pushkin, Katenin and Vvedenskii1, and in Ukrainian P.Hulak-Artemovs'kyi, P.Bielets'kyi-Nossenko and others. Every translator mostly employed free sense-to-sense translation or even free adaptation of foreign poetic and prose works. Only Zhukovskii would sometimes change his former practice and try to versify some poetic works as, for instance, Byron's Prisoner of Chilton (1819) faithfully, i.e., conveying full sense, the poetic meter and the artistic merits of the original work.

24. The revival of translation in Ukraine in the 14th-16th centuries (translation of the Bible and other ecclesiastic works).

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25. The Kyiv Mohyla Academy and development of translation in the 17th-18th centuries Ukraine (I. Maksymovych, F. Prokopovych, D. Tuptalo, H. Skovoroda).

A considerable intensification was witnessed in Ukrainian translation during the seventeenth century, which could have been influenced by the initial activities in the Kyiv Mohyla Academy (founded in 1632), where translations were at first employed to further teaching processes. Thus, in the first half of the seventeenth century there appeared translations from the Greek (G.Nazianzinus' works, translated by Skulskyi and D.Nalyvaiko) and from Latin (L.A.Seneca's works) translated by K.Sakovych. These translations were of higher quality though they were mostly free adaptations as those versified by a certain Vitaliy (P.Monotrop's Dioptra) or anonymous free interpretations, exemplified with the Book of Psalms and some other works among which were also poems of the Polish poet K.Trankwillian-Stawrowski. Apart from the ecclesiastic works some previously translated works were accomplished {The Physiologist). The seventeenth century also witnessed the appearance of the work by Archbishop Andreas of Kessalia (1625) on the Revelation (Apocalypse) in Lavrentiy Zizaniy's translation. The seventeenth century in Ukraine was also marked by regular versifications of prominent Italian and Polish poets of late Renaissance period as Torquato Tasso (10 chapters of his poem The Liberated Jerusalem, which was translated on the basis of the perfect Polish versification of the masterpiece by PKokhanowski, as well as by a versified translation (accomplished by Kulyk) of one of G.Boccaccio's short stories from his Decameron.

During the second half of the seventeenth century after the domination over Ukraine was divided between Russia and Poland (according to the Andrussovo treaty of 1667), translation practically survived only in the Kyiv Mohyla Academy. Active for some time was Symeon Polotskyi (1629-1680), who left a small number of free versifications of Polish Psalms written by PKokhanowski, and D.Tuptalo (1651-1709), who translated some poems of anonymous Polish poets. Several renditions were also left by S.Mokiyevych, who belonged to Mazeppa's followers. He accomplished several free versifications of some parts of the Old and New Testament, as well as the Bible of St.Matthew. Besides these free translations of some Owen's English epigrams were performed by the poet I. Welychkovskyi (? -1701).

The last decades of the seventeenth century and the first decade of the eighteenth century were far from favourable for Ukraine, its culture or translation. Today only a few known versifications exist, which were mainly accomplished by the Kyiv Mohyla Academy graduates Ivan Maksymovych (1651-1715) and his nephew and namesake I.Maksymovych (1670-1732). The uncle left behind his versification of an elegy by the fifteenth century German poet H.Hugo. No less active at the beginning of his literary career was also the Mohyla Academy lecturer Feophan Prokopovych (1681-1736), who, when he moved to Russia, became subservient to the Russian czar Peter I and helped suppress Ukraine. The Psalms, and poetic works of the Roman poets Ovid, Martial and of the French Renaissance poet Scaliger (1540-1609) were often translated at the Academy as well.

The first decades of the eighteenth century were marked by an unbearable terror imposed on the Ukrainian people by Peter I. It was the period when the first bans on the Ukrainian language publications (1721) were issued. Ukrainian scientists and talented people were either forced or lured to go to the culturally backward Russia. With the enthroning of Catherine II the Ukrainian nation was completely enslaved. It was no wonder that Ukrainian translation and belles-lettres in general fell into obscurity as a result of these oppressions.


The official Russian language eventually took the upper hand. As a result, even the great philosopher H.Skovoroda had to perform his essentially free translations more in Russian than in bookish Ukrainian. His best known translations today are: an ode of the Flemish poet Hosiy (1504-1579), excerpts from Cicero's book On Old Age and Plutarch's work on Peace in One's Heart (translated in 1790). More prolific in translation than H.Skovoroda was his contemporary and fellow a Kyiv Mohyla Academy alumnus K.Kondratovych who translated Ovid's elegies (1759), twelve speeches by Cicero, Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Cato's distichs () and some other works by ancient Greek and Roman authors which remained unpublished, however.

26. I. Kotlyarevskyis free interpretation of Virgils Aeneid.

The real outbreak and a regular epoch making event in Ukrainian literature, culture and translation happened at the very close of the eighteenth century, in 1797, when the first parts of I.Kotlyarevskyi's free adaptation () of Virgil's /'o'came off the press in colloquial Ukrainian. The appearance of this brilliant work marked a significant historical turning-point in Ukrainian literature and culture. It had started a quite new period in the history of Ukrainian literary translation as well. Kotlyarevskyi's free adaptation of the Aeneid immediately began the eventual rejection of further translations in old bookish Ukrainian. It paved the way to a spontaneous, and uninterrupted functioning of spoken Ukrainian in original literature and in translated works. The first to have employed the manner of free interpretation after Kotlyarevskyi at the beginning of the nineteenth century was the poet and linguist P.Bilets'kyi-Nosenko who made a free adaptation of Ovid's epic poem under the title (1818), which was published only in 1871. The artistic level of this free adaptation, however, could not compete in any way with the already popular free adaptation of the Aeneid by I. Kotlyarevskyi. As a result, it remained unpublished for more than five decades and consequently was unknown to Ukrainian readers.

27. The methods of translation of P. Hulak-Artemovskyi, Ye. Hrebinka, L. Borovykovskyi, P. Biletskyi-Nosenko in the first half of the 19th century.

Much more successful were free interpretations/free adaptations accomplished at a high literary level by the well-known Ukrainian poet P.Hulak-Artemovskyi. His free interpretation of I. Krassitski's Polish short poem under the title The Landlord and His Dog (1818) which he extended to more than fifty lines to become a regular poetic narrative, brought him recognition in Ukrainian literature. Free unextended translations were also made by this poet of Mickiewicz's ballads (Mrs. Twardowska), Gothe's poems (The Fisher), Horace's odes and some Psalms (from Old Slavic).

Every translator (Hulak-Artemovski, Biletski-Nosenko) mostly employed free sense-to-sense translation or even free adaptation of foreign poetic and prose works. Only Zhukovskii would sometimes change his former practice and try to versify some poetic works as, for instance, Byron's Prisoner of Chilton (1819) faithfully, i.e., conveying full sense, the poetic meter and the artistic merits of the original work.

A positively different approach existed among translators in the first half of the nineteenth century to Russian national poetry which was sometimes almost faithfully versified. It can be observed in Borovykovskyi's translation of Pushkin's poems. Though not without traces of free translation (cf. ), both these versifications convey almost completely the content of Pushkin's stanzas, the iambic or choraic rhythm, their vocalic or consonantal lines, their ease and melody. Therefore, despite some minor divergences, these translated works already bear all the characteristic features of a faithful versification. Consequently, the first half of the nineteenth century may be considered to have been the starting date in the history of faithful Ukrainian versification/translation.

Almost the same year with Hrebinka's published versification of Pushkin's poem Poltava, in a publishing house in Budapest was produced the historic Rusalka Dnistrovaya collection (1837) composed by M.Shashkevych, I. Vahylevych and Y.Holovats'kyi. This collection contained apart from these authors' own verses, translations by Vahylevych from the Czech (Kraledvorsky Manuscript), and from Old Ukrainian (The Tale of the Host of Ihor), as well as Y.Holovats'kyi's translation of Serbian songs. This collection marked the beginning of regular belles-lettres translations in Halychyna.


Participating in the process of unification of Ukrainian literature and culture into one national stream were also some other prominent figures of the first half and of the first decades of the second half of the nineteenth century. Among these were some already well-known Ukrainian poets and authors as Y.Hrebinka, M.Maksymovych, L.Borovykovs'kyi, Y.Fed'kovych (Austrian and German poetry), O.Shpyhots'kyi (Mickiewicz's works), K.Dumytrashko (The War between Frogs and Mice, from ancient Greek), M.Kostomarov (Byron's works), M.Staryts'kyi and others. All the above-mentioned poets and authors, though generally amateurish translators themselves, nevertheless inspired the succeeding men of letters to turn to this field of professional activity. Apart from these regular men of the pen, taking part in the process of translation were also some noted scientists as O.Potebnya and I. Puliuy and some others.

: 2017-02-28; : 597 |




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