Literary Translation in Russia
Edited By Leon Burnett and Emily Lygo
Katharine Hodgson Heine and Genre: Iurii Tynianov’s Translations of Heine’s Poetry
The only poet Iurii Tynianov ever translated was Heinrich Heine. Tynianov’s engagement with Heine’s work developed over a number of years, running in parallel with his work as a literary scholar and historical novelist. It resulted in the publication of three volumes of translations, one of which appeared in 1927, the other two in 1934.1 This chapter will look at ways in which Tynianov’s translations, compared with those of earlier translators, produced a Russian Heine who was both close to the original and thor- oughly contemporary. It will also consider the contemporary resonance of Tynianov’s translations, notwithstanding the fact that the historical target of Heine’s satire was nineteenth-century Germany, a hidebound, reaction- ary, hierarchical society dominated by bureaucracy. A significant proportion of the poetry Tynianov translated was drawn from Heine’s satirical work, which had not been particularly well served by previous Russian translators. Not long after the first translations appeared in the 1830s, between 1848 and 1855 there was an all but complete ban on publishing Heine’s work in Russia.2 Once it became possible to pub- lish his work again, the tsarist censorship meant that nineteenth-century 1 Satiry, translated and with an introduction by Iurii Tynianov (Leningrad: Academia, 1927); Germaniia: zimniaia skazka (Leningrad and Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo khudozhestvennoi literatury, 1933); a second edition appeared in 1934; Stikhotvoreniia (Leningrad: Izdatel’stvo pisatelei v Leningrade, 1934). 2 According to German Ritz, in 150 Jahre russische Heine-Übersetzung (Bern: Peter Lang, 1981), 47, the first published Russian translations of Heine’s poetry were by Fedor...
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