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A LITTLE STARLING TOLD ME: A MODERN DAY TRANSLATION OF OLGA MARTYNOVAS SOGAR PAPAGEIEN BERLEBEN UNS BY DOROTHEA TROTTER A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Humanities New College of Florida in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Arts Under the sponsorship of Dr. Glenn R. Cuomo Sarasota, Florida January, 2013
DEDICATION I dedicate this thesis to my mother. Mama, without our Sunday morning Frhstckstisch conversations, I would never have developed the passion for culture and literature or the keen skills to pursue th is pinnacle project. I also thank my brother and father for their silent support a nd encouragement while eating rolls and marmalade. ii
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I thank my sponsor, Herr Doktor Profe ssor Cuomo, for his contribution and support for my project. His vast knowledge and obvious passion for German literature and film have inspired me to pursue studies of what I love. I also wish to thank the members of my committee, Dr. Aron Edidin and Dr. Alina Wyman, for their valuable participation and insights. Lastly, I wish to thank Dr. Maria Vesperi and Dr. Rebecca Kukla for allowing me to sit in on their courses on days when the material was especially relevant for my project. iii
Table of Contents Dedication ii Acknowledgements iii Abstract vi Introduction 1 Translation as a Project 5 Philosophy, Anthropology, and Translation 6 Context 9 Ambiguity 10 Possibilities of Transl ation: Three different techniques 12 Fluency vs. Fidelity 14 The choice one makes 16 Chapter One: Translator and Interpreter 17 My qualifications 17 My Weaknesses 18 One less obstacle: Benefits of Germ an to English translation 19 Why choose Sogar Papageien berleben uns ? 20 What am I translating? About Sogar Papageien berleben uns 24 Structure 25 Use of Daniil Kharms and the OBERIU 27 Partial Translation and Intended Audience 29 What will the reader have access to? 29 Chapter Two: The Practice 33 I. The timeriver, the flow-of-time-lad y, and the mountain-bird-women 33 Welcome to the twenty-first century 34 On the train 35 Middle of the unusually snowy wi nter in Leningrad 36 Christmas Decorations on New Years Eve 40 What was, for example, in this balloon and flew away with it my side 42 What was, for example, in this balloon and fl ew away with it Andreas side 44 New Years Eve at Antonias Grandmother Thoths house 44 Daniil Kharms and his friends (Pavels Christmas Present) 45 II. Hotel breakfasts 46 The Time-river 46 Nightingales in the night 47 Shoebill in the ruins of Berlin 48 The death-bird in the zoo 49 Philemon and Baucis (The common things of life) 50 The death-bird in the zoo 51 Russia is home of the Elephants! 52 The death-bird in the zoo 54 iv
On the leaves of a gigantic Nymphaea 54 Kanaks, pack your bags! 55 Young and Old 56 How beautiful is an unselfish conversation! 57 Numbers and Figures 57 Synopsis 60 German Tricolor 63 Synopsis continued 64 VI. Cinematographic 67 In the train 68 Happiness-Sorrow Relationship 68 Old Age 69 Dont do it 70 Bums on the Road 71 The huge head 72 Originals and copies 72 Synopsis continued 75 VII. Black Jack 79 Blue glass shows the objects in sad light How it reminds us of shadows (1) 80 Cultural Differences 80 Blue glass shows the objects in sad light How it reminds us of shadows (2) 81 Open Sesame 81 Brief Appendix to the Translations 85 Chapter Three: Analysis and Reflection 91 Three Possibilities 92 Example by Martynova 94 Translation examples using Blaues Glas 95 Notes about the German language in translation 98 The Practice 103 Conclusion 109 Thoughts about the product 111 Bibliography 113 List of Illustrations Literature as the intersection of la nguage, culture, and identity 2 Portrait of a Shoebill 85 v
A LITTLE STARLING TOLD ME: A MODE RN-DAY TRANSLATION OF OLGA MARTYNOVAS SOGAR PAPAGEIEN BERLBEN UNS Dorothea Trotter New College of Florida, 2013 ABSTRACT Through the world wide web, todays tr anslator has access to an infinite number of resources which enable her to give one group of language speakers, say English speakers, the option of reading a contemporary work from another language and culture like German. She can use online computer translators, find a multitude of forums in which the meaning and usage of a particular word is discussed in either language, and with a few taps and clicks on the keyboard, have an instantaneous explanation of what an unknown author re ferenced in her work. Despite these informational developments, translation is still traditional. The practice of translation largely remains the same as it has been for centuries. A translator of literature must still be adept in handling the languages of the source and targ et texts, able to interpret the purpose of the source text, and understa nd the audience for whom the translation is produced. This thesis features a translation of Russian migr Olga Martynovas novel Sogar Papageien berleben uns (2010). The translation was produced with the goal vi
vii that it would allow for the dialogue between cultures, languages, and histories. Since it is difficult to separate translation theo ry from translation practice, the project consists of a discussion of translation theory before be ginning the practice in the second chapter. In the third chapter, I analyze the success of the translation and reflects on the difficulty of tran slation in practice. I ultimately come to the conclusion that despite the growing existence of mach ines and technologies meant to replace the translator, a translator, with her skills and knowledge, remains irreplaceable in the exchange of ideas. ______________________ Glenn R. Cuomo Division of Humanities
Trotter 1 Introduction I began thinking seriously a bout translation when I was in the eleventh grade and preparing for an extensive essay. Language was the only thing I could see myself occupied with for months at a time, and so, like now, I chose to write on it. Its enigmatic nature makes it an exhaustive and fascinating subject of study. Language casts spells on all our comm unication, it bewitches us with its connotation, flux, grammatical structur es, origins, vagueness, contexts, implications, imperfections, irregulari ties, limited and unlimited vocabulary, and because it is an enigmatic, imperfect enterprise. (Woolman 86) Language has me under its spell. Formerly, I focused on the social features of language: it is a social construct and a phenomenon which occurs because humans are social beings. This focus led me to an understanding that language is an accumulation of ideas and experiences which make up words, and that culture is like a maypol e for the flags of language. However, while studying the impact of culture on language, I began to think about literatures role as a reflection of culture and th e importance of preserving the language in which lite rature is written. By studying literature, one is studying a myriad of factors which make up the human existence and makes literary interpreta tion far more than an analysis of words, symbols, and metaphors. Since culture is so intertwined with language, I initially doubted that a piece of literature could ever be properly translated. After further study, I believe in translation as a possible exchange of culture s and ideas, but it requi res a great deal of theory, thought, and practice. This thesis is an accumulation of the theory, thought, and practice I have used to test the pow ers of language and translation.
Trotter 2 Language and culture are bound closely toge ther. Different languages exist, not just because of the different morpheme s, lexemes, and phonemes which make up a sentence, but because the world which uses the sentence is different. Thus, the translators primary task is transferring cultu re across the language barriers of style and form. However, since an utterance is intimatel y linked to the identity of the speaker, there are many who are specifically concerned with the translators accuracy in presenting the force of an utterance. Accord ing to critical theorist Bene dict Anderson, literature is perhaps the most common way to express iden tity and it will refl ect the language and culture which make up that iden tity. What culture struggles to name is an individuals sense of participating in some thing larger than themselves (1914). Literature is the most prolific form of culture and th e individual author attempts to participate in culture with language and literature. Thus, literature becomes the intersection of language, culture, and identity: Literature at the intersection of language, id entity, and culture (as designed by D. Trotter) The standard belief of translation is that the nature of the piece will somehow be changed. When great novels from Russia or France were brought to the United States, the public was convinced that they were not rece iving the true value of the work and that things were regrettably lost or transmuted in translation. Cr itics of the translations of
Trotter 3 Tolstoy would write things like: The transmut ation of Natasha into a nice little English girl seems to be one of the unavoidable calamities of the importation of Tolstoy into English (Wilson 6). This image of translation is painful a nd involves a loss of valuable life. One can see this even when one characte r is made by the author to speak a different language within one text. Tolstoy dramatized this situation in War and Peace by having characters speak or write in French. When the character was talking or thinking in Russian rather than French, the reader was exposed to a vivid juxtaposition of the characters natural personalitie s versus his or her artifici al persona within the higher circles of society. However, despite the sometimes negative vi ew of translation, crossing boundaries of language is inevitable. No matter how gl obalized the world becomes, literature will still work to preserve the nati onal heritage of a nation, and it will inevitably be written in the language of that nation. Furthermore, it continues to be impo ssible that people can learn the language of all the literatures they are interested in, and so the translator steps in. Her work, as discussed before, inevitabl y involves a transmigration of ideas. Many literary theorists agree that the transmigration of ideas is good and th at translation should be done, albeit for many different reasons. Anderson was particularly convinced about the value of the sp read of ideas. He believed that a piece needed to be introduced within the market of literate citizens who may not accept the work as fitting to th eir nationality, but would benefit from the translation. Andersons goal as a translator was not to ta ke the other culture across borders, but to bring the ta rget language speakers to th e other culture. Thus, the translator serves as the most effective globa lizing force, allowing for a third sphere of
Trotter 4 interacting cultures to continue to grow. However, Anderson was a critic of translation. For him, this third sphere could be served by a new language, or a common one; translation was not hi s favorite resolution. The value of translation is a controvers ial issue which has been discussed even before French poet and theorist Joachim du Bellay published his book La Deffence et illustration de la langue franaise ( Defense and Illustration of the French Language) in 1549. In his book, du Bellay discussed the different ways to enrich the French language, but like Anderson he believed that translat ion was not the best method. Du Bellay had a pessimistic view of translation because his expectations for translation were more idealistic than most. Translat ion should not just carry messa ges; it should recreate value given throughout the ages. He wanted translation to transform (specifically French) society, believing that a transformation would be possible due to the relationship between language and culture. To enrich the vernacular,...translation [can be recommended] as a way of incorporating knowledge of the [o ther language] (218). However, du Bellay criticized that trans lation cannot capture stylistic invent ion, which is specific to each language (218). One can broaden and deepen ones own language with the foreign one, but a translation cannot be turned back to the original language. On the other hand, theorists like Walter Be njamin believed that translation could restore languages to a an original or lost language. According to Benjamin, the original and translation are fragments of a greater language, a purer language, (The Work of Art 1048). The ideas of a purer, greater language are repeat ed in discussions of such concepts as Ursprache (original language) and Lingua Adamica. In The Task of the Translator, Benjamin writes a bout translation as the afterlif e of a text. The translator
Trotter 5 does more than make the text in one language accessible to the speak ers of another. She helps form a third sphere of interacting cultu res, languages, and ideas with her work. In order to complete her work, she work s through the languages and ideas and her translation becomes a Durcharbeitung (the German nominalization for worked through) of ideas. Translators are needed for any written te xt: newspaper articles ; novels; instruction manuals, etc. However, novels and other lit erary works (works in which emphasis is usually placed on form over content) are especia lly difficult to translate since literature is already a transportation over time and metaphys ical space, and those transpositions must be taken one step further. Through her Durcharbeitung a translator will create an interpretation of the piece sh e translated. Most people are onl y able to read the worlds greatest texts in translation. He nce, some of the worlds best thoughts have been based on a previously interpre ted work, predigested, so to speak. Translation as a Project With this understanding, one can come to th e conclusion that literary translation is considered a literary pursuit in its own right a nd that translation should be considered an aspect of literary theory. He rman Northrop Frye, who wrote about the successive phases in translation: rereadi ng and rewriting of the literary text, would agree. On the basis of structuralist theory, Frye outlined that symbolic messages are transmitted to us by the coexistence of various sign systems. These sign systems are traces or anticipations of modes of production which control how actors speak and understand. This means that a translator must work from within the sign systems she is working with. A competent translator must have very good knowledge of the language from which she is translating
Trotter 6 as well as a profound understandi ng of the etymological and id iomatic correlates between the two languages. She must also have inst inct and a finely tuned sense of when to metaphase and when to paraphrase. The transl ator not only needs to be able to take her own thoughts and express them in two languages, but also, she must be able to take, read, understand and retain someone elses ideas and render them accurately, completely, and without exclusion in a way that conveys th e original meaning effectively and without distortion in another language. Thus, a fully co mpetent translator is not just bilingual, but also bicultural. Furthermore, for a translator to be successf ul, she must be firm in her goals for the translation. If she intends for the translation to be a work of art, she must consider the purpose of offering a translation as art. She must work against those who suggest that translation is a secondary text and that free translat ion is plagiarism. For such critics, a translator may at best be only considered a fine-tuner, a single pr ocess after the crux of the work has already been completed. However, translation is also an interpretation. As translation theorist Marilyn Gaddis Rose wr ote in one of her pieces on translation as analysis translators are critics and translations are critical interpretations. No marking so definitely dates or indivi dualizes a reading as does tr anslation, from which a text gains(6). Philosophy, Anthropology, and Translation Translation has made its way into pop cu lture through intelligent jokes, such as the Babel Fish in Douglas Adams The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy but it is an act which people perform every day without thinking. The Babel Fish is a fish which can be placed in a persons ear and which will translat e everything for the listener, even things
Trotter 7 spoken in the language for which the liste ner does not need a Babel Fish. Many translation theorists incorporate philosophy to help think about transl ation as an act of interpretation, as a practical act which occurs between all languages in fairly the same way, and thus help the reader think about wh at occurs philosophically between translator and target audience when a target text is read. Similarly, a person will constantly, unconsciously translate from external perspec tive to inner reality and vice versa from inner reality to outer co nnection and expression. French philosopher Paul Ricoeur discusses this very human phenomenon at length in his book, On Translation: What all languages share in common is a capacity to mediate between a human speaker and a world of meanings, but since there are many languages, we are faced with a double duty of translation, internal and external (xiii). According to Ricoeur, this double duty is related to one of the two paradigms of translation: linguistic and ontological. The linguistic pa radigm addresses how words relate to meanings within language or betw een languages. The ontological paradigm is what we work within every day, translation which occurs between one person and another. Obviously, throughout a translation pr oject, a translator is primarily concerned with the linguistic paradigm. Nevertheless, by dealing with literature which involves complex characters and analysis, she comp letes ontological transference as well. The Austro-British philosopher Ludwig W ittgenstein grappled extensively with ontological transference in his career. Wittg enstein is well known for his proposal that many of the traditional philosophical problems have arisen due to inattention to the workings of language. He felt that the mis understandings of language are what led to
Trotter 8 original philosophical questions and that Philo sophy of Language theori es are theories of connections between words and the world. Initially, Wittgensteins main philosophical interest lay in the logic of language. He believed that it must have some identifia ble structure. If our world has a precise logical structure, then the language that aris es in response to the empirical understanding of it should have a structur e too (Audi 855). One could sa y that the world consists entirely of facts, corresponding to true atomic sentences and those facts in turn are concatenations of simple objects, corresponding to the simple names of which the atomic sentences are composed (855). This idea ali gns with structuralis t thought and if it is correct, then there is in fact a rulebook to language. Thus as a translator one should be able to treat language as a thi ng of grammar and dictionaries. However, words attached to things make something more or less meaningful to the speaker. Logical necessity and linguistic convention of language that came about through social practice prevented any other use. The words of our language have meaning only insofar as there exist public cr iteria for their correct application (Audi 855). The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, developed by socio-linguists Edward Sapir and Benjamin Whorf, is a theory of language rela tivity which supposes that language affects a persons perception of the extern al world. If culture can determine meaning then the user is controlled by the scope a nd limits of language. Thus, one can argue that language is more than a reflective tool whereby we try to make sense of our thoughts and actions (Duranti 3). With language, we can enter an interactional space wh ereby which language becomes an abstract system. Our ability to talk about language presupposes that it is concrete, but one must focus on language as a set of symbolic reso urces that enter the
Trotter 9 constitution of social fabric and the individual representation of actual or possible world (3). The balance between th e philosophical and anthropologi cal perspectives of language can determine how one thinks about translation. Language as a social conduit is a system of classification and representation and it is a cultural resource which cau ses the voice to work as a to ol to build the foundation for any human experience (Duranti xvii). In his article on the German poet Mascha Kalko, Peter Dittmar discusses the difficulty of translation. He provides examples of reverse (for us) translation in which the source text is E nglish and the target text is German, and how every English word can be translated using several German ones. Of course, the opposite is also true. However, despite this, meanings of some words are culturally impacted and only work within the culture. Thus, to a German, Kalkos poems will have a different meaning for an American than for a Germa n, since the word happy does not mean the same as the word glcklich. Dittmar also poin ts out that the transl ator must be careful to consider the contexts of what she is tr anslating and the contex tual situation of the reader who is reading the tr anslation. For example, a word like Schadenfreude will have a different meaning based on the intellect ual level of the community it is said in (Dittmar 2002). Context The translation of a text depends on understa nding the context, th e readers point of view, and the other characters in the text. In this essay, context is referred to differently, but not exclusively from what the New Criticism literary school termed intentional fallacy, using bi ographical criticism to interp ret the text (Barry 172). In translation, context is perhaps even more important than the knowers perspective for
Trotter 10 transferring knowledge since, as with the translation of a novel, one needs some kind of context to interpret the text and come to some understandi ng of the authors intention. According to philosopher Richard Rorty in his book Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, people know things purely through what they read, hear, talk about and discuss. Speakers mirror the worldi.e. their envi ronmentsin the sense of constructing a symbolic representation of that environmen t (298). What does a person do when she translates someone elses language? Is sh e figuring out the meaning of a persons sentence and seeing as it corr elates with a meaning that a sentence in our language can have? Symbols have meaning and one grasps these meanings effortlessly like Lyra Belacqua does in Phillip Pullmans Golden Compass In this fantastic novel, the main character Lyra feels, using her mind, for the indefinite possible right meanings for the picture symbols she is given, and plays with the interpretations in order to work the compass and understand the story the compa ss is telling her. Th rough understanding the context, the translator can rely on her in tuition to understand and translate certain ambiguous texts. Ambiguity One view of translation is that synonymy, sameness of meaning, is the criterion of correct translation. However, correctness is determined in a more complicated manner. When a translation seems less plausible and when trying to decide whet her it is right or wrong, we often just adjust the other parts (s uch as context and sp eakers meaning) so that they can affirm what we believe is th e proper translation. We also learn to accept the odd or untrue. Readers have learned to see translation as a way of simply nailing down a constrained indefinite class of mean ings which fit within the system of a
Trotter 11 language. The reader is given responsibility for figuring out the meanings within that language. Furthermore, if language is a tool of soci ety to get things done, an author will use language in consideration of a personally designed audience who will interp ret the text and respond as she intended. An author, lik e Olga Martynova, produces a particular set of language for an audience and experiments with the preciseness of that language in accomplishing what she intended to accomplish with the language. Thus, the poet can play with literal meanings to take advantage of a sentences meaning in terms of what it would normally convey to the speaker. She will utilize the figurative meaning. Different syntactic combinations produce different m eanings. The poet will travel down a less traveled road of syntax, using words as tri ggers for one idea and countering them with a seemingly opposite word to force the reader to rearrange a traditiona l idea constructed by a sentence and conceptualize a new one. Obviously, the poet has her own practice of what works in poetry, and how far she can stray from the standard phrasing before s/he runs into problems of misi nterpretation. An author lik e Martynova experiments with misinterpretation often, making her novel mo re difficult to translate than others. However, in the end, misinterpretation and ambiguity protect us and our minds, since the ability to interpret something in our own way keeps it within our comprehensibility. This thought connects with the id eas of critical theory and literature in that readers will see and interpret knowledge which they already understand or lies with in their ability to understand. When translating, it is important to pr eserve the ambiguity. The translator must consider and keep all the possible individu al interpretations of the piece available in the translation.
Trotter 12 Possibilities of Translatio n: Three different techniques Now the reader of this essay is hopefu lly prepared for the question: Which translation theory is most applicable to the translation of a German fictional novel written by a native Russian? Unfortunatel y, there is no flow chart wh ich one can follow in order to determine the answer. The tr anslator must make the choice s each time herself. This is why, as Benjamin would say, translation is a creative task. According to Benjamin, translation is a highly creative activity in which the translator s personal responsibility is constantly at the forefront since she needs to recognize options and al ternatives and then make decisions about which ones to use. Ther e are many theories for translation, but any approach that the translator takes must be self-aware and methodical (Hervey et al. 3). The translator may choose between repli cation and explanation, (replication implies direct quotation; explanation works within gist), between fluenc y and fidelity, and between foreignizing and dome sticating the target text. Of course, there exist some standard pract ices upon which most translators agree, such as with du Bellay who would say that for poetry, imitation, rather than translation is needed: Imitation is the spirit of the orig inal, not extended form (218). On the other hand, a translator like author Vladimir Na bokov polarizes theorist s immediately. Most notorious for his explanations of his ow n brand of translation and his vehement disclamation of all other forms, the prolific self-translator agreed that there were three ways to translate: paraphrasi c (free translation with omissi ons and additions prompted by the exigencies of form; lexical (rendering ba sic meanings of words and their order-like googleTranslate); and literal ( rendering, as closely as the associative and syntactical capacities of another language allow, the exact contextual meaning of the original
Trotter 13 [Bellos 141]). According to Nabokov, a literal translation is the onl y true translation. When he translated poetry, the product was us ually a bit clunky and always structurally altered, since in order to literally translate a poem, much work must be done to render the exact contextual meaning of the original. It would be mathematically impossible to reproduce the rhymes of a poe m and literally translate th e poem at the same time. Critics say that when Nabokov tr anslated Alexander Pushkins Evgeni Onegin into English, he deliberatel y avoided point and elegance in order to remain loyal to Pushkin. Thus, his translation appeared in an unnecessarily clumsy style (Wilson 212). However, most texts that are transparently rendered in a different language will appear strange or clumsy. When translating, one must consider the fact that one is dealing with two literary traditions, and language is not used the same way across cultures. Unfortunately, because past translators have consistently chosen to preserve the fluency of the target text over other tr anslation strategies to shape th e canon of foreign literatures, there is what Ricoeur describes as a resistan ce to having the target language subject to the test of the foreign (5). Ricoeur sees the blend of the target and source text as linguistic hospitality (24). However, this also means that foreignizing a text requires practice; the translators first attempts at foreignizing may make the text seem a bit awkward. Transparency of the translator within the foreignized text is also a controversial issue of translation. U.S. American transla tion theorist Lawrence Venuti, author of the famous The Translators Invisibility, argued that the translator must always remain visible in the target text. He used the research of W ilhelm von Humboldt and fellow German Romanticists to understand and explai n translation as a pr oduct and proponent of
Trotter 14 historical development. The fluency of the ta rget text is too ofte n the goal, and this practice has shaped the canon of foreign literatures. Venuti and others criticized the flawless transition from source text to target reader. According to Venuti (with ideas largely influenced by Schleiermacher and Schlegel) translation should contains traces of the source text and language, purposely left foreign to enhance the experience of the reader and promote openness (18). In a way, translation should promote tolerance between source text and target audience. Recently, in his article Philosophy and Translation, Australian scholar Anthony Pym discussed the preference of foreignisati on over domestication. If domestication is the norm of a dominant, prestigious culture, the Germanic insistence on foreignisation can be idealized in ethical terms, as a mode of openness that welcomes rather than excludes the other (27). The issue with domes tication in translation is that it usually includes value statements about the language s involved and usually occurs in upward translation, where the prestige of the target language is higher than the prestige of the source language. On the other hand, foreignisa tion can also carry with it notions of prestige, since, as in tran slations of works of German philosophy, information in its original is most valid. Foreigni zed texts are considered to be as close to the original as possible while still aesthetic ally accurate. Overall, one should respect authority and precedent without being weighed down by them. Possibilities of Translatio n: Fluency vs. Fidelity As one can already see, translation is among other things, a balance between fidelity and fluency. Fluency is often juxtaposed against transparency; it is the extent to which translation appears to a native speaker of the target language to have originally
Trotter 15 been written in that language, and conforms to the target languages grammar, syntax, and idiom. Fidelity is the extent to which translation accurately renders the meaning of the source text without distortion. The choi ce depends on the subject, type, and use of text, its literary qualities, and its social and histor ical contexts. After one reads about the th ings lost in domestication, it may seem like a negative approach to translation. However, despite Ri coeurs and Venutis view on domestication, one can observe that domestica tion allows the reader to read for meaning, work is saved for the reader by having the writer brought to th e reader. Domestication may be called an act of ethno-centrality, but it can still involve highlighting of fo reign values and styles. It seems that in order to answer the questi on of what will be a good translation, the translator must consider the que stion of who the translator se rves: the author and speakers of the source language, or the reader w ho wants a fluid text. In the words of Schleiermacher, one must battle between "'br inging the reader to the author' and 'bringing the author to the reader'" (Ricoeur 4). According to my own beliefs of the importa nce of sharing cultures, I am inclined towards Venutis aim to communicate linguis tic and cultural differences instead of removing them. I see preserving transparency as valuable because it requires the reader to go to the writer, requiring critical work on the readers part which helps her grow. Nevertheless, I am concerned that I will fo reignize throughout my translation process beyond what is necessary. One must know when to be completely loyal or not. John Dryden said it well: When words appearliterally graceful, it were an injury to the author that they should be changed. But sincewhat is beautiful in one [language] is
Trotter 16 often barbarous, nay sometimes nons ense in another, it would be unreasonable to limit a translator to the narrow compass of his authors words. (Dryden 301) Since a literal translation can produce awkward prose, it is maybe not as aesthetically pleasing to foreignize. The choice is not easily made. The choice one makes One can say that translation is like a wa ger, easier said than done and occasionally impossible to take up (Ricoeur 3). The first part of this essay has been to effectively communicate the complicated work of a transl ator and the importance of finer details beyond conveying structure and meaning. A good translator must understand what creates meaning, and how meanings change across cultures and whet her some meanings even exist in other cu ltures. The choice about what kind of translation to perform depends on the translators choice to be loyal to the source text versus a creative author in the target text. The skopos theory, developed in Germany by Hans Vermeer and Katherine Reiss (among others) postulates that the objective of function of a translation determines the translation strategies to be employed (B assnett 14). If the translation practice is focused on the formation of the target text for a particular audien ce, the translators subjectivity plays a larger role in justifyi ng certain choices made to produce a certain effect in the target text. Thus, the choice depends on personal inclin ation due to various factors including, but not limited to, the tr anslators cultural identity, cultural understanding, and academic and philosophical thought.
Trotter 17 Chapter One: Translator and Interpreter My qualifications It is normally assumed that a higher quality translation is produced when the target text is the mother tongue of the translator. Defining mother tongue can be restricted for the purposes of translation to t he language one is most prof icient in (Hervey et.al 5). I consider myself to be fully bilingual and bicu ltural in German and English, but I can still say that I am slightly more proficient in English. I was brought up with extensive exposure to the German language and culture an d I have taken various classes in German literature, but my education in the U.S. has ma de me slightly more creative and skilled in the nuances of the English language. Thus, I see English as the preferred target language. Ideally, the translator has a high degree of fluency in both languages; she works comfortably with and within two language s. A cultural anthropologist will describe fluency as the ability to enter the conversati on in ways that are seen appropriate and not disruptive (Duranti 16). A translator, as Benj amin would add, must be talented across languages and creative with one s own. When one translates, one must be able to translate the puns, parodies, and verbal and logi cal nonsense as well as storyline. In order to first recognize and then reproduce these thi ngs, one must be literarily fluent in both languages. According to translating theorists like Benjam in and Rose, the translator works within an interliminal space, a middle ground where two language s meet; there, she interprets, selects, sacrifices, and adds according to her judgment (Trotter and DeCapua 455). The choices made by the translator in literary tr anslation include cons ideration of cultural differences, cultural and linguistic-based m eanings (such as connotation, allusions and
Trotter 18 idiomatic means), and literary traditions (t he stylistic and formal traditions in the respective languages). In order to make successful choices in tr anslation, a translator must be able to understand and convey cultural similarities and differences between the source and target languages (Trotter and DeCapua 449). As a translator, I feel su fficiently grounded in the English and German languages and cu ltures to understand the meanings and intentions behind each word. This grounding gives root to strong instincts which make translation easier. I can depend on my intu ition. When I come across a particularly difficult word to translate, I am creative e nough in both languages to try all possibilities in order to establish the best translation for the context. My Weaknesses As stated, in order to translate, a tran slator will use her intuition as well as dictionaries and thesauri when making choi ces. Subjectivity will occur, and it can be a considerable risk while translating. Furtherm ore, when thinking about German literature, one must be aware that there are severa l dominant interpretations like those of internationally renowned authors Franz Kafka and Thomas Mann, and the translator must remember to focus on the text, not what she already knows about the interpretations. Because German and English literatures have experienced extensive exchange in the past, I can depend, to some extent, on how some word s were translated in the past. The extent depends on the level of criticism I allow to wards the target and source culture. I am challenged by my bias, as Rorty asks: How are we supposed to step outside our own culture and evaluate its place re lative to the end of inquiry? (285). On the other hand, I
Trotter 19 focus on the context presented by the text. In this way, the translation works like a literature paper, since I only translat e what I can find textual support for. Venuti believes that the translator should not be invisible. By inscribing myself visibly into the text through translations which are produced as a result of my interpretation, I am not invisible. However, while translating I need to distinguish my personal interpretation of the text from a ge neral one. Marxist critic Frederic Jameson, author of Literature as Soci ally Symbolic Act, would add that I need to account for a dominant interpretation and st rive to transfer a neutra l one instead (Jameson 1826). Furthermore, as someone who was brought up biculturally, my strength becomes a weakness when I am expected to point out differences between the German and U.S. culture. A person will observe culture thr ough the subjective lens of their upbringing. When someone is brought up biculturally, she will be raised and taught according to one set of customs for some things and the othe r set for other things. She does not easily see both simultaneously; rather she will create her own reality which mixes both customs. Thus, she will need to be trained to iden tify what is commonly German and what is commonly American in order to translate the differences fo r the target audience. To overcome this obstacle, I work closely with a nother reader of my translation, my thesis sponsor, Dr. Cuomo. He is more critical of the differences between the languages and the cultures. One less obstacle: Benefits of German to English translation As previously mentioned, some critics believe that translators are dangerous because they may perpetuate a dominant in terpretation. However, having previous exchange between languages and cultures is largely beneficial for the translator in
Trotter 20 rendering a successful translation. Of course, th e rubric for successful may be different from translator to translator, but it is largel y agreed that a successf ul translation is one which creates a target text which can be understood and enjoyed by the target audience. The more similar the content of the source text is to content in ot her texts read by the target audience, the more can be understood by th e target audience. If the ways of life of a people do not coincide with our own, we should not expect a simple and unique, perhaps not even satisfactory, translations between their language and ours (Bolton 343). In the particular example of a German to English translation that this thesis provides, the ways of life of the German pe ople do often coincide with our own. This removes some of the extra challenge of too many things that will need to be explained. As a bilingual speaker, I have access to an understanding of different stimuli for various conceptualizations of a word. Thankf ully, in the case of German to English translation, the logic upon which the target la nguage is based is similar to the logical system of the language which I am transla ting. If I were translating for Wunambal speakers, a language spoken in northwester n Australia, the amount of explanation and intervention I would need to include in the tr anslation would be signi ficantly higher. I can translate a German work into English with the guiding framew ork that the target audience has roughly the same idea of relativity and sali ence as the source audience. Translation of a creative work becomes even easier because creative language allows for even broader relativity and salience. Why Sogar Papageien berleben uns ? Most professional translators work on comm ission. They may start translating as I did, completing a translation as a component for the requirements for degree. However,
Trotter 21 once they are professionals, they are asked to publish something specific. These requests sometimes lie outside the translators fiel d of expertise and kn owledge of technical jargon, thus resulting in less than perfect tr anslations. Thankfully, I could control the knowledge I was expected to know and choose a text to translate. Wh en I started looking for a source text, I knew I wanted to translate fictional literature since that is my field of study. After deciding the genre, I chose to tr anslate a contemporary work because I know that I am influenced by the current critical literary theory which focuses largely on cultural studies. I recognized that the choices I make intuitively reflect my cultural studies influences, and the choi ces would thus be the right one s for the modern reader of my translation. Furthermore, translati ng something contemporary removes the extra burden of considering the origi nal effect of the source text on the original audience. The creative work I am translating is Olga Martynovas Sogar Papageien berleben uns (2010) Martynova grew up in what was then Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) during the Cold War. She studied Russian language a nd literature at the Heart-Institute in St. Petersburg, but left Russia af ter the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Since then, she has been living in Frankfurt am Main in Ge rmany. There, she continues to write poems, essays, literary criticism, and to perform translations. Her novel, Sogar Papageien berleben uns (Papageien), is the first prose fiction she has written and has been put on several prestigious German book lists. Questioning my decision to translate Papageien is reasonable. Afte r all, Martynova is not a native German speaker and her prior cr eative writing has been poetry. Translating her work makes it necessary to take many different possibilities for interpretation into account. Furthermore, this novel has not previous ly been translated. It is a contemporary
Trotter 22 piece of literature which has had several reviews written about it, but won few awards. The author received the Ingebor g Bachman Prize for a different piece, Ich werde sagen Hi and that piece is shorter and may have been easie r to translate. Like her other works, including Papageien, Ich werde sagen Hi reflects the challenges of living in a bicultural space. However, despite the in itial challenges Martynovas latest novel poses, the subject of the novel lends itself better to translation than her other works. Martynova works with time and space in ways whic h are conducive to interpretation for the translator who regularly occupies her thoughts with such inquiries. If a translator has the freedom to choose whom she translates, one must assume that she chooses a work for which she feels some affinity. Nabokov said about his translations of Lewis Carroll that he had a spiritual a ffinity which enabled him to be loyal to the author (Shapiro 183). By choosing Martynova, I declare myself able to decipher certain ambiguities which would not be accessible to another reader. The only way to completely eradicate ambiguity is to have experienced th e same life as the author and have had the same emotional reaction to those events. Such a spiritual twin is rare, but if the translator is one, she will make the authors work accessi ble to others. I feel enough affinity to Martynova to have confidence in translating her, but I can take the outside observers perspective and know when to add a footnote. I think my affinity with Martynova has to do with our similar experience as Blendlinge, or hybrids. According to Pym and Schleiermacher, there exist Blendlinge who live between two cultures and form in tercultural communities of one kind or another by virtue of being bilingual and he nce bicultural (Trotter and DeCapua 454). As a bicultural person and now a translator, I belong to this interliminal space with
Trotter 23 Martynova. Martynova lives in a th ird space, historically and culturally, which is similar to the one I have produced for myself due to my upbringing. The experiences Martynova describes and the manner in which she struct ures her novel makes sense to me. The novel will also make sense to the larger target audience in the U.S. due to the 20th century obsession with space and the crossings of borders. This obsession is defended by multicultural and gender studies as major academ ic fields. However, there is still only a relatively small amount of people who have cr ossed borders in language and culture in a way which allows them to be comfortable in both. I can serve as an intermediary between the larger and smaller group. Through her writing, Martynova indicates a security in two languages and cultures with which I can identify. Writers ar e rarely successful in a language which is not their mother tongue, but Martynovas poetic prose reflects a strong command of German. Despite writing poe try only in Russian, Martynova has produced particularly poetic German prose. Many lines throughout the novel are innovative with images and syntax, such as when she personifies an elec tric toothbrush: Da lie gt meine elektrische Zahnbrste, putzt die Luft und summt[there lies my electri c toothbrush, cleans the air and hums] (Martynova 9). Martynovas work exhibits unconventional use of everyday language in a skilled way. Her accomp lishments in the language are more than pretty mistakes made in German by a Russian speaker. Martynovas construction of her novel allows her to examine the adequacy and inadequacy of the language which she uses. Often, a pretense insecurity of her main characters use of the language is used as a device in Mart ynovas writing: Ein von den abendlichen Schatten der Bume gestreifter Ho f, ein flach liegendes Gatter (Gitter?),
Trotter 24 hinter (unter?) dem wer wei was (wer?) eingesperrt ist [A yard striped by the evening shadows of the trees, a flat-lying gate (gri d?), behind (below?) who knows what (who?) is locked-in] (57). One can assume that Mart ynova is not so insecure in the German language as to be unsure about common pr epositions and pronouns. Through examining the adequacy of common phrases in expr essing thoughts, Martynova legitimizes poetic language throughout the novel. What am I translating? About Sogar Papageien berleben uns Superficially, the tale is almost autobi ographic for Martynovas life. The central plot follows a Literature Studies PhD, Frau Doktor Mari na Alexandrova, always just referred to as Marina, who visits Germa ny in summer 2006 in order to present on her dissertation topic, the works of the nonfictional poet Daniil Kharms and the group he helped found, the OBERIU. During Marinas visit to Germany, she wants to meet up with Andreas, a long-time friend/lover (he studied in Le ningrad from 1986-87) with whom she met again ten years after the collap se of the Soviet Union. He is a German philology professor in Berlin who makes a ma rriage proposal twenty years too late and after both he and Marina had respectively been married and divorced in the meantime. Though Andreas remains largely absent from th e present, through Marinas first-person narration the plot centers around the two characters and the peopl e they come into contact with in the present and in the past. Ther e are short interjections in which Marinas observations help present modern Russian-Ger man cultural interactions to the reader from her point of view. The story-lines disti nguish themselves between different points in the past, however, almost all the events are told from the position of the present. This makes the distinction between different point s in the time-space continuum irrelevant.
Trotter 25 Structure Initially, the structure of the novel, Papageien seems designed around Erzhlung. After all, it has been criticized for its undesired similarity to blog entries. Erzhlen entails the meanings of to report, to relate, to tell, to narrate, and to recount. The Russian verb for to tell, which is at parallels the German sense of the word and can be used as a li nk to help identify structure. The word skaz is derived from the verb rasscazat (to tell a tale, to narrate), and is a Russian literary term used to refer to a narrative devised as specifically as oral in terms of style (Mesropova 417). Russian philosopher and literary critic Mikhail Bakhtin extended formalist critic Boris Eikhenbaums original definition to include the use of a hidden narrator in a linguistic mask through which the author intentionally disguises himself as someone (Ilia Gruzdev as quoted in Mesropova 420). becomes a double voiced narrative (420). Through the double-voiced narrative of Marina and Martynova, in Papageien, the novel becomes, at least in part, a narrative and produces a sense of timelessness. However, Papageien can only be partially considered since, first of all, the narrators use of language is not the princ iple of the narrative form (Hicks 21). Martynovas stylistic choices ar e striking, and the plot seems more or less a complex system of motivations and seman tic connections as befitting a but the novel is not since more emphasis is placed on plot and time than on th e imitation of oral speech behavior (Gofman 182). Furthermore, a narrator sees neither far nor deep (Mesropova 422). Martynovas prot agonist is able to see far and deep, and construct the fragments of the novels Brche in der Zeit (interruptions of time). These
Trotter 26 interruptions help give a stru cture to an otherwise structur e-less novel. Critics have said that, due to the nature of Russian history, heavily distorting time wa s the only way to get across the magnitude of the displaced feelings of Russian citizens (Ldtke). In a way, this book is about people who are displaced in language, space, place and above all, time. Thus, Bakhtins chronotope becomes much more relevant. The chronotope is defined by Bakhtin as t he intrinsic connectedness of temporal and spatial relationships that are artistically expressed in literatur e (Bakhtin 84). Bakhtin developed the term in his 1937 essay Russian: published in English as Forms of Ti me and of the Chronotope in the Novel. After reading comparative literature scholar Micahel Holquists views on Bakhtin and his world, one can see the extent to which Bakhtins thoughts about time and space run parallel with Martynovas novel. He writes about time and language in ways which are relevant to a translator, poetic prose writer, and someone concerned with the effects of historical events on the pr esent expressions of curren t events. The chronotope is considered transcultural and sensitive to hist orical change and is not a topic constrained to Russian Formalist critical theory. The chronotope is a productive reference in this text for thinking about the realms of language and philology. At an elementary le vel of application, the term can be used to describe the way time and space are descri bed by language, and, in particular, how literature represents them. It is a literary device, function, and motif which can be used as a unit of narrative analysis (Holquist 110). The term discusses the matrix of a combination of two literary points of interest the plot and the story of the narrative. When one considers the dialogue between Marina s past and present selves in the novel,
Trotter 27 one should consider the dialogue between changing characters and changing space. Papageien is almost a perfect novel to translat e because the act of translating will continue what the source text does: displace language, space, and time. Use of Daniil Kharms and the OBERIU The life and works of Daniil Kharms are helpful for understanding Martynovas text, since many similarities between Mart ynova and Kharms are illuminated throughout Papageien which create a parallel fo r her novel. Comparative literature scholar and prolific writer, Neil Cornwell, wrote much about Kharms: Like Martynova, Kharms was neither monolingual nor monocultural (3). He was born in St. Peters burg, but attended the German Peterschule and Second Soviet La bor School where he learned German and English. The name Kharms was one out of over thirty self-penned pseudonyms. It was inspired, perhaps, by Kharms fascination with Sherlock Holmes. Kharms began his literary career writing poetry but moved onto prose as his style evolved in the 1930s. His stor ies are typically brief vignett es, but they involve dark absurdity and tragic undertones. He could be described as a joker in the literary world and he engaged in the Russian tradition of doubl e-edged humor that extends from the wordplay and irrelevancy of Gogol and the jaundi ced mentality of Dost oevskys underground tothe intertextual parody of Siniavsky and the satirical ab surd of Voinovich (Cornwell 11-12). These authors propensity for layered humor, irrelevancy, perversion and parody all found their way into Kharms works. Kh arms, like Martynova, attempted to challenge the automatism of thought, feeling, and everyday life (23). Kharms was a member of the Dadaist insp ired group of Leni ngrad writers, known by the acronym OBERIU ( ). Martynova refers to them in her novel as the
Trotter 28 strangest Petersburg poets (8). The acr onym comes from the name the group gave themselves: a [Union of Real Art]. The group is referenced and discussed several times th roughout Martynovas text and consisted of Kharms, Alexander Vvedensky, Nikolai Zabo lotsky, Nikolai Oleyni kov, Igor Bakhterev, Leonid Lipavsky and Konstantin Vaginov. Th ey were united by a refusal to accept contemporary accepted theories of aesthetics and resisted pressure of the Soviet political regime. All of them published in childrens magazines to avoid pers ecution by the Soviet press. Almost all of them perished under th e Soviet regime or during World War II. Kharms childrens stories were not as de structively censored as his adult work. However, the stories depicted the same absu rd reality and allowed him to preserve his aesthetic ideals. According to Larissa and Vladimir Tumanov in thei r article The Child and Childlike in Daniil Charms Like Martyno va, Kharms aim seems to have been to present a world upside down (241). He cr eates worlds which are unpredictable and disordered, and one often has the impression that characters and events are part of a mathematical game where elements are consta ntly arranged and rearranged in different curious and bizarre combinations (243). Mart ynovas loose structure is comparable to Kharms since in Martynovas novel, time a nd events are merely distinguished through the use of identical banners below the chapte r titles with bolded year dates. However, Kharms is considerably more Avant ga rde and radical that Martynova is. Like Martynova, Kharms shifted away from verse to prose as he matured (interestingly, one of Martynovas main characters love interests, Fyodor, also shifts from poetry to pose). And like Martynova, Khar ms had a special relationship with words which seems conducive to poetry writing. Accord ing to G.H.J Roberts, Kharms believed
Trotter 29 that words have mystical powers beyond our limited human capacity for understanding (39). For Kharms, words are 3-dimesional-like objects with a fifth side, which has the essential meaning and could be revealed only when the word is placed in a new and unconventional context (39). Giving new m eaning to words seems very much the goal for any poet, but it is especia lly so for Kharms, and in turn, Martynova. That is why it is so important that I manage to translate her well. Partial Translation and Intended Audience The purpose of this translation project is to determine whether I can complete a successful translation of Martynovas novel, Sogar Papageien berleben uns. I have decided to translate the first and last parts of the novel, with a few chapters from the intermediary chapters for the brevity of space and time. I initially thought that it would be folly to try and translate the novel in sections because I thought that the only way to preserve what the novel does structurally is to transfer the entire novel. Howe ver, with research and annotations, I think the audience can benefit from a partial translation. This translation project is meant specifical ly as a specimen of translation practice. Later, the translation of the completed novel may be suitable for those interested in German-Russian relations and history, philos ophical examination of time, or even Daniil Kharms enthusiasts. After completion of this thesis, I will finish the translation which can be sent to the publishing company for dissemination. What will the reader have access to? I am treating this translation like an e xotic language game. The term was coined by Wittgenstein in his answer to theories of indeterminacy, in that one can answer
Trotter 30 questions of external langua ge through context, by asking whether the meaning comes from within a culture we are members of, a theory we accept, a story we believe, a game we play, etc. Translators are concerned with tran sferring a meaning from a source text into a target text. In order for this to o ccur, meanings must have some degree of determinacy. According to Wittgenstein, one can have a considerable amount of determinacy in a situated la nguage game. The meaning of a word can be determined by the context. What we say and do acquires significance only against the background of a tacit agreement underlying these contexts (M edina 570). The context is tacitly agreed upon by the audience and from the context cert ain expressions gain significance they otherwise would not have. In order to provide a translation which will have value, a context must first be introduced in order so that it can be agreed upon. Whichever choice I make about translating all or part of the novel will affect what else I put into the project. Since I chose not to translate the whole work, I provide the reader with abbreviated access to the refe rents they would otherwise have. A good translation uses three texts, the source, target and a third non-existent text (Ricoeur 7). The third, non-existent text is the extra-textual understand ing of the work. It is the analysis to which the translation inevitably adds through its work of Durcharbeitung. It is clear that there ar e echoes of Bakhtin throughout the works of Ricoeur and Martynova. In his essays, Bakhtin discusse s dialogism and the complex nature of European literature due to so many language s and contexts. According to Bakhtin, an utterance participates in the unitary languageand at the sa me time partakes of social and historical heteroglossia (272). Thus, it is difficult to generate ne w utterances, such as translations, because in the worl d of memory, a phenomenon exists in its own
Trotter 31 peculiar context with its own special rules, subject to conditions quite different from those we meet in the world we see with our own eyes, the world of practice and familiar contact (18). In order to produce a successf ul translation, the peculiar context needs illumination. These considerations of heteroglossia and dialogism, combined with Wittgensteins language games, build an argument for building context when looking at and discussing translations. If one looks at out-spoken translator s such as Nabokov, one can believe that ultimately the translation is less important than the peritext. In the literary theory sense, a peritext is the text ual material which is secondary to the main body of a published work. In this thesis, I includ e a peritext to the main text. The theory, annotations, and discussion of practice which ai d in the navigation of the main text (my translation), are not interchangeable. Nabokov provided commentary for the pieces he translated. Thus, his translati ons can be criticized as a me ta-authorial work, a critical essay on the original text that only a bili ngual reader could fully appreciate (as the English reader would only see th e translation). I include some extra-textual thought in my footnotes, but footnotes are less intrusive than explaining within the text. I feel that the text should be enjoyable to read as a pi ece of fiction, not necessa rily as a critical discussion of the text. Despite my footnotes and annotations, the re ader of these transl ations must realize that the target text will indub itably lack certain cultural features that are present in the source text. Just as one cannot assume that people of the past are talking about some of the same things people of the present are, and that Newton and Aristotle may not have had common referents, the challenge of tran slating between one c ontext and another is
Trotter 32 part of the linguistic enterpri se. Overall, I try to follow th e literary and cultural guidelines as outlined by Venuti; these include preservi ng: the idea of the original authorship; relations between language subjectivity and ideology; and concepts of gender, class, and nation as they influence our cu ltural forms and practices. In my translation I attempt to preserve the German culturally specific idea s and persuade the reader to approach the differences in the text. I perform a balanced foreignized translation.
Trotter 33 Chapter Two: The Practice This thesis includes a synopsis in order to provide someone who has not read the novel with a gist of what occurs. In a way, th is gist is also a translation with extreme target text bias which will provide the reader of this thesis with the context of the events of the novel, allowing me to only provide a partial translation and still prove an understanding of complete source text consideration. I have transl ated the beginning and end of the novel, with a few short segments in between. I The timeriver, the flow-of-time-lady,1 and the mountain-bird-women (pg. 78) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917-1933-1934-1937-1941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 Clear water of a mountain stream rushes over rocks. I look down from the height of the chest of the woman who holds me in her arms to bring me over. The woman does not take a step, she just stands there in the waves bobbing sun slivers, knee deep. Nevertheless, after a while we are on the other shore. I never found out how it worked. My mother could not give me any information, even though I see her in this scene at the edge of my field of vision. But the face of the woman who was carrying me, I could still draw today. I have other memories that my pa rents dont confirm. I fall from the swing; a Red Cross van brings me to the hospital. There, a wound on my ear is treated. My parents could impossibly have forgotten such an event. And yet I have a scar on my ear, lighter than the rest of the skin, and only when it is cold it will turn dark pink which makes me marvel each time I come in from th e winter into the heat and throw a quick glance2 in the mirror. Other women stand motionless in the mountain waters as wellthey do not move, speak only bird-like shrill and still reach the othe r shore. Almost every child is sometimes surrounded by strange women who abuse its atten tion with their ordina ry stories. But my 1 The word Weib is etymologically related to w ife, but now the meaning has undergone semantic deterioration. It will usually be used in a derogatory manner. For this reason, I felt it is appropriate to use the word lady. The word lady is useful without losing a possible intention by Martynova since it too can be used in a derogatory manner, such as Hey, watch where youre going lady! 2 This is intentionally more literal. I think there is something interesting about the act of throwing something into the mirror which I wanted to preserve.
Trotter 34 mountain-stream -lady said nothing. I could feel the roughness of her hands, saw her chapped cheeks. The Zeitflussweib.3 I suddenly thought of her years later when I read: The river of time carries away with its current all human works, / Drowns the nations, kings and kingdoms in the abyss of oblivion. / And when thanks to sounding lyre and the trumpet something does re main, / it is eaten by the m outh of eternity and it does not escape the fate of all one of the most amazing Russian poems that I cannot reencounter without thinking about my time-river and that Zeitflussweib. Perhaps it is not appropriate that I let myself, directly before mes vacances en allemande4 (which admittedly is not really a vacances ), be captured by Russian verses. On the other hand, I am here, just landed, because of Russian verses. I will go from one city to another and talk about the st rangest poets of Petersburg. On the plane I wanted to organize my quickly-thrown-into-the-bag lectures and while doing so became caught up in the time river loop. Andryusha I'll say when I see Andreas, I'm twenty years older and no wiser But thats not for another week. I have enough time left, then let us see, what I will say. Welcome to the twenty-first century (so welcome me a toothbrush and a suitcase) (pg. 9-11) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917-1933-1934-1937-1941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 After the flight, still weak and with whi rring and buzzing ears, I answer the customs officer truthfully: Only a carton of cigare ttes and a bottle of vodka. But she does not hear that. What have you got there? She does not want to touch my obediently waiting bag. I look down and understand why. The ba g rumbles, wobbles and trembles, and seems to dissemble a beehive.5 I do not know I say and walk one step back. Did I leave my old coffee-colored bag with the Lufthansa crane on the flap alone, if even for a few minutes? the officer wants to know. And if it explodes? The question in the eyes of the officer is reflected in my eyes. Already, a ready6 colleague of the young woman comes and pulls, manfully, with only a barely per ceptible hesitationon the zipper. There lies my electric toothbrush, cl eans the air and hums ( Welcome to the twenty-first century she hums). I'm sorry! I excuse the toothbrus h. The woman, man, and I laugh. Its alright. I pass through customs and realize, that I could have smuggled in two cartons of cigarettes this way. 3 This is an intentional preservation. I think it is valuable for a reader to see the original use. 4 This is written as my German vacation in the sour ce text (ST). I figured I should italicize it, but since it is already italicized, I wonder ed if vacances en allemande would do the same thing. 5 This line is significantly worked with. The ST uses a lot of alliteration of the /b / sound, making it difficult to translate. I attempted to preserve the idea by having the /b/ within the words uses. I had the most difficulty with the word verbergen, and I thought dissemble would work even though it is an awkward word. 6 Bereit und bereitwillig, there needed to be some repetition in the actions of the colleague.
Trotter 35 In my crane-bag, which I was given years ago as a present for interpreting at an exhibition sponsored by Lufthansa, are a fe w e-mails from Andreas which I had printed. After so many years of all kinds of misunders tandings, could we finally just be together, move-in together, I mean, you could marry me, think about it, see you soon, regards.7 You're dumb,8 Andryusha, I say (ten minutes later) to the ticket machine. What else was written in these e-mails? Andr eas writes about an exercise which he had proposed to his German philology students: He gave them an episode to read from a book by William Genazino, but only a part, the co ntinuation they needed to imagine for themselves. The protagonist gets an assignment from a th erapist (who, in the book, is called disaster consultant), the fulfillment of this task will help him with his emotional worries, even rid him of them. He has to leave an old suitcase fill ed with old clothing in the city in order to watch who takes the suitcase and in which way. The risk that someone would already know the novel and the development of story9 offered in the novel, was in the case of his German philology students nil, approaching zero, according to Andreas. The students best solution, he thinks, was: The suitcase is left to stand until late at night, no one is interested in it, the suitcase owner falls in to an even worse depression since he was, apparently, just as his suitcase, no longer needed (of course the student had no way of knowing that the suitcase owne r in the novel was twice as needed, and that was the problem). I offered my German studies students in Pe tersburg (after we discussed the untraceable difference between Kasten and Ksten Schublade and Schieblade, Dte and Tte ) the same exercise. That my students already kne w the book in its Russian translation, I held as absolutely possible, but they did not know it. My favorite solution: A special unit is alerted and the suspected object destroyed to eliminate the possibility that a bomb is going to go off, and so preven t a possible terr orist attack. On the train (pg. 12) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917-1933-1934-1937-1941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 On the train two hours later, I break into10 the carton which I had specifically bought for Andreas in Duty-Free. To deny oneself sm oking makes a person a monomaniac. Does a psychopath also ask himself after he strangles his victim in the woods, whether the pleasure was worth the deed? I put my fumed-to-the-filter cigarette butt into the ashtray in the amrest and look out the train window: The winemakers look like fishermen in the 7 Gr, comes from Gr dich and could mean love, cheers, or regards. I chose the latter because the statement is not supposed to reflect attachment; it is more formal. 8 This whole passage is full of colloquialisms. I am not sure whether to try and write what would commonly said in the target language or what fits most. Clearly, if I am doing foreignization, I want to preserve the foreignness. But I also want to tr ansmit the authenticity of this inner dialogue. 9 In the ST, this word is the same taken from the English and refers to the development of events in journalistic work. 10 Anbrechen is a German word which means to begin or start, but it has the added implication of something being taken from a whole and losing a part.
Trotter 36 wind-churned vines. But if you look in the va stness and lose from view the winemakers with their high boots and sweeping gestures, th e vine rows become like lines of writing, busy and diligent, as if you could only not see the characters due to your shortsightedness. Even parrots outlive us, Andryusha, I say to the lines. What should we do with ourselves, Andryusha, it was twenty years a go that we met in a no-longer existing world in a no-longer existing state, in a no-longer the same exis ting city, in an unusually snowy Leningrad winter. I get off the train. It has become dark. Water dust11 glows in the lantern light. A man stands under his umbrella like a round case, whic h distinguishes him from the water glowworms. I walk onto the S-Bahn and glide off into the quiet times of the ending Soviet era: Middle of the unusually snowy winter in Leningrad (pg. 13-19) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917-1933-1934-1937-1941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 The mirror, whose oval is embraced by mahoga ny, shows me the little, dark pink worm on my earlobe. During the late 80s, there were some in some families things of the past, items which were not seized in the 20s, not exchanged fo r spoiled, potatoes that had become sweet in the 30s, not burned up or melted do wn in a the bombed-to-the-ground12 house in the 40s, not sold in the 50s, and which had not been not thrown away in the wave of the "scientific-technical revolution in the 60s (in the 80s I met a man who during the times of thaw13 combed the landfills and collected14 this petty bourgeois waste. He sold everything to collectors, antique d ealers, and museums and became a Underground millionaire. He looked haggard, as if he were starving. I remember that his contribution to the most popular topic at the time, emigra tion, was to allow only those to leave who dont buy a plane simply becau se it is not allowed). Such things from the past were for example: 11 Martynova gets very poetic with her descriptions. One could translate this as mist, but it seems nicer to keep the German image. 12 In this passage, Martynova is clearly taking advantage of productive morphemes of the German language (she does it with sssgeworden as well. She adds a ll sorts of prepositions to change the meaning of words which makes her writing creative and difficult to translate.13 This is Tauwetterzeiten which does not exist in English, but it does in the German and I imagine it does for Martynova and the Russians which is where she go t it from. It could refer to Khrushchevs thaw, the political thaw of the Cold War in the late 1950s, early 1960s during which relative democratization occurred after Stalins death. 14 Martynova uses words which are not often used or dont exist in German. For example here, aufgelesen, a term which sounds like reading, is used to describe collecting with ones hand verstreut Umherliegendes mit der Hand aufsammeln.
Trotter 37 An indigo-blue Rococo vase. In the mi ddle of the vasea medallion: Three women sit in front of a rose bush, the fabr ic of their clothes (green, pink and "bleu nattier" respectively) fall in loose folds over the spread15 knees. Their poses are simultaneously casual and sublime. In-front of the vase in the home of my school friend Lisa, I had enough time to practice th is fascinating pose, I did not succeed. A photo of the belle poque era: a na ked woman half-lying, long hair either covering her nakedness or putti ng it on display in black and white alternation, the title next to my now extinct memory of the name of the photographer is thoughtfulness. Decadence. I hear the last word echo and I look around: Y es, I know this is decadent, but with it I have my peace, says a young man with spar se beard and light-red matted Hawaiian-style dreadlocks: around the neck, a Palestinian scarf, on the coll ar, the Che badge and on the sleeve, the red star. Added to these are va rious necklaces and bracelets with ambiguous symbolism. He looks like a scrawny fir tree, decorated with a sick imagination. However, the monthly pass for the metro which he s hows to his traveling companion should be "decadent. She is shocked. A bearskin rug on the floor in the apartmen t of a dancer. The bear was shot by the great uncle of the dancer, and, they say the cousins of the last Ts ar, participated in the hunt. The dancers husband, a Sinologi st, has covered the pelt with so many books and manuscripts that barely enough room for him, the reader, remained between them. And this mirror in the mahogany frame in which, coming out of the blue and white winter night, I saw my ear scar. I smiled. Andreas did too. In the window of the German S-Bahn, I see a narrow winding staircase in an old house in Leningrad, which we had to go up. It smelled of cat piss, light bulbs were lacking, the flaking plaster left a world map on the walls on which everything was messed up: Africa in the top left, Italy under it, Scandinavia to the right of Italy; we arrived breathless and hopelessly too late. The new year had arrive d without us. The trolleybus broke down! I said, removing the down jacket which Andr eas had brought me for Christmas from Germany. The trolley stood still. Between us and the house in which we were invited to lay the frozen Neva. Andreas saw the long bridge and said, Oh, no. Lets go over the ice! Not in this lifetime,16 I thought. "Not in this lifetime, Andryusha" I said, You dont seriously believe that the Neva can completely freeze over, right? But while I was still mumbling, we were already on the shore and on the ice. Like fish that had been swallowed by moon signals and become luminous fi sh, the clouds were gliding above us. Underneath them the darkened waves followed them. Between them we had ice, and we were on top of 15 Gespreizten could be spread-akimbo as we ll; there is something erotic about their poses 16 The expression in German nie in Leben is like over my dead body. Initially, I chose the idiomatically similar expression in English. However, I think I make a different choice somewhere else in the text because it seems too colloquial. Consistency is important.
Trotter 38 that. I felt like a balloon, hollow and filled with dark light17 noble gas, weightless out of fear. In the middle of the rive r it came towards us, the Ne w Year. Andreas looked at his watch and pulled out of his backpack the ch ampagne which we had so proudly brought to the celebration, the bottle was three times as expensive as my new down jacket, which obviously looked very smart, since it came from the West. In addition to the things of the past which were counted among the ordinary things of Soviet life a kind of random messengers of the be headed time, we saw some in other apartments things out of the other life From a world in whic h (almost) no one was allowed out of, and (almost) no one came back, we bracketed18 out the Soviet elite, which had nothing to do with the lives of me and my friends. From the other life : A bottle of gin long since emptied, on its label a juniper branch, and from the bottle rises smoky spring grass, like a genie. A fashion magazine, lets say, Vogue It lies on a small tabl e next to the television program with its Soviet-yellowish paper like a tropical butterfly alongside indigenous flies. A chocolate box of painted sheet metal, th e Secession patterns lines fit well with the Singer -sewing machine, with the gol den sphinx on the black sewingmachines body, and with the cast iron legs of the little table on which the box of chocolates lies, because the chocolates have been eaten and now the box preserves buttons, needles and thre ad, star-shaped spools. I love you, Singer sewing machine, because you gave me (and not only me) a first, though rough idea of the fin de sicle In every house in which there was not enough money to buy a new, stemming from the technologi cal revolution of the 60s, ugly electric sewing machine, were even you a thing of the past, which had us admire19 the vases and boxes. And now my down jacket. That was nice of you, Andryusha. The poor western students came to this country where they suddenly became rich. They brought such things from the other life from home, or they bought them in special shops called "Berjoska" (Little Birch) in whic h only western money was accepted. Cheap goods from the West, with their shallow, shiny su rfaces, all the shimmeri ng folds of artificial silk, pretty disposable watches and refrigerator magnets becam e a symbol of the free, the better world. 17 Play on the word light for weight and color, as it is juxtaposed to dark 18 This bracket is awkward, but the Soviet elite was ba sed on a system of power expressed in brackets of committees and secretaries, and so that word seems appropriate here. 19 Schmeicheln
Trotter 39 On the one hand: Nabokov, he was (in our minds) plainly from before ,heard of Iosif Brodskii in Leningrad in the late 60s, a young poet, outstanding, a favorite of Anna Akhmatova, had difficulties with authority. What does Nabokov, a chessascetic, a Word snob, a butterfly dandy, do? He sends the young genius a pair of blue jeans. And it was good that he did. The young genius hence had a piece of the fr eer and better world on his butt. On the other hand: Once I was at Pavels, the Sinologist on the be arskin, and his wife Antonia, the dancer who was a vanishing slim presence, almost always silent, and almost always smiling friendlily, for tea. I, then sixteen year s old and otherwise bold and quick-witted, was always embarrassed and shy in the presence of both. A tiny cup of ash gray Chinese porcelain, decorated with a wet gray dra gon with red eyes, I confused out of embarrassment with an ashtray and knocke d the cigarette ash into it. Antonia immediately brought me another one. For tea (it was only called tea, all drank coffee), Fyodor was also invited, a sinister-looking underground poet.20 He sat there and waited for someone to ask him to read his poems. Until then, he drank coffee from a dragon cup with a silver spoon in it. Do you21 know, Fyodor, said Pave l, what distinguishes militiamen from all other people? They are brave and have no fear of poking out an eye while drinking tea. Fyodor took his spoon out of the cup. Pavel show ed us a letter from Paris, from his girlfriend,22 a former dissident, feminist,23 editor24 of an underground magazine. Some time ago, she was finally able leave the country, after years of interrogations, house searches and the threat of imprisonment. Th e letter infuriated Pavel. Do you know what she writes to me? About two-hundr ed cheese types in the Fren ch shops (at the time in Leningrad, we were lucky if we could find any cheese at all), about a shoe store, where a sales lady searches for two hours for the appr opriate shoes for her, without a sign of irritation (I can no longer rememb er today what we actually had on our feet then, for all the emptiness of our shoe shops). This now is her independence, all these big words, you think it's about freedom of speech, about cu lture, about conscience. No, its about mass merchandise for which one is finally accepted! 20 This may be a reference to Notes from Underground, and if it is, an English reader may not be quick to recognize it. However, making the assumption for the reader by translating it differently would be wrong. 21 In the source text, this is noted as Sie and implie s that the two speakers are not very close or havent had opportunity to offer the other du 22 The term Freundin is confusing in German, since it is the same word for a friend that is a girl and girlfriend. The distinguishing mark is whether a possessi ve is placed in front of it, in this case, seiner makes this woman his girlfriend. 23 I should point out that Martynova does not use the and in her series. Its not a careless omission on my part. 24 Herausgeberin can be translated as editor, pub lisher, and issuer, all which are different positions on a magazines staff.
Trotter 40 But at the same time, Pavel's apartment, of all places, displayed a wild mix of things from the past and those of the other life : Antonia's brother, Victor, was married to an American and lived overseas. But a bottle of good champagne is a bottle of good champagne and belongs more to the things of the past (and Mot and Veuve Clicquot, and th e champagne AY were thanks to the many classic poems even things from poetry The one from Andreas was called AY la Pelle). Time becomes space here, I said, after we had toasted to the New Year in the middle of the river. I knew that Andreas had no use for25 Wagner and that this line would sound vulgar to him. True, said Andryusha, let us drink to Bakhtin and his chronotope. The trolleybus stopped! The new year arrived right in the middle of the Neva! We drank the whole bottle of champagne! I said, turnin g my gaze away from the dark pink scar of my ear in the mirror. "Oh" said Antonia a nd took my jacket with the kindness that distinguished all members of her family from all other people as if they were mythical creatures. Christmas Decorations on New Years Eve (pg. 20-23) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917-1933-1934-1937-1941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 A Christmas tree stood in the room. Between the piano and the bearskin, the fir resembled a singer who had put on too many rh inestone pendants, glass bead necklaces and painted bracelets. Antonia's grandmother who with her longnosed ibis-face over her broad-shouldered body resembled an Egyptian deity wanted to tell the guests fr om abroad why we celebrate the New Year as Christmas. A ndryuscha, whom I dragged along everywhere this winter, the American John, a student of Antonias brother Victor, who, like Andryuscha, did his semester abroad in Leningrad, and Thrse, a blond Frenchwoman, the spitting image of the woman on the cover of the Finnish soft-cheese Viola, the third of the triplet I discovered later in Germany on the margarine Rama, was in the picture, but listened attentively to the grandmother anyway. She remembered when the fir trees were abolished in the 20s and declared as re gressive, yes, dangerous. It was not just the atheist propaganda, it was the genuine enthusia sm of the new people, she said. At fifteen the grandmother became a person of yesterday. Then she became (in small logical steps, as the S-Bahn advertisement for a language school describing its manner of teaching says, which I am currently glancing at returning for a moment from the past) a person of today. This winter she was eigh ty-four, she probably no longer had any of this exterminated person of yesterday in herself (only the ma jestic stance and ineradicable courtesy could have betrayed her). But exac tly that which was condemned in her youth 25 The idiomatic expression nichts damit anfangen can be translated into another idiomatic expression in English
Trotter 41 was wanted now.26 The new patriotism wanted to reorganize the tsarist era, the few survivors ( people of the past) were admired. She remembers how unasked, the authorities in the 30s had demanded the Soviet children to be pleased with a decorated Christmas tree at New Years. However tasteless it seemed and how perverse it was to go along with it she did it to be safe. Furthermore, one didnt want to deprive ones own children of all joys. Andreas called the grandmother Pique Dame.27 John did to. Thrse also called her Pique Dame Maybe they were on the lookout for Russian exoticism and saw Pique Dame and Nachtasyl,28 everywhere. In reality she was an Egyptian deity, the ibis-headed Thoth. However, our Slavic philology scholar s, and they were of course all Slavic philology scholars, were more experienced than us in this little Christmas tree experience, we were born into these traditions and so were our parents, and our grandparents, frightened their whole-lives,29 only recently considered such digressions safe. The decorations: the Little Red Riding Hood, th e airplane, the ear of corn... the ear of corn, the prescribed promise of the early 60s as tree decoration, th e memory of how the late Khrushchev was in America, saw the w ealth, and recognized: The corn makes them rich, and he came home and ordered corn to be grown with all ones might up to the limits of the sphere of power. Antonia invites us to a game: Which guest knows verses to recite about one of these figures? John points immediately to a glass little30 tiger and says: Tiger, tiger, burning bright, in the forests of the night; What immortal hand or eye, Could frame thy fearful symmetry?31 Andreas chooses the Red Star (disguised Bethle hem Star) at the top of the tree. His verse is Russian and refers to neither a Christian no r a soviet star symbol: In the midst of the world, in the light of the stars, I repeat the name of a star, not that I love him, but the others make me dark. I take a thing of the past, a blond little angel in a long shir t next to the Little Red Riding Hood, and recite: My Lizzie wears no pants / Ever since the first of April, / Because she does not want to from the boundless / heat suffer. 26 A move for more fluency was made here. This passage seems to require it more and it has been necessary to balance fluency and loyalty throughout the translation process. 27 In French in the ST 28 Literally, this is night asylum; it is a place people can go to at night if they have nowhere else to go. It can be considered similar to a homeless shelter. Ho wever, it has a special significance to Russians and Germans due to the reference to the play by Maxim Go rki, a celebrated Russian writer. In this same way, Pique Dame is a reference to the short story by Alexander Pushkin. The Queen of Spades is a powerful, intimidating woman. The insertion of famous Russian works into a German text brings the exoticism Marina describes. 29 Zeitlebens created word literally meaning time of lives, implies duration 30 There is not a way to translate the diminutive ending in the same way as it is created in the German, with the -chen morpheme. Instead, I must use the word little 31 This is the original English in the ST as well.
Trotter 42 In a chair, which is at home in its list of things from the past with its wooden jaws and claws, sits the gloomy poet Fyodor and he keeps his eyes on the puppet-like cosmonaut Gagarin, on whose helmet the le tters CCCP shine forth. The Ch ristmas tree baubles from the 60s later became the passion of Andryusch as father, and I brought some of them along with me for him every ti me I traveled to Germany. Antonia looks at Fyodor. Her gray eyes are eternally serious, to a certain degree in contrast to her sophisticated lady-like app earance. A week ago Fyodor had read his new poem to us about a cosmonaut who, secured with a rope to the ship hovered in space, like a Christmas tree bauble. But now Fyodor thi nks that no one remembers his poem, and believes that he was invited in order to be insulted. Antonia re cites Fyodors poem and reveals with that first, her good memor y, and secondly, her fine sense of tact.32 The dying century had turned into a fat lazy pooch. Hardly anything about him reminded one of that wolfhound whose maniacal eyes had deprived Mandels tam of mind and life.33 To have foreign friends ( people of the other life) was still considered dangerous, but the state security showed no interest in us dur ing the time while Andr eas was studying in St. Petersburg. I remember how, five years before that, Antonias brothe r Viktor, who fell in love with an American and then married he r and was summoned to an interrogation every morning. But rather than inte rrogating him, they tried to speak to his conscience:34 Dont you know, not only is Miss35 Epstein a capitalist and pot ential spy, she is also a Jew, you should be ashamed of yourself, a nobleman, your ancestors, lauter Prinzen would damn you for it. Grandmother Thoth who feared anything and everything her whole life because of the lauter Prinzen could no longer comprehe nd that. Nobility was now en vogue Maybe the State Security was behavi ng quietly, only to suddenly bite? But in the end, the state dissolved itself into not hing. Andreas went home. I stayed at home. What do I still remember of this winter? There was not much left of the substance of the time we knew and trusted.36 It became liquid and sparse. Y ou could see that it was almost run out. The round, closed world in whic h I was born, flew away like a balloon. What was, for example, in this ba lloon and flew away with it my side (pg. 24-26) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917-1933-1934-1937-1941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 The horror of my parents, that I intro duced to them a German as my boyfriend. Especially my father, already seventy at th e time, age-wise he could have been my 32 Unfortunately, this word in German can be rhythm and tact, the play on words when talking about poems works well in the source text, but I cannot rea lly replicate that in the target text (TT). 33 This reference is to Mandestams poem (1931/1935). Mandelstam died as a result of Stalins oppression, hence the reference to the poem at this point in the story. Please see appendix. 34 An example of ST and TT having similar idiomatic expressions, just the preposition is off in ins Gewissen geredet: 35 Referred to Miss in the ST 36 Vertraut has a double meaning, both are accounted for with knew and trusted
Trotter 43 grandfather, didnt like to see it. My grandfather died in 1937 of consumption, later my grandmother found out that a warrant had been di spatched for his arrest and that only this death saved him from a Gulag and a doubtless37 more tortuous death. He, a general with medals for bravery from World War I, had decided to serve the new power and not to go into exile. At the beginning of the 30s, the We imar Republic sent its officers to Bolshevik Russia. Here, they could carry out the military exercises which were forbidden to the German Reich after World War I. Historians say, that these exercises were to serve the military technical training. Both lands were enemies, but also losers in the war, this contributed perhaps to ce rtain solidarity of the militaries. Whatever.38 Time flowed39 on. They stopped coming. My grandfather died. Th e former enemies became enemies again. My grandmother, also an Egyptian god, the falcon Horus, more strongly built than Grandmother Thot, with a not so long, but rounded, hooked nose, she still had decades to live among the exterminators of the Egyptian go ds, she had to pretend as if she wasnt one, she had to raise her children so that no one would recognize th eir belonging to this bird-headed species. War broke out. The young bird-headed men (they were the few exceptions, most had discarded their bird-heads and replaced them with normal ones) believed that fighting for the communist regime was contemptible. But these same heads held strong principles: A man must defend his homeland. They had no choice, anyway. Grandmother Horus didnt want to make it all even more difficult for my father. At first, she stood silently at the side of her husband who had decided to fight for the new powers. She didnt show her children then, how much everything Soviet disgusted her. From this perspective, she was seen as th e picture-perfect wife, selfless and patient. Decades later, in the 60s, my father was present as a journalist at a reception. The Swedish ambassador drank too much vodka. It was perhaps the best Soviet vodka, it was called Posolskya (Ambassador). The drunken Swede voiced40 himself quite undiplomatically that his Russian colleagues were good Burschen ,41 but a tad too plebian, he in contrast looks back on five-hundred years of nobility. My father (who had also treated himself to Ambassador vodka) countered: As a noblema n, I am a few hundred years older than you, but about that I am not proud. Proud42 am I about belonging to the Communist Party since 1944. My grandmother Horus was also mu te about that. The views of her son were not hers, they were, however, protected43 by her. She had raised my father only in the awareness of the second half of the dilemma: hence, he went into the war with the proud feeling of doing his duty. With what feeling di d the son of that Germ an officer go to war, one who face-to-face with grandfather implied profound disgust for the National Socialists? The younger brother of my father wa s deported together with the Jews by the Germans, his delicate falcon face seemed to them un-Slavic, hence Jewish. No one ever 37 hchstwahrscheinlich is difficult to translate into one word in English, basically, it means most likely, but also with high probability. 38 Perhaps whatever is an incongruous way to write Wie auch immer 39 Martynova used verfloss and I tried to preserve the idea of time as a river.40 In German, uerte sich is a reflexive verb implyi ng that the speaker outs herself, that she is opening herself up and making herself at the same time vulnerable. Voicing does not have quite the same power. 41 This word, Burschen is an image only available in the German The word lads does not get across the same idea, nor fellows, and chaps raises an image too specific for an English speaker 42 German construction made it possible to put these two words together in some kind of rhetoric style. It is only barely possible in English43 Gehtet implies the protection of something very valuable to the protector
Trotter 44 heard anything from him again. That was the last thing that my grandmother had written my father before her letters no longer reached him. The regiment comrades of my father believed that he was lucky to no longer have any relatives, death isnt as horrible then. Only at the end of the war was the Army postal service able to get him the letters from his mother again. In February 1945 she wrote: Today I dreamed of Peter the First. He said that the war would end on May first. The letters of my father, field-post-triangles,44 I recently found in a book, War and Peace He wrote out of East Prussia: The Germans have no culture, I havent found a book in any house, only albums with Hitler sketches. Grandmother Horus was also, according to Andryuscha, a Pique Dame My Grandmother Horus and Antonias Grandmother Thoth were girlfriends. Thats why I was accepted into this company, in which a mute Antonia reigned, even though I was at least ten years younger than everyone else there. When I informed my parents about Andryusch as visit, they were astounded. Or even shocked. I wonder if my father would have re acted the same way if Andreas had been an East German. What was, for example, in this ba lloon and flew away with it Andreas side (pg. 27) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917-1933-1934-1937-19411942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 When Andreas shared with his father that he wanted to add Slavic studies to his German studies and on top of that trav el to Russia, the father was mum. He was mum for a week. His right arm had remained lyi ng in front of the besieged Le ningrad. Then he said (even though no one had asked for his permission), th at he approved. (Go, but get me my arm backof course he didnt say that). New Years Eve at Antonias Grandmother Thoths house (pg. 28) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917-1933-1934-1937-1941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 Around 3 oclock in the morni ng, the doorbell rang. Pavel made a mysterious face and places his index finger in front of his lips; the resulting cross signified we should be silent. Then, he tiptoed to open the door. On the way, he turned off the light. Suddenly, through the clear violet of the window, one was able to see the fallen snow. From the hallway, it buzzed deep and tenderly. In th e doorway, from the breast height of a human floated a manger in a large puppet theater box. Li ttle candles were lighted therein. In tow 44 The Feldpostdreieck is considered an unmistakable symbol of WWII. It is the German word for letters sent from the Soviet front. Soviet soldiers did not have envelopes, so they folded up their paper into triangles, with the writing facing inwards. The triangle s were left unsealed for the easy censoring by the Soviet post.
Trotter 45 of a pale tinfoil star came three mini Kings in cloaks of tinfoil. Following them was Herod with a red crown. The star stood45 still. All the figures did as well. With them time as well. Then the voices of the new guests joined into a Christmas carol46 in a Hutsul dialect. It was a group of actors. During th e summer, they had been on a folkloristic expedition in the Carpathian mountains and there they recreated the Nativity play box and recorded the songs. Daniil Kharms and his friends (Pavels Christmas Present) (pg. 29-30) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 19171933-19341937-1941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 What else do I know about this winter? My prize for the Christmas tree decorations quiz was given to me by Pavel, festive and just as secretive, as when he opened the door for the actors and the way he was on the whole about his surpri ses. It was the typewritten copy of a manuscript. Pavel s circle of acquaintances47 was just as enigmatic as he himself. He knew a friend of Daniil Khar ms. A few times already he had given me valuable copies of manuscripts which attested for victims48 of the bloodiest events of the most bloodthirsty eras (the people of the many bloody dramas of bloodthirsty era.) Of Daniil Kharms and his friends. In the mid-30s, they sat in their sparse rooms at their meager meals and sometimes plentiful drinks and engaged in strange conversations. One said: Some people have foreseen these changes of humanity which we are now privy toas if indeed a new race came to the fore front. But they all imagined it approximately and incorrectly. We, on the other hand, see it wi th our own eyes. We should write a book about it, bear witness. Since later it will be impossible to understand the difference, for us so noticeable. The other said: It resembles the records of Marcus Aurelius during a time when the empire was at its limits, in which he can no longer return and really no longer has any business49 being. I read it on January 1st. 45 I am aware that this is not standard for a star that doesnt walk, but it is what Martynova used. 46 In German Krippenspiellied goes well with the refe rence to the Krippe (manger), but in English it is not really possible. 47 Bekanntenkreis 48 Martynova uses the word Personen here, but I am unsure of how to get across the fact that the people are part of the bloodiest events without labeling their ro le in the events. Problem is, I am assuming that role for the reader, but persons would not make any sense 49 Working off an idiomatic expression in English for the idiomatic in German: nicht mehr zu suchen hat
Trotter 46 II Hotel breakfasts (pg. 31-32) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917-1933-1934-1937-1941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 Like anyone who is convenient,50 I love hotel breakfasts. Like anyone who is convenient, Mister HH also love d hotel breakfasts, wrote an au thor of the realist school a hundred and fifty years ago. The impossibility of describing this fictive Mister NN, his thin hair, his crouched po stureyou must be joking!51 brought Modernism to life, whose poets treated their own thin hair and crouc hed postures with disgust and wonder, and who, instead of constructing an imaginary Mist er NN with fictional life rules, tortured themselves with their own lawlessness. One says that even Leo Tolstoy in his old agestubborn as he wasasserted that it was no longer possible to write about a man born from fantasy, how he comes to the table, sits on a chair, etc. The old man, after he had i ndulged in everything, wanted to take all the joy out of this world from others: Bodily love is disgusting, good eating is immoral, to describe Mister NN was no longer possible. So, I love hotel breakfasts, but I do not know why. No more equations, not more steady rules like: to be convenient means: one love hotel breakfasts. Anot her troublemaker, not less stubborn than Tolstoy Thomas Bernhard knew how to invent wonderfully absurd equations, but he produced them with the imp licitness of a Tolstoy. In a walk through the woods, he lets his implication discover "There are so many wayside i nns, because it is so dark. So much darkness, I say, a lot of wayside inns. The Time-river (pg. 33-34) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917-1933-1934-1937-1941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 The breakfast room is still empty, I am glad to have peace: After yesterdays long ride and thenlong beyond midnighta telephone call with Andreas and a sleep that was accompanied by the sound of the rain. I fancied in the dream to be in the middle of my time river, not in the arms of my Zeitflussweib,52 but rather with Andreas at my side, with his thin face from twenty years ago, that of a German student as one had imagined such a one in Russia in the 19th Century: the large, somewhat laughable Schiller nose, sleepy 50 Bequem can mean comfortable or convenient, but in this sense it means more lazy/opportune. However, I cant find a good way to say that of a person. It is not really used to describe people in English. Opportunistic may be the best? 51 da lachen ja die Hhner is slang for you must be joking or dont make me laugh. 52 Invented word from Martynova, literally translated, time-river-woman
Trotter 47 eyes, a strand of hair53 which always falls in the face in the color of yellowed grass in the fall. A timid appearance, but now and then a condescending smile from out of the sleepiness: For example when laughing, Andreas said typical Pavel, pointing to the cigarette ashes, books, and manuscripts spread by Pavel across the floor. Pavel in return, shrugging: Do you know, Marina, there are people who do everything thats good and proper54 but forget, at the same time, that wh at constitutes life is to do what is not proper. Then, I dreamed about his present f ace of a German professor, age suits him and his smile is no longer condescending, but so mehow too sad to appear really friendly, his eyes appear alert and attentive, only the strand continues to fall in his face. When the rain stopped, I could no longer sleep. You didnt call, I knew that you were already there, but my Handy55 was mute, I thought, did I maybe offend you, but this time I didnt know how. These words lulled me to sleep, bu t then they deprived me of sleep. What did you decide, he asked me, and I didnt know the answer. Andryuscha, lets talk about it in a week, when I come to you, alri ght? I say, I have to concentrate on my lectures now, okay? The sun rolled on, still groggy from sleep. She blew neither the whitish haze out of the air, nor took the last remnants of the moisture from the shrubs in the garden behind the hotels glass wall, round lik e that of a pavilion. Nightingales in the night (pg. 35-36) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917-1933-1934-1937-1941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 Meanwhile, I do have a dinner party.56 Last night one could hear th e nightingales in the park says Manfred, a Slavist studies scholar from Bielefeld, whose recommendation I have to thank for this invitation here. The others also heard them. How often have I partaken in such a conversation, on a summery morning in a hotel in which German literaries57 have breakfast? (Many German poets, I thought, many nightingales). No, God knows why I argue every time that it was nightingales, not nightingales, they were ( larks says Manfred and laughs) blackbirds. 53 Martynova only uses Strhne here. I am not sure if the of hair is implicit in the German or if adding it to the TT is too much. 54 Good and proper is an English expression which I felt was the closest equivalent for was sich gehrt. 55 In German, the word for cell-phone is an interesting linguistic phenomenon. Germans have taken an English adjective meaning useful or convenient and created a German noun This adjective is related to a word which both the Germans and the English use for Hand. Now, at some point Martynova makes a play on this and so I think that keeping the German in the English text is helpful for the reader. 56 Tischgesellschaft 57 I needed to make up an English word that an English reader would understand (based upon cognitive ability) to get the German idea across
Trotter 48 An older poet unknown to me takes the napkin on his lap, folds it accurately, looks over the golden rim of his glasses and says: It was the lark, the herald of the morning, not the nightingale. I feel a sudden wave of sympathy for this fellowship which was summoned in a short time to recite, for a few days, to the audien ce (and each other) their own poems and prose or to recite other artists' works or to make music and sell books and CDs (if the audience will be so kind to show up; the poet Fyodor who came yesterday from Holland, tells me about how he had to read his poems in a book store in front of four knitting women, what a shame, Fyodor, that it was not three, then you would have been able to see the three Fates in them, I say. Yes, says F yodor, but for all that, the fourth bought a book of mine in Dutch, and another one in Russian for her nephew, because he is married to a Polish woman). Or try (like me) to imagin e the most unimaginable poets of the last century. Soon we will drive from the hotel to the different places over which the summer conference58 is spread. For the tenth time I reach into my bag. And with an unused Hello Andreas in my mouth, which for the tenth time solidifies before the teeth-border,59 I put the cell phone back. Leave it, Marina, it is not your60 cell phone says Anna, a poet from Moscow, it is the starlings, they peep, your cell phone rings lik e jazz, and the starlings are copying other ring tones, I dont know which. In my grandmothers garden, the starlings sing the main theme of her favorite soap-opera. Fyodor looks at her contemptuously, as if he wanted to say, well, look at this ornithologist! Cant actualize a single decent verse and thinks she knows about everything. The prose writer Nikolai from Moscow is ne utrally silent. I also dont speak, want to concentrate and think about my lecture today. I wonder if I should tell about the Daniil Kharms widow as she rambles61 through the bombed-out Berlin. Shoebill in the ruins of Berlin (pg. 37-38) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917-1933-1934-19371941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 One of the researchers traced Daniil Kharms widow, the beautiful Marina Malitsch. To the Caribbean coast. In Venezuela. He ha s recorded and written down her memories. Actually the sensation of a century. But the Oberiuts, as Kharms and his friends are 58 Here Martynova uses the word festival which does not bring to mind, for the English reader, the conference that this event is.59 In English, things that are usually lips in German become teeth 60 Ihr, Anna and Marina use each others first names, but are not on first-name-basis 61 Irrt comes from the verb irren. It is related to the word Irre, a crazy pe rson. Rambles seems to fit best.
Trotter 49 most frequently called, are the apple of discord62 in literature studies. Many colleagues argue whether the book in which he recorded their stories is authentic or whether he invented63 a lot himself. Some call it, even in the bibliographies of their Kharms books: Our man Daniil Kharms like a running gag.64 I think, however, that neither he nor any other would have had the ability to inve nt something like that. In any case, on that one is at least in agreement, for some have visited the old woman overseas the stations of her life became known: She walked to the prison in order to give a package to Kharms, a bit of bread, which in besieged Leningrad meant that she gave hi m her own ration and was herself close to starving. She had to cross the frozen Neva, the sun shone, the snow piles glittered, the German planes hummed the song of time, that here had become space. She passed by two boys who begged for food, then they fell ove r from weakness, she went on. When she reached her destination, she learned that Khar ms had died. She thought with brief regret about the two boys. She could have given them the bread. She was evacuated to a village which shortly thereafter the Germans occupied. She was then deported65 to Germany and put in a household. She peeled potatoes and wiped floors up to the night in which the nightingales chimed66 among the fresh rubble of Berlin. She wandered through the town until she came to a camp of French prisoners and with them she could later escape to Paris. The American bombs fell and fell. Or were they already Russian cannons? To the people, it seemed like the end of th e world, to the animals it seemed like a hunt. On new years eve, it is both. For the animal s. But Andryuschas mother also told me, when I was over for supper on New Years Day, that every year on this night she must think of the bombing. In the dawns light, so I imagine it, Marina Malitsch encounters, from the bombed z oo, a run-away shoebill and disapprovingly shakes her head. The death-bird in the zoo (pg. 39) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917-1933-1934-1937-1941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 When I was in the Berlin a year ago, I told Andryusha that I finally wanted to go to the zoo. I wanted to see this invi sible bird that sat itself on Gombrowiczs shoulder when he returned to Europe after a quarter-of-a-century in Argentina. I had encountered my death already under some such other circumst ances writes Witold Gombrowicz, but 62 Zankapfelliterally apple of discord, could be transl ated as bone of contention if going for domestication63 Dichtet is the word for created/invented as well as the verb for producing poetry. 64 Martynova uses the English expression since the word for the literary device in which a joke or comical reference appears throughout a series of works does not really exist in German65 Verschleppte has a negative connotation similar to d ragged or carried off. However, since English readers would be more familiar with the connotation of deported, I decided to do that. However, it is one of my more risky choices. 66 schlugen can mean many things ranging from knocking to beating to pulsing. I chose chime because she uses the nightingale like a clock in that it marks the hours by chiming.
Trotter 50 these encounters salvaged some amount of failu re which still left a view of life. In the zoo,67 on the other hand, I met death directlyand since then he does not depart from my side. I should not have left America. And he finishes: So from then on, death sat on my shoulder at all moments, like a bird, during my entire stay in Berlin. If you like, said Andreas. It was a ra iny morning. We were sitting in a pub.68 Philemon and Baucis (The common things of life) (pg. 40-42) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917-1933-1934-1937-1941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 Why did you get a divorce? Andreas asked me The small marble table on the cast iron legs, like those of the old Singer sewing m achine, foot-powered sewing machine, only somewhat more ascetic and without the pedal, had a stain on its top from someones beer. Look, I said, Africa. No, said Andryus cha, that is Latin America, typical, you quickly recognize a similarity and then no longer make an effort to look closer. Andryuscha, I wanted to say, I will never marry you I got myself divorced after Igor once claimed that a side-street would shorten the way to Antonias and Pavel, but I knew for sure that it would be ten minutes longer. Then I suddenly felt an equally hot as icy wave of hate that alarmed me, I imagined the successive years, the increase in cases of such disputes and nothings ( dont speak nonsense, that was the past spring, then my aunt had retired and we visited her, and on the way I bought this red dressbut, no, you dont remember anymore, it was in the past fall, I know for a fact69 we had to have the car repaired ). These small fragments of the daily routine ( Please, never again put the socks in this drawer, that way no one can find anything), these arranged70 factors of life, things that shake the body a cold flame flying71 over the skin, sulkiness, just as intense as the warm glow of passion once fl owed over this same skin.72 Every second is now a toxic resentful observation, ready to attack, as love once let a ll the nice little things be registered. Philemon and Baucis they were the only ones in the entire village who were not in emerged in a like conversation, when someone knocked at the doo r. (Neither out of fear nor out of avarice, but based solely on hate had the neighbors not opened. Agathe, will you open? Dont you see, Agathon, Im in the middle of cleaning this stupid73 pot. And you, you open it, its most likely your brothe r, the chatterer But no, it's still too early for him, that's certainly your uncle, coming to borrow something. Agathe tries to calm herself by polishing the rounds of drunken satyrs on the broad pot handle especially 67 This is actually Tiergarten but the distinction is not too important 68 The word Martynova uses is Kneipe, I am not sure what is appropriate, since it is not really a caf, but it is too early to be sitting in a bar. 69 Ich wei genau has the same idea as the English idiomatic I know for a fact 70 Gngige is a weird word because the meaning is w idespread, predominant, or common, but it is used here as form-factor, or everyday 71 Martynova has fahren here, but I wanted to keep the alliteration with the flame and the flow later 72 Flamme fhrt and Licht der Leidenschaft: I n eeded to displace a few of Martynovas alliterations. 73 I may be taking some liberties with translating at this point because it is dialogue and I want to get the distinction of exterior versus inte rior dialogue across to the reader.
Trotter 51 devotedly. Agathon goes to open, but no one is th ere, only a darkness filled by invisible crickets. The impatient gods had moved on until they came to the smallest and poorest hut.) Why did the two remain poor? They were neither lazy nor st upid, just perfectly happy74 together. I'll open it, Philemon, you had a ha rd day. What did they have to talk about, before they responded to the questi on of the gods, what then their wish was? Philemon, let us say that I am to die first, let me say that Philemon, not a breath will I take without you, I want no s unlight nor moonlight. Shyl y and awkwardly begs the wizened hand. He shakes his head, his big nose looks out of the branches like a Hoopoe, they come (none but the first) to stand t ough leaves, at some point they will wither simultaneously. Or Faust75 will let them be cut down. Do you not see an elephant there, Andryuscha ? I could say. But the truth is, I'm not ir ritated. For all I care, the spot can also be South America, although I clearly see an elephant, which speaks for Africa. But I say nothing, do not respond to Andryuschas questio n, and also leave my counter question unasked. It would have been: Why did you marry your now l ong since divorced from you wife sixteen years ago? That was the biggest mortification76 of my life. Back them, while we were sitting at ma rble cafe tables and exchanging about the contours of the continents, Antonia called me on the cell-phone and said Pavel is doing very badly. She said, Today, into his sick room an old man, accompanied by his wife, came. They were both so fragile, you would ju st have to have compassion, but I only felt the jealous because of all the years, decades, th at they had lived together... Does he need a specific medicine, Andreas asked, which does not exist in Russia? Should I get some? No, Antonia answered, we have everything, thank you my dear. You know what, I said, maybe they were already old when they had met and married. It was the single stupidest thing one c ould say. Antonia laughed a la ugh that was worse than sobbing. I fly back tomorrow and Ill come straight from the airport to you, I added. Zoo nevertheless? Andreas asked. The death-bird in the zoo (pg. 43) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917-1933-1934-1937-1941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 Andreas held the umbrella with the facial expression that meant: You always with your ideas, oh well, here are your birds. He told me, a bit bored, about the bombings and the street battles which also h it the zoo. The animals died su rprised. Not even courage was demanded from them. Then, the cadavers we re counted and the survivors collected 74 Wunschlos glcklich, literally without a wish happy, completely satisfied. 75 Reference to Goethes masterpiece, Faust II, in which an allusion to Philemon and Baucus is also made, but in which the main character, Faust, wants them moved, out of sight, but Mephisto has them cuts down (killed). In this same Act (Act V) the three fates also make an appearance. 76 Martynova uses Krnkung which can have several meanings ranging from hurt to insult. She uses it in the sense of a slighted lover
Trotter 52 (brought to a Displaced Animals Camp?77 I asked. No, said Andreas, shot, I believe. They were dangerous to the peopl e). Dead elephants supposedly look like octopuses on the seafloor. A few birds were able to save themselves. One Manx stork, one shoebill stork (the shoebill, my favorite bird, was shown to me once by Andryushkas uncle Peter in the Frankfurter zoo: He alternat ely resembled a large lost child or a little lost old man,78 he refused to eat the fish out of the hand of the keeper, only shook his heavy head, the shoe of his b eak looked insulted and sad).79 Andreas and I strolled around slowly be tween the enclosures, pits, and signs.80 A few old gazebos stood round, greenish, and cramped. Bu t most of the birds had new aviaries, bright and spacious. A Kagu from New Caledonia left looking for comparisons: How out of dusty silver, from behind an aged Rock singer with grayed braid, from the front a poignant image of a chick, and in profile a baroque Casanova with a powdered wig. Russia is home of the Elephants! (pg. 44-46) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917 -1933-1934-19371941 -1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 Once, my students collected signatures for an elephant. The Petersburg Zoo should finally acquire an elephant again. In the si gned letter were stories which enchanted me even though I didnt consider them to the purpose: The first Petersburg elephant came in 1714 from Persia, a present of the Shah to Peter the Great, a magnificently decorated animal, intimid ating, affirming the folk-belief that Peter did shady deals with the devil.81 But the elephant could not serve the folk religion long: It soon died. Unclear whether it died of cold or the spirits which one poured into it in to warm it. The Shah was not stingy with ele phants and gladly sent a fresh supply: The elephants came running along the Volga and the inhabitants of the v illages ran miles long after them. But in 1917 (my students performed a jump) came the October Revolution. The revolutionary watermen shot the imperial elephants, probably as class enemies. (Back then, the death-bird spread its wi ngs on both sides of the Neva. The greatgrandparents of my school gi rlfriend Lisa were murdered by a maid and her lover, a revolutionary sailor, in one of those nights. Th e maid with the starched lace apron and the lad with the handsome sailors cap suddenly und erstood that the lives of the masters, in this case, the Jewish capitalists were no l onger worth anything. Lisa s great-grandfather 77 Phrase was originally in English. The Displaced Persons camp was an American concept created following World War II. Camps were set up over Aust ria and Western Germany for survivors of the Nazi Concentration camps and Zwangsarbeiter (forced laborers). 78 Greis 79 The word order here is actually traurig und beleidig t but in order to translate the accurate connotation of insulted in this case, I felt that a more pitiful point was reached when one read sad second. 80 I particularly made this choice in the distinc tion between walked and strolled because Martynova originally has the g sound repeated in the Geheg en and Gruben, and since I could not replicate the combination of alliteration and description, I changed the verb for alliteration with slowly. 81 Krumme Geschfte mit dem Teufela colloquial expression
Trotter 53 Solomon was a businessman of the first guild, which enabled him to live in Petersburg. (In Tsarist Russia, a Jew who was not a busin essman of the first two guilds or who had no university diploma needed to stay in Bela rus or the Ukraine.) The great-grandfather Solomon also had a university diploma. Li sas great-grandmother Rachel came home late, she had visited her cousin Hannah, do you know, she said to her husband, Hannah told me that these barbarians shot the el ephants, just like that, out of arrogance. She quickly removed her jewelry and went upstair s into the nursery, Lisas grandmother was already sleeping, she told the maid that she can have the next morning off ( Ja Madame,merci Madame82), and went to sleep, never to wake up again. They took a little money, a few bracelets, necklaces, and earrings in the house remained a lot of blood and Lisas sleeping grandmother (she then grew up at Hannahs) and the indigo-blue Rococo case with the image of the th ree seated women in front of a rosebush. And that document about great-grandfather Solomons right to life in Petersburg. But my students didnt know about a ny of this, only about the elephants: An elephant cow, Betti, survived the Revolu tion and lived in the Leningrad Zoo until she was killed by the first German bombings in September 1941. In the fifties, North Vietnam made Leningrad a present of th e elephant Syun. However, he died of homesickness in 1982. Elephants are poor linguists; they can learn orders in only one language. When the Vietnamese who had brought him left, he became more and more sad and moody, until he could not go on.write my students. Its true, I thought: When Andyruscha and I visi ted the zoo in Leningrad at the end of the 80s, there were no elephants there. Russia is home of the elephant s! called Andryusha, grinning. This beloved Russian jest was reminiscent of the patriotic campaign of the late Stalin era. We stood in front of the greenishly shimmering polar bear, then we ate Eskimo ice cream and had our photograph taken with painted cardboard Indi ans. Besides us, only the toddler-led grandparents were there. Some of the children could have been my future students who had not come face-to-face with an elephant. In their letter, they wrote: There is already a generation of children that has grown up, never having seen a live elephant, never a having reached a carrot to wards a clever trunk. Thus, a city loses its face. 82 It is important to note that the language of the Russian nobility was actually French.
Trotter 54 The death-bird in the zoo (pg. 47) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917-1933-1934-1937-1941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 At the Berlin Zoo, I told Andreas about the Elephant cow Betti. Dead elephants resemble octopuses, dont th ey? I said. No, he said.83 Andreas read to me about the Kagu from New Caledonia. Probably because he would otherwise read his two childre n signs at the zoo. There are only a few Kagus left in existence, most live in zoos. They dont fl y. And why should they? No one threatened them in New Caledonia until the Europeans came Sure, the Kanaks, the aboriginals, ate them, but only the French brought their dogs along: Juliette, watch out that Moustache doesnt run away from you in the wilderness!Yes, Papa, I will, Papa, oh Papa, Moustach ran away! Juliette cries, after two days he r wind chime is back, happy, out of the pointed muzzle hang the powdered Casanova-strands. When Andryushka finally asked me in the Ber lin Zoo whether I want ed to marry him, I said, you know, besides that are also e ndangered plants. Andryushka looked at me staggered and said, yes, I know, Li sa often talked about that. On the leaves of a gigantic Nymphaea (pg. 48-49) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917-1933-1934-1937-1941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 At that time84 when Andryuscha left Leningrad, he wrote me a few postcards, I also wrote him a few postcards, the internet di d not exist yet; telephoning was expensive for him as well as for me. He took advantage of every opportunity to come to Leningrad, even worked part-time85 as a tour guide. Time began to creak and to crack.86 The borders became relaxed; I planned my first trip to Germany. Once Andreas called me and reported that he would get married. Why? I wanted to ask. But we continued talking, as if it was nothing, as if nothing were so matter of fact as that. He continued to send me post cards and called me every so often. Time wa s already far along with its creaking and cracking. Food became scarce. One received tickets for the purchase of a specific amount of sugar, butter, powdered detergent per month. The pe ople took their places and demonstrated for and against everything: fo r calling Leningrad Sa int Petersburg again, 83 The I said, he said seems a bit abrupt, but is goes in line with the several non sequiturs which occur in this passage. Also, the translation of nicht wahr was tricky. Literally, it means not true, but the idiomatic expression is a negation can be preserved with the do not they. 84 Martynova uses damals a lot whic h is a time expression that is syntactically difficult to translate. 85 The word Martynova uses is jobben, which is a word that needs many words in English to be explained. It is to have many quickly varying jobs, or always only small engagements for work, or parttime employment(s), with low pay, and probably spend little effort on them 86 Maybe not the best words, but chosen in an effort to preserve the alliteration.
Trotter 55 against calling Leningrad Saint Petersburg again; for dissolving the Soviet Union, against dissolving the Soviet Union; for the freedom of sexual or ientation, against the same. As for standing up for the rights of el ephants, their sense of justice did not yet reach. When I told my professor that I want ed to write my dissertation on Daniil Kharms and indeed the influence of German poetry on him, he answered, su rprising himself with his courage, I think, that is even possible. Once Lisa came and related that in the botanical garden where she worked, very rare plants froze, because the heating system no longer worked. Do you know she said, there are some among them that survived the siege, the employees brought them home, then with them in the evacuations, and then they brought these plants back. And now they are dying.87 While she was telling that, I thought of how once Andryuscha and I were with her in the Botanical Gardens. She invited us to stand on the leaves of a giga ntic Nymphaea, with their upwardly tilted edges, they were like green frying pans. I immediately jumped onto the smooth surface, Andreas hesitated, he didnt want to believe that it would not go under, under88 his weight. While I was thin king about it, the doorbell89 rang, and it was Andreas. We then spoke as a trio about the exotic plants. Lis a, Andreas said, why did the botanists take the plants home back then, and now you just watch how the plants are dying? Typical socialist attitude, which back then the ol d employees didnt have. Youre right90 Lisa said. Tomorrow I will take a few home with me. But if they catch me and accuse me of thievery, you have to bring me packages in jail! Andreas put his backpack on the kitchen table and pulled out chocolat e, cookies, sausages, and many other good things that, he had heard, we no longer had. We prepared a su pper, invited Antonia, Paval, and Fyodor, my presently former and at the time futu re husband also came. I thought, its good that way. Kanaks, pack your bags! (pg. 50) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917-1933-1934-1937-1941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 When Andryushka finally asked me in the Ber lin Zoo whether I want ed to marry him, I wanted to say so much to him about it, Andreas I wanted to say, if only you asked me twenty years ago, if I want to marry you; what should I leave everything that was my life for the past two decades in order to be your wife, and what do I do in Germany, do you have a lack of unemployed German studies scholars? I wanted to say. But I said nothing. 87 Eingehen is a unique German word reserved for the death of plants which do not just die, but whither and shrink. 88 There is a play with the word unter and untergehen here intentionally replicated to the best of my ability. 89 The door part is implied in the German. I had to make a choice between domesticating and making it easier for the English reader, or leaving it implied in the English90 Stimmt: a monosyllabic expression of agreement which had no simple equivalent in English.
Trotter 56 When we went to the car, we saw a line ju mp over the wall. Kanaks, pack your bags! Are there a lot of Kanaks who stay here, countrymen of the Kagu bird, I asked myself. Andreas shook his head disapprov ingly like a shoe bill, but unlike the shoe bill, it was not a touching impression, one suddenl y saw his age, an aging German professor who had just, to an after all still young Russian doctor of philosophy,91 proposed marriage. Neither a shoebill nor a Ka gu from New Caledonia could sit on someones shoulder. What kind of bird was it, in Gombrowiczs case? Probably one that one can come across everywhere. A sparrow for instance. Young and Old (pg. 51) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917-1933-1934-1937-1941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 A family is still sitting at breakfast. Daught er with a pale, uneven face, probably not pretty, I see, howeversince at least fifteen years lie be tween usonly her youth and not the lack of poverty. She is cantankerous, dissatisfied, quiet. But when her parents talk to her, she answers politely. The mother making a lively effort, tries to keep the family entertained. Between her and me also lie about fifteen years, only in the other direction. The fathera pretty boy.92 Of course the girl would ra ther spend the weekend with a boyfriend, who possibly does not even exist ye t. The father probably had better options. The mother offers everything up to enjoy the fa mily weekend. The girl who is clearly the most unfortunate,93 can afford this misfortune. Much grief she doesnt know yet. The mother surely. A counterpart to this group ar e the young and the old authors. The old joke and laugh and make fun of94 each other. The young authors are serious and polite. And I'm between old and young and do not know if I should still be serious or already joking. 91 It is clear that a lot of emphasis is put on her doctorate, but its weird that the expression in German sounds much more formal. Also, in German the expre ssion is of philology, while in English it is of philosophy 92 A Schnling, could also be a pansy 93 In German, the word for unfortunate and unhappy is the same word. However, the word for misfortune is Unglck, so I tried to preserve the original play with words. 94 an English idiomatic expression which is most similar to machen sich lstig ber einander
Trotter 57 How beautiful is an unselfish conversation! (Yet something more from the papers which Pavel gave me) (pg. 52) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 19171933-19341937-1941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 Our dinner party95 talks for a while about nightingale s. Out of tiredness, I also become talkative, telling about Kharms and his friends, how namely one of them, Leonid Lipavsky, had gone over to transcribe their conversations, he calle d it photographing. That was in 1933 and 1934. Not even twenty years after the revolution. And yet: in small logistical steps people, even the aut hors, turned into Sovi et people and Soviet authors respectively. Who didnt become one was an anomaly, formless. Such were Kharms and his likes. But I dont want to tell the company that now. Lipavsky loved conversations, he wrote: How beautiful is unselfish conversation! No one needs anything from the others, and everyone ta lks when and about what they want. Two goddesses stand behind the interlocutors: the Goddess of Freedom and the Goddess of Earnestness. They look with kindness and respect on the pe ople, they listen to the conversation with interest. With this, I want to tell the others, how ni ce it is to chat abou t nightingales on a calm summer morning. I'm not sure if anyone took notice of my message. Numbers and Figures (Yet something more from the papers which Pavel gave me) (pg. 5355) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 19171933-1934-1937-1941 -1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 The smaller, then all the96 more The smaller, then all the moreThe smaller, then all the more A little girl repeats that incessant ly. Its mother-yes, I know that one no longer writes it, its,97 when talking about a girl, but the rule once cost me so much trouble when learning German that I will stick with itits mother concentratively eats a fruit salad. After the girl had eaten up its chocolate, it begins to te ar to shreds the iridescent aluminum wrapper. First it has two, then f our, then eight little silver papers which indeed98 keep getting smaller. It decides for quant ity over size. But what really fascinates it is the rule which it is just discovering: The smaller, then all the moreThe smaller, then all the moreThe smaller, then all the more. And I continue to relate: Kharms and his friends chose nonsense as a way of knowing. They wanted to understand the absurd world in which they had to live. That was the step 95 Tischgesellschaft can also mean literary circle, which would also make sense in this context. 96 Desto is a word that does no t really translate into English 97 Martynova actively works with the neutral expression for girl in German 98 Freilich is a very south-German word that I was not quite sure how to translate.
Trotter 58 of Chekhov, whose stories of everyday life ar e already on the threshol d of the theater of the absurd,99 in the chaos of the 20th Century. And their conversations (I look at Manfred who also translates theater pieces and knows a few theater people) ar e an enormous play. If only it finally found a director! Lipavsky said: Well, I read a brilliant book: Goethe s Color Theory. Since I couldnt read Faust to the end, bleak, and hereeverything brilliant. Oleynikov said: Leibnitz had100 remarkable thoughts about colo rs. I no longer know the particulars, but broadly outlined, it is this: Th e colors are tiny figures, triangles, etc. And the glass, which doesnt let through certain colors, is simply a sieve, which is not fitting for such figures. Vvedensky said: Distance is measured with time. Time is infinitely divi sible. Thus, there is also no distance. One c annot add nothing and nothing.101 Lipavsky said: Why do you think that the moment is infinitely divisible? Freedom of fragmentation means that the moment can be also arbitrarily large. The moments are probably, in fact, of every size, large and sm all, and contained within one another. The girl creates a circle with thumb and foreigner and looks through this circle. In this way, it tries to see all object s roundly: With the linden crow ns it is easy, it becomes more difficult with the cypresses; with her plum p mother it can well succeed, but how do you manage the long bony Fyodor? AGE CHART WHICH NIKOLAI SABO LOZKY TOGETHER WITH LEONID LIPAVSKY COMPILED: 0 to 10 years-an infant 10 to 20 yearsa child 20 to 30 yearsan adolescent 30 to 40 yearsa teenager 40 to 50 yearsa young man 50 to 60 yearsa mature man 60 to 70 yearsin the prime of life 70 to 80 yearsaged 80 to 90 yearsan old person 90 to 100 yearsan old man 100 to 110 yearsat the evening of life 110 to 120 yearsMarasmus102 99 The OBERIU group became known fo r its performances which foreshad owed the European theater of the absurd. 100 In the German, the action is passive versus active. However, I could not think of how to better translate this. 101 there is beautiful rhythm in nichts und nichts nicht addieren that cannot be easily replicated in the English. 102 A word originating in Gree k basically meaning decayed.
Trotter 59 120 to 130 years-dying 130 to 140 yearsagony 140 to 150 yearstaking ones last breath Daniil Kharms, born 1905, arrested on the th ird of August 1941, starved to death on the second of February in the prison hospital. Nikolai Oleynikov, born 1898, arrested on the th ird of June, 1937, shot on November 24th of the same year. Alexander Vvedensky, born 1904, arrested 1941, died during the transport to the prison. Leonid Lipavsky, born 1904, fell near Leningr ad during the war in November 1941. Nikolai Sabolozky, born 1903, came into prison 1939, released 1946, died 1958. This I related to the company, then we left and the mother of the girl fascinated by numbers and figures had finish ed with her fruit salad. Synopsis The novel opens with Marina Alexandrovas (the reader only later learns her last name) in a sort of dream-state in which sh e remembers a scene from her early years of life. In this fantastic scene, she is held in the arms of a strange woman who stands in a strange river, coined Zeitfluss by Marina The Zeitfluss envelope s a real memory of how Marina received a scar on her ear. The last paragraph of the first chapter introduces the trip Marina is about to make during which she will talk about the seltsamsten Dichtern Petersburgs [strangest Petersburg poets] and closes with the mention of Marinas former friend/lover, Andreas. In th is way, the two foci of the events of this novel are established. The second chapter describes Marinas land ing in a (German) airport and walking through the customs check. The accidental power ing of the toothbrush in her travel bag and the customs agents fear of a bomb reminds Marina of an exercise Marinas former lover did with his students, in which the stude nts were to predict th e ending of a short story about a man and a suitcas e. Marina had done the same exercise with her students and her favorite ending had involved a bomb.
Trotter 60 The third chapter takes place in a train as Marina leaves the airport to go to her conference location. Marina notes the lands cape and thinks of Andreas (whom she nicknames Andryuscha), and how they both met in a time and place which no longer exists: St. Petersburg during th e Soviet Union. This leads to a sort of flash-back to the time in which Andreas was studying in Leni ngrad and when Marina and Andreas are invited to celebrate the New Year at Marinas best friends, Antonias, house. Antonia is a ballerina who is in a relationship with Pavel, a sinologis t. Marina and Andreas come late to the party because the public transpor tation broke-down and they decide to walk across the frozen Neva. On their walk across, they take a break as it strikes midnight to celebrate the New Year. Here Marina makes reference to Dinge von frher [things from before], which connect the past event Mart ynova is talking about to a past beyond 1987 and things before the Russian Revolution. In this portion the reader is introduced to Pavel, Antonia, and Fyodor; all three are ar tists and befriended to Marina. The Dinge von frher occupy a space in the presen t while connecting to the past. The celebration at Antonias is provided in more detail, displaying the Soviet custom of celebrating the New Year with Christmas traditions, since the communist atheist state did not allow Chri stmas. References are made to the old Russian aristocracy, referred to by Marina as Egyptian gods, and the effects of the Re volution (including the fear) on the everyday lives of the people. Allusions are made to great Russian literature and Soviet accomplishments, such as th e Soviet Space Program, however they are overshadowed by the slightly critical voices of Marinas friends. The next two chapters are anticlimactic to the New Years celebration. Marina talks about her family in light of the end of the Soviet era, and then about how Andreas
Trotter 61 and Marina break the news about their rela tionship to their parents, at which point historical knowledge about th e tensions between the German s and Russians, and the west Germans and Russians, is made relevant. Marina continues through pa ge 28 to recollect the events of the winter from 19861987 and to connect it to the present Daniil Kh arms conference. Apparently, during that winter Marina was given documents about and by Kharms and his friends. It is implied that her interest in the OB ERIU group started then. Part II of the novel opens back fully in the present in which Marina is having breakfast with the other conference presente rs, but manages to include thoughts of past people and events in her thoughts of the pres ent. Marina is anxi ous to get a hold of Andreas, and must constantly remind herself th at she is sitting at a table with other people, but she gets distracted by memories of her friends in Leningrad and visions of the events from Kharms and his wifes lives. Then the reader finds out that Marina had been in Berlin a year before the conference to visit Andreas. Du ring this visit, it seems that an old-flame has been resparked and between visits to the zoo, allusions to Greek fables, and memories of the Marinas past and collectiv e Russian past recounted by Marina, Andreas proposes marriage to Marina. In 2005, Ma rina rejects Andreas questio n. However, from what she thinks in 2006, the reader knows that she is not sure that she made the right decision. Back in the present, the reader is intr oduced to several scenes of Germany and German families from Marinas point of view, which are then connected to her knowledge about Kharms and the OBERIU grou p. I have translated up to this point.
Trotter 62 Part III opens in the present with Mari na giving her presentation. After that, she has more time to contemplate what happene d between her and Andreas. Marina had visited Germany quite often in the years fo llowing Andreas study abro ad. Together with another mutual friend, John (also at the confer ence), they traveled th roughout Siberia, in the Middle East and Soviet military zones. Part of the way they took the train, and at some point they end up in the desert around th e Aral Sea; its descri ption and the events around it take up several pages. At one point, they are mobbed by an unknown group of locals. At another point they come across a hippie commune (where they meet Mascha and Mischa, whom Marina visits later) and th roughout these travels a distinction between freedom and confinement (better said in the German as Freiheit and Unfreiheit) is defined. Returning to a more immediate past in which Marina contemplates her last visit with Andreas, references are made to German -Russian historical co ntact points through both their grandparents. Then, Marina is in St. Petersburg again, in her memory, and trying to figure out what had just happened between Andreas and herself. She realizes that she had never stopped thinking about him, and this realiz ation blends in well with her contemplations of the irrelevancy of time. In the meantime, in Germany, Marina waits to hear from An dreas, since now her main obligation is over and she is ready to re turn to Russia. She becomes occupied with the rest of the conference and the conference members. Their exchanges are sometimes oddly familiar and simultaneously illuminate ja rring foreign differences. The reader is reminded several times of the simultane ously occurring FIFA soccer World Cup.
Trotter 63 German Tricolor (pg. 88-9) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917-1933-1934-1937-1941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 After lunch, I followed the winding streets of the little city in search of an internet caf. The soccer world cup made things cozy even in this remote place: The German colors everywhere and the thrice-fold, if not103 three-sided politeness of all those who heard my accent. Above the chairs and tables of the street cafes television screens:104 windows to the green of the fields and the color of the stands, wh irring and buzzing windows that would then and when joyfully or disappointed cry out. Instead of an internet caf, I run into members of the c onference who didnt know where an internet cafe could be, and didnt miss it. Laura sat with an open newspaper under the canopy of a tea garden,105 the awning still striped and old-fashioned blue-w hite, the tables updated to a black-red-golden tablecloth, and she ranted about the Bachmann Prize jury. The shining black strands of her hair and the lusterless, motley newspaper pages pl ayed in the wind with one another. Manfred treated me in an ice-cream shop, to black, red, and gold Amerikaner106 behind the pastry counter, and ranted about Putin. Manfred would107 call me after every television report about Russia. Whenever my mother hears his voice on the messagerecording machine, she says shocked: O h God! What have we done this time?! Fyodor ranted108 about Andreas and that he did leave Berlin. Fyodor, already irritated, thought that no one would co me to his presentation109 other than four ladies knitting. Which idiots, he said at breakfast, came up with the idea to hold the conference110 during the world cup? The id iots were present and la ughed embarrassed, but Manfred said that tonight would not be an important game. 103 um nicht zu sagen 104 The subject is actually placed at the beginning of the sentence in th e German, but in order to make it clear in the English what the windows are, I placed the TV screens at the end. 105 The word Martynova uses is Gartenlokal, which could be translated as an open-air restaurant, beer garden or garden caf. I didnt want to repeat the word caf too often in this passage, and beer garden gives the wrong impression to English readers. I feel that tea garden was appropriate. 106 An Amerikaner is an American, but also a black-and-white, a cookie. 107 The term here is pflegte which is literary translated as fostered but means a habitual action. I wasnt sure whether to preserve the foreignness or translate it idiomatically. 108 Martynova uses this word three times for three di fferent people. The word rant (for schimpfte auf) works, but not for all of them? I use grumble instead 109 Could be reading, presentation, or lecture Vorlesung 110 Martynova uses the word festival, however, the character is participatin g in a literary conference
Trotter 64 Synopsis continued Part IV opens with one of Fyodors poems and the next few chapters develop the idea of the color bleu nattier. It gives Mari na a chance to contemplate the effects of a specific viewpoint on events, and the images res onate with the readers considerations of the benefits of looking at the past fr om the perspective of the present. In one chapter, Gregor, one of the confer ence members, is introduced. Gregor is a Berlin artist who occupies Ma rinas time for a while, but sh e is constantly thinking about Andreas. Then, in a memory about Andreas midway through the novel, the allusion to Joseph Roth novel and the namesake of the Ma rtynovas novel is made. At this point, Andreas negates the statement made by the novel, that even parrots will outlive us, since he corrects the notion that parr ots can grow to be three-hundr ed years old. Rather, they become 100 years old at best. Then, in a nother interesting passage about lifetimes, Andreas challenges Marinas notions of time: her life is wie ein Fluss, der zwischendurch underirdisch flie t, und sich dann wieder ze igt [likie a river, which occasionally runs under the earth and then shows itself again] (Martynova 97). He supports the idea of Brche der Zeit and presents to her the ability to see time differently, just as the reader is challenged by Martynova to do the same. The following pages are filled with referen ces to colors, and Marina thinks about how life since 1988 would have been different had there been inte rnet. These thoughts make the reader consider the way the world and writing has changed since the end of the Cold War and internet: Die Welt hat ihre alten Farben abgelegt und sich mit neuen geschmckt [the world laid off its old colors and decorated itself with new ones] (101). Following this, Martynova takes the opportunity to describe the foggy facts of history,
Trotter 65 that it no longer can be clear whose gra ndfather was Opfer [victim] and whose grandfather was Henker [executioner]. Then, the novel continues with Marinas thoughts about how Andreas stay in Leningrad was in 1986, and the reader is able to read about how a Russian thinks about how her city looks to a West German. This por tion of the novel brings the interactions of east and west, German and Soviet mindset, most into concrete reality. Suddenly, in the chap ter titled Zukunft [F uture], the reader is interrupted by thoughts of the future from the perspective of Fyodor, the poet from Marinas past who is also in Berlin, in the present. What is initia lly interesting about this chapter is that only the year 2006 is bolded in the chapter banner, which reminds the reader that the future can only ever exist in the present. The main thing to take away from this poem reading, Marinas thoughts, and the discussion with the poet afterwar d, is that Wird die Zukunft zu Vergangenheit, ist sie auf andere Weis e ungewiss [When the future becomes past, it becomes unknown in another way] (106). Th is poem is followed by another one, and then transforms into a thoughts of the past ag ain as another poet at this poetry reading presents. One finds out about Fyodors life as an underground poet who did many things in order to get by as a poet not recognized by the Soviet state. After the poetry reading, the group goes out to dinner; Marina still does not hear from Andreas. The poetry interlude flows well into a di scussion of language and the continuing tensions between Russians and Germans. Th en, most fascinating for the translator, Martynova translates a snippe t of one of the OBERIU me mbers works in two ways. Unfortunately, not much analysis of the work done in these translations is presented, and the novel continues.
Trotter 66 Part V opens with the present again, and Marina is alone in her hotel room, anxiousness enveloping her, and the reader is informed of the physiological and physiological effects on Marina since she still has not heard from Andreas. The next day she goes to an internet caf and has fruitl ess dialogue with a personified Google search after she types in Wo bist du, Andreas? [W here are you, Andreas?] (120). Conversation with Fyodor at breakfast is more eventful and frames the next 17 pages. Marina takes the reader back into 2005 when she returns to Leningrad from Berlin after visiting the proposing Andreas to comf ort Antonia, whose husband Pavel has just had a heart-attack. A series of years are ex amined from this vantage point in which Antonias grandmother and her life experiences are revealed. The reader is taken from World War II and the siege of Leningrad by the Germans to 1871 and the siege of the Paris by the Prussians. The series of even ts are rounded-up by one of the only timeless portions of the novel which features a fablelike, poetic description of four poets who pass the four seasons by in reciting a poem. With this, Martynova presents the reader with yet another idea of time. It is reminiscen t of time before calendars and clocks echoed in the stories created by ancient cultures. s olange sie das tun, warden die Jahreszeiten einander ordentlich folgen. Wenn sie aufhr en, wird die Welt im Urchaos versinken [As long as they do this, the seasons will orderl y follow one another. When they cease, the world will since into Urchaos (original chaos)] (130). Following this, the reader learns that Pa vel is released from the hospital, and Marina runs into another person while on the conference tour in Berlin. This new person is Katharina, and with her Marina discusse s Petersburg, at one point criticized as a Potemkin village, for the benefit of an older couple. Cross-cultural stereotypes are once
Trotter 67 again examined and slightly criticized (bot h the good and bad ones). Katharina, also a German student who came to Leningrad in 1986 at the same time as Andreas, brings the German-Russian relationship to a head and Marina decides that the history, including World War II and the siege of Leningrad, are not so important to her present. In a way, this is a turning point for Marina, who may s till be trying to decide whether she wants to forget the past neglect of her relationship with Andreas and start fresh. Another timeless episode evaluates what Marinas de cision means to her, the Sisyphusarbeit [Sisyphus work] (139), and then the reader is back in the present, eating breakfast with Fyodor. VI Cinematographic (pg. 141) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917-1933-1934-1937-1941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 The morning slowly passes over into noon. It is drizzling, but the sun is also there, somewhat dampened by water dust. We have bl ack-red-yellow umbrellas, a gift from the local German-Russian Association (thanks Katharina). Just now, two cyclists pass us, a girl and a boy, they hold hands, each one ha s only one hand on the handlebars, the image becomes prettier and prettier in the rainy, sun-splintered pers pective of the railway station street.111 Look, said Fyodor, how cinematogr aphic. Do you remember, all filmmakers in the 50s filmed cyclists. All cyclists! I cant remember a specific movie wheel.112 But it is true: Cyclists create a space around them modeling an atmospherically perfect form. Today, a forgotten Handy113that rings in vain on a park benc h or in a car seat would be a universal hieroglyph of the time. Wher e is your pocket phone singing, Andreas? 111 In German, the name for the str eet is Bahnhofstrae, a common name given to a street on which the train station is located. 112 Martynova uses the expression Kinorad, which is a movie reel, but it plays on the word Rad, the word for bicycle. Since I cannot re plicate the whole word, I can use th e word wheel. It rhymes, makes the reader think of bicycle, and is also a frame that turns on axis. 113 I explained in another footnote the origin of the word Handy and the German use of the word. Later in the sentence, Martynova uses her proposed alternative.
Trotter 68 In the train (p. 142) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917-1933-1934-1937-1941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 Fyodor slams the book shut (he took with him as a travel-reading114 Elective Affinities,115 he wanted to read something German in Germany) and said decisively: Dont do it, Marina. With them, it was exactly the same. And Fyodor tells me in his way the story that I had almost forgotten: of two nolonger-so-young people who once were in love with one another, separated and each married another person, widowed (do you understand, it wasnt so easy back-then with divo rce, so Goethe killed-off the spouses of both) and met each other again after years, al l that in order to enter into a marriage116 that would end in a catastrophe. Happiness-Sorrow Relationship (pg. 143-144) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917-1933-1934-1937-1941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 Not that I wouldnt have thought of it without understanding117 a clear link, I tell Fyodor a bout my grandmother not about the one from the family of the Egyptian deities with the Falcon nose, but of the other, of the one with the cornflower blue eyes and snub nose of a village girl from the Central Russian hills. Her husband could send her with two small children out of the besieged Leningrad into the countrysid e; he himself stayed and di ed of starvation. In her midthirties she met an officer who had lost his w hole family in war (believed to have lost). The wedding day had already been decided wh en his family notified him through the Red Cross. He wanted to get a divorce, having falle n in love with the co rnflower-blue eyes of my grandmother. She said: Go, those there have waited for you. Since then, she has always been alone. Today, since nether she, nor he, nor the unhoped-for turned-up wife is alive, from the view of the cosmic harmony, it doesnt matter which woman got a husband and which one didnt: the general happiness-sorrow-relationship remains the same (no matter which lot we consider as happiness and which as suffering). 114 Reiselektre is a culturally specific name for something that a person will take with them to read on their journey to/from a travel destination. It can be anything, ranging from classical literature to a travel guide. In the spring/summer, German bookstores usually have special stands where they provide sales and suggestions for good travel reading-matter.115 Elective Affinities, Die Wahlverwandschaften, is a novel by Goethe. Fyodor describes the plot to Marina. Please see Appendix. 116 The idiomatic expression for enteri ng the marriage contract is Ehe sc hlieen, which does not directly translate positively into English. 117 Martynova does not use verstehen, but she emphasizes that the connection is not clear to Marina.
Trotter 69 Fyodor, I say, I dont know.118 Fyodor, I say, just as the outwardly invisi ble skeleton holds the body together, the fate of a person is determined by an inwardly invisible frame. Sure, says Fyodor. Old Age (pg. 145-147) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917-1933-1934-1937-1941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 Both of my grandmothersafter their persona l papers had been lost during the Second World War and the offices in which they were registered did not survive the bombings had, with the issuing119 of the new birth certificates a nd passports, a couple years be written off.120 In the end, not even their children knew how old the old ladies really were, Grandmama became ninety, or no, eight y-six, or ninety-three after all? (When I talk about my grandmothers, a conversation partner sometimes tells me: Oh! Exactly like with my Grandma!121) What did that want to achieve with that? The only result was that they came late into the enjoyment of their pension. How does one measure age, do you know, Fyodor? Sure do, with the number of options th at you still have, so it is written,122 dont you remember, Marina, in my Fro m the life of a Pharmacist? FROM THE LIFE OF A PHARMACIST (I) 1. A day comes and you realize: you will never explore the Amazon Basin, never ride a canoe, never save a Quechua girl from an alligator and abduct her, 2. not that, 118 The idiomatic expression for expr essing ignorance in German includ es the nonspecific pronoun it, which is not included in the English expression. 119 Erstellung is a word which could mean cr eation, however it has a bureaucratic connotation. 120 A German expression for erase is the same as writing [someone/something] off I was not sure in translating this if I should get rid of the reference to writing, or use the more easily understood expression of erase. 121 Martynova uses Oma, which is a common nickna me for a grandmother. Grandma is the closest equivalent, but Granny could also be used. 122 Es steht literally means it stands, and can be used to refer to something th at is written in a specific text. However, the verb cannot be literally translated and easily understood This is also not the instance in which to push foreignization.
Trotter 70 3. instead, you will train in your hometown to be a pharmacist 4. you will never learn Spanish 5. you have missed the opportunity to stop your bald spot from spreading 6. and everyday brings the disappear ance of a hypothetical possibility, 7. until only one option remains FROM THE LIFE OF A PHARMACIST (II) 1. A day comes and in your hometown a little Indi an tribe will be playing its bamboo flutes on the plaza at the end of the shopping-strip,123 2. you will talk with an Indian girl who is selling her on the drum-table displayed CDs;124 she says 3. she sings evenings in a jazzclub with a fo lk-jazz group and you are warmly invited, 4. the sluggish time layer is scraped off your life as if you had maintained all these years the dream of falling in love with an Indian girl, as if these twen ty years had never been, as if you had not yet become a pharmacist Dont do it (pg. 148) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917-1933-1934-1937-1941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 Am I not confronted, are you not confronted, Andreas, by the possibility that we have missed twenty years ago? Are we therefore at tracted to each other because when we now contemplate such an eventuality we ha ve the feeling that the sluggish time layer 123 Verkaufstrae 124 The construction of this sentence in German with the verb at the end of the clau se cannot be replicated, but I wanted to replicate the time it takes the reader to understand exactly what is happening, as Martynova intended.
Trotter 71 crumbles off our lives? Bu t is that not the final Unfreiheit? bondage? To be irrevocably without options? Does the dozing Fyodor w ith his "Do not do it" see that right? i can still switch countries i will never again see my father125 i can start a family and have a loud, happy house, like my friend Lisa i will never become a dancer i can still become a professor i will never own the freedom that the hermits, hobos, wandering monks, the Buddhists who can speak with emptine ss, and their imitators, the bums on the road126 have (in their other Unfreedom because for them there is probably no way back), I will never just let everything lie and take this freedom, lik e I only once almost was ready to try. Bums on the Road (pg. 149) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917-1933-1934-1937-1941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 After Andreas had told me on the phone that he was getting marrie d, I didnt know really, what I should do with my life. I had successf ully completed my graduate studies, the topic for my doctorate dissertati on was interesting, my PhD sponsor127 was very attentive--so I just continued to live life un til one day I had the feeling: It cannot go like this. I threw some jeans and all the t-shirts that I had into a large bag, borrowed some money from my old128 school friend Lisa, told my parents that I would spend the semester vacation with Lisa with her rela tives in Moscow, and made my long way to Lake Baikal, Siberia, to Buryatia to Dazan, the Buddhist monastery. 125 Later (page 198), Martynova described the different shades of shadows. In this chapter, she changes the shade of the font color. 126 This is the original expression used by Martynova, as in the title of her next chapter 127 This term is most easily translated as PhD adviser or supervisor, or doctorate dissertation supervisor, but the term Doktorvater is used to describe a more supporting relationship than adviser or supervisor. sponsor seems to emulate the relations hip best; the sponsor will be invested in the success of her student. 128 In German, Schulfreund/in refers to someone whom one knows since one was in school together. Usually, student in Germany go to school with the same classmate through graduation. In English, the expression schoolfriend does not have the same idea of old friend, so I included old in the translation.
Trotter 72 The huge head (pg. 150) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917-1933-1934-1937-1941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 Masha and Misha live in Ulan Ude, Buryatia s capital. When they slept over my place that one time (driven by the same hippie contact network through which we found the mountain apiary for our Central Asian trip) they told of Dazan. I rea lly wanted to see it and followed their invitation (differently than planned: without Andr eas). Everywhere the same Soviet architecture, spooky in its sa meness, supplanted the dignified and dapper wooden houses of the old city in Ulan Ude, which was called Verkhneudinsk until 1934 and was founded even a few decades earlier than St. Petersburg had been. A giant Lenin head was hanging over the main square: seven times larger than the average human (built in the same year as the Karl-Marx-head in Chemnitz129 (the one there is only three-and-ahalf people large, so I've heard)). A bit fishy to me was when we were under his huge chinbeard and Misha was telling me about the Buryat shamanism, which had not been entirely eradicated by Buddhist monks, the Russian Orthodox popes and later the Soviet enlighteners.130 Originals and copies (pg. 160-163) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917-1933-1934-1937-1941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 (131Such spheres of enthusiasm132 I later believed to have once felt in St. Peter's Square in Rome. Four years ago. Andreas was fres hly divorced. And I was in Berlin giving a lecture. It was also my (thirty-second) birthday. Andreas gifted me with a weekend in Rome. He had ordered two rooms. And we actually stayed in two separate rooms (133did Andreas want it so? was this invitation really a purely friendly gesture? Or did Andreas at the time already plan to take up again the almo st fifteen-years left lying start, and could not decide (since every normal man is afraid of the woman whom he likes)? Now I know 129 Chemnitz, found in Saxony, Germany, is another example of a city whose name changed since the collapse of the USSR. From 1953 to 1990, it was named Karl-Marx Stadt (hence the giant head statue). 130 The communists were atheist and after the revolution, religious groups were persecuted in a manner similar to the Volksaufklrung during the Age of Reason. 131 This open parenthesis is never closed. Whether this is a mistake of the editor or done on purpose by Martynova is unknown 132 Begeisterungskugelnthis is not a word used in German, but one can understand it in the context of the previous chapter in which Marina describes the invisible, metaphorical balloons filled up by the enthusiasm of the masses in Leningrad, but which slowly deflated as the masses slowly lost their enthusiasm about the impending collapse of the Soviet Union. (It is very interesting to see this event from an insiders perspective, but at the same time someone who looks at it critically from an outsiders understanding). The previous metaphor is extended into this chapter in re ference to the large groups of people found in Rome, and the closing paragraph of this chapter include the paragraph of the last chapter verbatim. 133 Another open parenthesis without a close.
Trotter 73 how stupid this question is, at that time I was in fact quite uncertain. I was curious, a bit tense, but not really, I mean, there is no comparison with this feeling which Ive had for a year, and also now, which says there will be no thing more important in the world than the hours spent with Andreas. Andreas absolute ly wanted to see the Pope, who on Sunday was to declare a few new saints before th e cheering crowd, but we had breakfasted too long, because he tried to tell me about his marriage, and what his mistake was and what Sabines was (I nodded attentiv e and sympathetic, but understa nding little, be tter said, nothing). In getting up, I accidentally knocked my sunglasses off the table, they stayed on the paved stones like a giant ant slashed at the waist. The honest Andreas refused to buy off street merchants the fake YSL, CD, or D&G ; but to find a suitable shop proved to be surprisingly difficult. When I put on my new sunglasses, my Moscow acquaintance, prosewriter134 Nikolai, suddenly stepped into the muffled by benevolent glasses picture: I invite you two to a coffee in the Greco, yesterday I received a prize for the best foreign book. Poor Andreas, it would of course have been extremely impolite to refuse the invitation. We picked out a table in Caff Greco above which Nikolai Gogols tender face, resembling a red-cheeked Ukrainian lass135 with mustache, smiled down from the wall. Look, Kolya I tell the prose writer how strange136 I found the visit to the Vatican,137 can you understand, as a kid I often skipped school to visit the Hermitage. Raphaels loggias, have you been there by us? The long co rridor with the unnaturally pretty plants, fruits and animals. You know, in Rome, they had excavated Nero's Golden House in the 15th Century and discovered such images, the Grotesques, which immediately became the fashion. Raphael bou nd their doppelgnger138 to the loggias of the Vatican. And later, Catherine the Great ordered Raphaels repeated for herself in the Hermitage. The corridor was always empty. The lost in space and time silence, silent birds of paradise on the walls, in the big windows, the gray, wet Pete rsburg. And now Raphael's loggias in the Vatican testify to the whole inauthenticity of my Raphael loggias at the Hermitage. You know, as though someone had smoothly taken away my homeland. When I saw the originals of my copies here, you know, Kolya, its like, I mean, the world in which we grew up is like just imagine: how would the west-Europeans have lived, what would 134 In German, there is a profession called prosewriter, in English the term must be invented to describe a writer who focuses in prose. The word prosaist, sounds oddly formal 135 Martynova uses the word Mdel, which had no English equivalent except for the U.S. southern regional word gal, or the British regional word lass (I preferred the latter) 136Seltsam in German can mean strange, odd, weird, off-key in English. I found it hard to pick one to use. 137 In English, the word Vatican stands as a sy necdoche for the entire complex. In German it is sometimes referred to by name as the museum. The reverse is done in English for the Hermitage. The museum of art and culture in St. Petersburg is referred to in Russian as State Hermitage or just as Hermitage. In English, it is the sometimes, usually, Hermitage Museum. 138 Doppelgnger--one of those words which previous translators have spared me the work of explaining
Trotter 74 they have become, had the Turks at the time that Italian soil was ra ked-through in search of ancient sculptures, conquered not Constantinople, but Rome? And over Constantinople only the silent noise would re main, as it hangs today above Vienna: If you are in Vienna and for a while stand still, eavesdrop to the sound above the turmoilmurmur,139 you will with the delicate Slavic cu rses mixed, hear fine clatter of Ottoman cavalry and the gentle rustling of th e Golden Horn. They, the West Europeans, would have no antiquity, neither the Laocon nor Raphael's loggias, they then would have to be content with catching140 and copying Byzantine art from us. This spoken with meaningless excitement monologue141 Nikolai heard with an empathetic face (two years later, he gifted me his new novel, in which the topic originals in Rome copies in Russia appears: A comical teacher leads her class through the Pushkin Museum in Moscow shows the faked sculptures and sighs: These are copies, oh, how I would like to see the origin als, if only for one little second!142 And this same teacher is treated to143 the originals in paradise, where the kindhearted Nikolai lets her stay after her death, a paradise that looks like Rome. W ell, they are so in Moscow, Fyodor told me. I do not know, Fyodor, I replied, why he wrote that: Did he misunderstand me or did he not know that one better not write about complicated stuff in books? But Fyodor said, Marina, when you talk, sometimes no one understands you anyway.) Nikolai Gogol's crow-face beneath the smooth, greasy hair smiled during my spoken with meaningless excitement monologue. While Andreas was forever144 looking at his watch. See you later,145 namesake, Nikolai bid Gogol farewell. When we were finally in the Square, ever ything was already over, the crowd broke up, only the invisible, but percep tible balloons hung in the air, filled with enthusiasm, but they had already lost some of their filli ng, had become a bit tired and no longer strove upwards, but were in the air and had the tend ency to descend. Andreas was peeved and I 139 Getmmelgemurmel is an invented word by Martynova, but it sounds so poetic that I replicated the created word in English as a calque. 140 Einholen sounds like rounding up and reminds of the archeologist expeditions. 141 It is not really meaningless to Marina. Her feelings reflect an inferiority complex felt by many of the Slavic culture in light of the European influence. 142 Sekndchen In German, one can make a word cute r or small with the diminutive morpheme -chen. It is very productive, with some people using it for almost every noun. However, it slightly lowers the register of the speaker, something which juxtaposes the respect one would have for a teacher and adds to the irony of the situation. 143 Beglcken is to make somebody happy; to delight somebody. This is difficult to translate into the English since it can be also meant ironically, as in the teenage son showed up at noon and honored us with his presence. 144 Alle naselang is a colloquial expression with th e German equivalent stehts und stnding, meaning constantly 145 machs gut is said among friends as a farewell. It is less formal (as the improper grammar will indicate)
Trotter 75 told him what I thought of mass enthusiasm, and he said I was arrogant so we spent the second day in Rome, similar to a married couple which is totally poisoned by being together (love-intoxication) and quarreling and not can sepa rate. With one exception: on the way to the airport Andreas said to me: Marina, the images in the Vatican are also copies. And probably those in Neros house t oo. So it goes in history. Yours there in the Hermitage are no worse and no better. Forget it. Synopsis continued Part VI continues the pattern of begi nning in the present. The conference attendees are still on their c onference tour. The reader l earns more about Fyodor, with whom Marina spends the majority of her tim e. Through their interactions, the reader is informed about both of Marinas grandmothers and their fates during and after World War II. However, unlike the previous portions of the book, these stor ies are kept in the present. Perhaps this is because Fyodor enga ges in dialogue with Ma rina, and he tells her about the life of the apothecary from one of his poems. Then, when Marina laments once again to herself that Andreas did not ta ke the opportunity to ask her to marry him twenty years earlier, something else creativ e happens with the te xt. Martynova changes the shades of the font, visually changing th e text and affecting how the reader treats certain lines, such as ich werde nie mehr meinen Vater sehen [I will never see my father again] (148), and another reference to free dom and unfreedom. These lines and their different shades are referred to in the last chapter in Marinas conversation with Fyodor. Once again in Marinas past, the reader le arns that Marina ha s just found out that Andreas is engaged to someone else, just fi nished her undergraduate studies, and is about to begin her doctorate disse rtation about the OBERIU group. After hearing about the engagement, Marina decides to backpack acr oss Siberia to Burjatien, to visit Dazan, a Buddhist cloister. There, she visits with Mascha and Misc ha, whom she had previously, with Andreas, met in their travels through the middle-east. The journey is unstable and
Trotter 76 slightly risky, but she remains safe since she does not attract too much attention. To any question of where the parents that she is vi siting are, she answers Leninstrae [Lenin Street] (151). Each Soviet city had at leas t one street named such, just like each former East German city had at least one street named Karl-Marx-Strae. When Marina finally reaches Mascha and Mi scha, they go to the cloister and with Marina they take a drug, refe rred to as Trank der Schamanen [Potion of the Shamans] (165). Marina does not have any special awak ening, but she is calmer and more at peace than she has been in a while, able to find humor and contemplation in small moments. The events of this recollection occur right before the collapse of the Soviet Union, alluded to with Marina s note from the present that the Leningrad would change its name in a few weeks. Remembering the experience with Mascha a nd Mischa reminds Marina of the trip she took with Andreas in 2002, just after he had been divorced. She tells this story to Nikolai and Fyodor in a fashion similar to the Russian ( skaz, tale) narration (with emphasis on oral traditions) and ends it with a clever connection between Nikolai Gogol (a famous skaz writer) and the name of the person to whom she is relating the story. References are made to the importation of Eu ropean culture with Catherine the Great, artists Raphael and the Turkish defeat of Rome as well. Then, the reader is brought back to when Marina returns to Leningrad from Dazan and meets with Pavel and Antonia. Pavel crit icizes Marina for having drunk the potion and shortly after that, Marina recounts how she marries and begins her langweiliges erwachsenes Leben [boring adu lt life] after getting married. However, she notes that she quickly divorces the man she married and ne ver took drugs again, except to smoke a joint
Trotter 77 with Andreas and John in 2005. Back in 2005, Ma rina visits Pavel while he is in the hospital after his a ttack and they talk about Absinth, with a reference to Oscar Wilde, whom Pavel labels as an ungewhnlicher Al koholiker [an exceptional alcoholic] (168). Pavel forgives substance use by those who are talented. Part VI ends with Marina recounting what happened to the figures sh e introduced throughout this section. This ending sets Part VII up as an epilogue. For the last time, part VII begins in the present and unlike the other parts of Martynovas novel, the reader s consciousness stays there for the most part. The conference tour has finally ende d and Marina stays an extra week in Berlin in the hopes that she will somehow meet Andreas. C ontemporary Germany is shown, juxtaposed against the stereotypical racist and fascist old Germany. Alone in her hotel room, Marina drinks beyond the point of in ebriation and wonders if she may be pregnant. She cannot stop thinking about Andreas and she is afraid to be alone. It is rela ted in another thought held in the present that Antonia and Pa vel do not think Andreas is good for Marina. Marinas thoughts that she is pregnant were not from drunken stupor, and the next day she goes into the drug-store to buy a pregnancy test. It is negativ e. Marina (going to a recent past) recounts an event in which she is sitting with the other conference members and write ancient runes in which all she can read are ANDREAS. Then, in an odd reversal of events, the reader learns how Fyodor, the Russian poet who Marina knew in Leningrad, came to Berlin. Another conference member, Manfred, knew him and had invited him. The reader learns about Fyodors marriage to Natasha, whom the reader met at the beginning of the novel at the New Years party. With this recollection, Martynova begins to bring the story full-circle.
Trotter 78 In an interjection which is subtitled as o ccurring before Christ and in the present, Marina compares the Greek paradox of Achille s and the tortoise to herself and Andreas. Previously she compares Fyodor to Achilles due to the previous suspicion that Fyodor and John had a relationship (Achi lles in the legends is bisexual). Then in the present, Andreas finally calls Marina and they sp end the night together in the hotel. The connection between Achilles, F yodor, and Andreas makes sense when Marina admits for a moment to thinking for a while that she loved Fyodor (after a brief interlude about the OBERIU gr oup again), but then the moment is dismissed, and Marina and Fyodor are back in the train, before Fyodor leaves for Leningrad and Marina finally hears from Andreas. Even the presen t is recounted out of order. The last chapter, titled Sesam ffne dich [open Sesame], is the end of a novel, and it ends in the middle of the present, si nce Marina had already narrated her meeting with Andreas after Fyodor had already left. Yet, in this chapter, Marina recounts how Andreas couldnt call because he had a heart attack and was in the hospital. Marina then continues a conversation with Fyodor about the 21st century, how children become parents of children, and how sha dows have different shades. Marina says Ich weiss noch nicht, wa s >21. Jahrhundert< bedeutet [I still dont know, what the st Century means] (199). Luckily (or not) the reader does not know what the 21st Century means either. Whether this novel will stand the test of time and remain significant for 2050 reader or a 2500 read ers remains to be seen. In the meantime, it is a riveting combination of philosophi cal thought about la nguage, love, and time mostly time.
Trotter 79 VII Black Jack (pg. 173-174) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917-1933-1934-1937-1941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 We get out.146 Fyodor blinks at the blinding sun-sheet wrapped noon. I have the sunglasses which Andreas gave to me in Ro me. A small in-between stop: Fyodor is to win one of many small prizes for East-/Middl e Europeans (to the first group, no one want to belong. Even Belarusians and Ukrainians like to be the middle; the east remains reserved for the Russians) here, as is the Muscovite Anna. In the evening we ride on further to Berlin, Fyodor is fl ying home tomorrow, I am stay ing for another week, and in the case that I havent until then convinced Andreas that to start everything all over would be senseless, I will spea k with him about the possibility that I move to Berlin (in fact,147 initially probably as Antonias assistant). On the platform, three muscular guys148 stand around a black boy with carefully matted dreadlocks and a saxophone case in hand, which keeps him from defending himself against the white guys. Slowly, slowly says the one menacingly who grabs the blacks forearm. The group is surrounded by a bigger group outraged anti-racists very young, boys, girls, including the slightly older Manf red, Nicholas and Anna, I did not know that they had taken the same train as us. F yodor and I also join the group to affirm149 that its a matter of ticket patrollers and a fare dodger.150 Disappointed, the crowd dissipates. Good anyway, to see these new German yout hs who are ready to defend minorities! Nikolai is pretty impressed, Manfred smiles proudly, until unexpectedly, the grim Fyodor reports (he who always says something contrary when it seems to him that his conversation partners dont appr eciate him enough as a poet): That is a paradox: if these good people were no t racist in the core of their hearts, they would have simply walked by, of course we as well. Do you understand: either we are racists and it is not unimportant to us, who is colored how, or we are not so, and then we dont care and wouldnt have gotten in such a stupid situation. 146 Wir steigen aus is equivalent to we get out, but it literally means we climb out and is used when referring to leaving a vehicle. In this context it makes sense, since a train is a different height and they must climb down. 147 In der Tat 148 Burschen is a generic, colloquial term for men or boys. 149 Vergewissern 150 Public transportation is widely used throughout the large cities in Germany. Usually, citizens buy weekly or monthly tickets at vending machines to get to and from work, school, and/or social engagements. However, some people do not pay for tickets, but ride anyway. Thus, policemen, usually dressed in plainclothes can be observed stopping passengers and asking them to show their ticket. Someone who rides without paying is called a Schwarz fahrer. Martynova plays on the black in the word for a fare dodger. I do not think it can be replicated in English.
Trotter 80 Manfred and Nikolai look at Fyodor disapprovingly; Anna laughs. Blue glass shows the objects in sad light151 How it reminds us of shadows (pg. 175) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917-1933-1934-1937-1941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 On the way, Manfred passes out photos. Mostl y, we are not in them, that way no ones vanity is harmed, only sandstone fountains and timber-framed houses,152 which we have seen together. I have already seen him this mo rning in the drug store. After I had to, in the night in the hotel room (before I fell aslee p, only to awake out of fear later) throw-up (the world disappeared, an exhausting emptin ess threatened to take everything that bound me to life, suck it all out and tear it into tiny loose parts), I thought, oh God, it cant be that one,153 as a 36 year old woman, understands so little of her own body that he (she) drinks so much dry white wine that he (she) has to throw-up. And I didnt even feel that drunk. I may be pregnant I thought. Because I had not ta ken the pill, when Andryusha was in St. Petersburg two weeks ago. He spen t almost the whole time at his translator seminar and did not have much time for me and our friends. Cultural Differences (pg. 176) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917-1933-1934-1937-1941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 And when he had time, he was just annoying. When we were at Antonias and Pavels and sitting in front of the misty-gray dragon te a-cups with plum wine, Antonia, told about how her brother is looking forward to a teach ing assignment in Jerusalem, Andreas said he would currently not go to Israel: too dange rous. Oh said Pavel, Exactly that one calls in Russia, the German discretion.154 Andreas was thinking that Pavel and Antonia wanted to show him that they did not wa nt me to marry him. And was irritated. And I thought: Poor Andreas, how many of your plans and hopes were ruined, that you want to return to your puppy lover,155 whom you willingly gave up? 151 This is the same title as the chapte r I produced three practical examples of, however, th e first part is lighter than the second. 152 Fachwerkhuser are common throughout Germany and are co nsidered typically German. The image is usually completed with boxes of flowers hang ing below the windows. Th ey are timber framed constructions in which the wood beams are left unfini shed and are more or less in their original state. 153 In German, the generic pronoun is man. In English, the generic is a gender neutral one. Martynova challenges the masculine pronoun by using a feminine pronoun. 154 Taktgefhl is similar to sense of tact 155 Jugendliebe is used in the same context as puppy love
Trotter 81 Blue glass shows the objects in sad light How it reminds us of shadows (pg. 177) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917-1933-1934-1937-1941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 This morning when I finally awoke and s hook off the morning anxiety, I went through the ornithological garden ball to the drugsto re (in which I saw Manfred who was picking up his photos, he did not see me) to buy a dia gnostic dipstick that twenty minutes later showed two completely white, round little windows, the second like the first, did not become blue. Nothing. One could create a bl ood alcohol test on this principle, from woad156 (aka German Indigo aka Isatis tingtoria), whose leaves react to urine and alcohol by becoming blue when they are exposed to the sun's rays. Blood alcohol test as a memento to those dye workers157 in the Middle Ages who dyed their fabrics in such cumbersome ways: woad + urine of drunk people + sun = become blue be blue make blue. Had it been an alcohol test, configured so, rather than a pre gnancy test, would the little windows have turned blue? Or again, already afte r just one night, not? Open Sesame (pg. 196-199) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917-1933-1934-1937-1941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 Open Sesame says a small girl to the automatic s liding door in the rail car and takes a few steps forward. Sesame opens. The girl waits, until Sesame automatically closes again. And again: Open Sesame Again Charlie Parker158 wakes. If thats not you, Andreas, I soundlessly tell my pockettelephone, then I will love the poet Fyodor, sorry Natasha. What? Fyodor asks when Ive hung up. Nothing, really nothing, he had a heart attack, but now ev erything is in order, under control, I dont know, he said hes in the hospital and be ing examined. He couldnt call yesterday or the day before yesterday. 159 156 In German, the word for woad is Frberwaid, a plant originatin g in Western Asia which was cultivated as a dye-plant. The German word keeps the relation with coloring (Farbe), something not preserved in the English. The plan t reacted with the sun and alcohol to turn blue. Dye workshops found alcohol to be too valuable to pour away, so they had dye workers that had had a lo t to drink urinate on the clothes In German, blau sein [to be blue] is slang for to be drunk. The expression comes from Blau Montag, the Monday after a weekend of drinking. Martynova plays with the creation of an idiom by using idioms. 157 Frberknechte 158 Charles Charlie Parker, Jr. is the jazz musician whose music Marina has set as her ring tone. Please see appendix. 159 In German, expressions of time are significantly different. One can say the day after tomorrow and the day before yesterday with one word. The simplicity of the words in German reflects its common usage.
Trotter 82 Very good! Then we will still be able to vis it him in the hospital, right? Fyodor looks at me and decides: No, ok, you will visit him, as far as Im concerned, I will watch soccer. Fyodor, theres no soccer today, it starts again160 the day after tomorrow, I dont really know if I want Fyodor, who is flying home tomorrow, to come along. The raindrops on the train window, the glassy goose bumps between me and the world; Andreas, Im sacred. Fyodor, who is now sitting across from me and wonders why the German colleagues always say that is the 19th century about poems they dont like. But what is that? And if I were to say, or if they, your Germans, would say that is the 20th century (in the sense, that we are already in the 21st century)? Do you have an idea what that could mean? Which characteristics woul d distinguish something as th century?;161 Antonia, the ballerina; Pavel, the Sinologist; Sergei, the clairvoyant; Gregor, the color charmer; Manfred, the butterfly; John, the agnostic; Lisa, who shortly before my trip had visited me in my dacha;162 we went on a narrow path through a field, the high grass smelled like honey. It always had this scent, do you remember,163 when we were here as children? I am now seldom outside, only when someone comes from the city. Do you re member how my parents made a scene, 164 whenever we arrived late? Now I make a s cene for my children. How is that possible? This honey scent almost makes me hysterical. As if these years had not been. As if we Speaking about days further in the future or the past than the immediate future and past reflects a different German comprehension of time. 160 ab an word which means something si milar to starting again, as of 161 This semi-colon is punctuation used by Martynova 162 A dacha ( ) is a Russian word for a small second home used seasonally by inhabitants of Russian cities. They are usually located in the exurbs of these cities. After World War II, East Germans copied this practice, since these dachas, were the only place East German citizens could vacate to other than other Soviet satellite nations. This word is now recognized in Germany, especially former East Germany, and reflects a strong link betwee n German and Russian culture 163 "Weit du noch; please see appendix 164 The German equivalent also involves theater: Theater machen
Trotter 83 had left the house in the morning, and now my parents are waiting with uproar165 and supper, raspberry jam and a French white brea d, that with the ridge in the middle. And as if we had stayed outside anyway and ha d not thought that they worry about us. But that's not true, we have to go back. My children are hungry, and I' m worried about them. Always. The same life, but now lived on the other side, as if one had turned a glove inside-out. And anyway, Lisa was standi ng in the evening backlight, the bristles166 of her hair, which had always fascinated me so in elementary school, fluffed finely around her head, look, Marina, the grasses. These panicl es with their bristles they stand in the sunset like a message, as if they were saying, everything has been all right; Natasha with her heavenly kingdom and many people are more familiar to me th an you. What do I know about you? At all? A person, a surface, a house with a few terraces th at are open to others, with dark rooms which remain closed to others, but are also gladly avoided by the others, since otherwise human communication would be hardly possible; and a person is to people a shadow;167 and you, Andryuscha, you are for me the most indistinct shadow, because what do I know of you? I was, what for you never came to mind, aggrieved168 all these years and my eye on you was unjust, I have noticed more that which was annoying about you than which was endearing. I like you anyway, your sad face of a shoe bill, the falling wisp of hair. Ok, I'll stay with you, we may still be happy in this world that has become so different, in your country that has become so different169 (when I first came to Germany, Cuba libre was served in elegant bars, and now it is crowded out on menus by Sex on the Beach not to mention the German colors, and the shoulde r bags, like those sewn by my Aunt Rita) sorry, Fyodor, with you in the next life, perhaps. Fyodor, I say. I dont know yet, what st Century means. Marina, Fyodor says, I can t stand it. See, look out the window, these mountains turned into see-through shadows, the shadow layers are of di fferent densities; some have almost left the earth, the others are still almost wholly there;170 it doesnt matter what I do with this shadow game, how I describe it, it will be a creation of the second degree, actually a plagiarism. No matter, I will now write prose, I told you. The motto for my book is from your Vvendensky,171 do you want to hear it? 165 Krach describes a noisy quarrel; it is often used to for the sound of lightening or in relation to raising hell 166 Bristles, or awns. It is interesting that the word in German, which can refer to a plant or a mammals hair, can be used similarly in English with one word as well. 167 Der Mensch ist dem Menschen ein SchattenI want ed to preserve the repetition of the word, but also reflect the significance of the statemen t within the broader context. I used this line to discuss the choices a translator must make on page 105 of this thesis. 168 gekrnkt 169 It is significant to note that this novel takes place in Germany during the 20 06 World Cup, which is widely recognized as the year in which the world was ab le to see how German had changed. It was able to show a national pride that was harmless and sometimes endearing. 170 Martynova plays with the shades of her text as well. 171 Vvedensky is one of the poets of the Oberui group.
Trotter 84 In a novel, life is described, tim e is allegedly running, but she172 has nothing in common with real-time, as there is no relief of the day through the night, so one playfully recollects almost all of ones life, while in reality you can hardly remember the yester day.173 And anyway: Each description is incorre ct. The sentence: A man sits, over his head is a ship is maybe really more correct than A man sits and reads a book. The only real novel illustrating this principle is mine. But it is poorly written. 172 die Zeit 173 gestrigen Tag
Trotter 85 Brief Appendix to the Translations Birds: Martynovas fascination with animals, with birds in particular (ones that can span across vast distances), create strong imagery for the relativism of time, space, and ideas. Marinas lover, Andreas, is consistently compar ed to a shoe bill, a bird which looks like this: Portrait of a Shoebill (Rubin) The shoe bill is Marinas favorite bird and she describes it as looking like a large lost child or a lost little old man, cons tantly sad and pitifully offended. A kagu, referred to on page 43 of Papageien is a bird from New Caledonia. It is a little bird with a crest of white feathers on the top of its head which Marina describes from behind as an aged rocker (with a M ohawk haristyle) and from the front like a Baroque Casanova with a powdered wig. Mari na says about it that it lie nach Vergleichen suchen [left looking for comparisons]. The starlings referred to on page 36 are said to copy the jazz ring tone of the main character, and this is something animal behaviorists have studied. If one slows down bird music, one can hear a highly complex and crea tive song performed by the birds. Starlings are commonly used to disprove the notion th at creativity is a desi gn feature of language exclusive to humans. Anothe r bird referenced is the Wiedehopf, or the Hoopoe. The
Trotter 86 Hoopoe is a colorful bird th at is found across Afro-Eurasia notable for its distinctive 'crown' of feathers. On page 113, one of Marinas poet friends is referred to as a jackdaw ( Dohle) The jackdaw, with a black plumage, is vocal and gregarious, living in a complex social structure with other jackdaws It is an opportunistic eate r, scrounging for food. Curiously, the species is not at all like the most famous Dohle, Franz Kafka. Kavka is the Czech word for Dohle, and Kafkas father used an image of a jackdaw to decorate his business cards. The other poet is referred to as a sparrow (Spatz). The comparison (without thinking about Kafka) works well when thinki ng about Marinas two acquaintances, since the sparrow is smaller and primarily a seed-eater, less vocal and more pleasant in personality. The most important bird reference, the parro t from the title, is an allusion to the writings of Austrian/Galician author Joseph Roth in which the parrot is referred to as a terrible creature who flies over cities that are being sieged. Der Vogel des Schreckens, ein grauer Papagei, flog ber da s dunkle Leningrad [The bird of terror, a gray parrot, flew over the dark Leningrad] (qt d. in Jung). Titling her novel Sogar Papageien berleben uns runs strongly with the theme of time as a powerful force. The parrot and all it stands for will outlive the story even after the binding of the novel is closed. While the title seems a bit ambitious, its wings create a substa ntial shadow for which to preserve what is done with time in this novel. People: Superficially, the most important pers on referenced in the novel is Daniil Kharms, born Daniil Ivanovich Iuwachev ( 1905-42). He is arguably one of the most original figures of the Sovi et literary avant-garde moveme nt of the 1920s and 1930s (he
Trotter 87 was not published until later and had few followers ). He is also clearly an influence on Martynovas novel since his life and work serve as the focal point in her novel, providing stability in the mobile-like series of events. Another significant, though short reference, is that to M.M. Bakhtin and his term chronotope on page 19 of Mart ynovas novel. Bakhtin was a 20th-century Russian literary critic and philosopher. He was a vic tim of Stalins purges of influential and potentially dissonant political and literary figures and his li fe and works are helpful when one is reading Martynovas novel. Martynova uses Egyptian gods to refer to se veral of the characters in her novel, usually the generation which was alive during the October Revolution and Civil War. Relating a revered and extinct class of people to the old Ru ssian aristocracy gives the characters an element of respect which is not always preserved in contemporary Russian literature. One grandmother, referred to as Grandmother Thoth is heavily associated with the arbitration of godly disputes, the arts of magic, the system of writing, the development of science, and the judgment of the dead. Horus, another god referred to, serves many functions in the Egyptian pant heon, most notably being the god of the sun, war and protection. On page 28 a reference is made to the Hutsuls who are an ethno-cultural group of Ukrainian highlanders who for centuries have inhabited the Carpathian mountains, mainly in Ukraine and the northern extremity of Romania. Martynova reminds us with this scene about one of the many minorities w ithin Russia during the USSR and how, despite all being expected to become atheists, minorities were given a
Trotter 88 little more leeway to help keep them fro m rising up against the occupying power so to speak. Witold Gombrowicz, referred to on page 39, was a Polish novelist and dramatist and he expatriated to Argentina since he was there when World War II broke out. Gombrowicz returned to Europe in 1963 where he stayed for a year in West Berlin. His health had deteriorated during this stay and he was not able to go back to Argentina. Hence the reason there was a bird of death on his shoulder. Paul Celans life and quote about German as Sprache der Mrder [language of murderes] are referenced on page 113. Paul Celan is widely considered one of the greatest poets of the 20th century. He was born in 1920 n ear the border of Romania and Ukraine. When the Nazis arrived in the su mmer of 1942, Celans parents were deported to concentration camps where his father di ed of typhus and his mother was shot by a guard. Celan himself was sent to a forced-l abor camp in Romania, but he survived the end of the war. Celans thoughts about the Ge rman language are significant fuel for the post-World War II language crisis. Literature and stories: The allusions Martynova makes in her novel would be most appreciated by an ideal audience of an educated readership. Not only does she refer to works which are specifically studied by German or Russian literature students, she refers to classical texts and fables that are no longer taught in general education. The legend of Philemon and Baucis, referre d to pages 40-42, is prevalent in many countries. It is a fable about poverty and hospitality, the story refers to reward of Zeus, who had disguised himself as a beggar, to the poorest people of the village, when he was
Trotter 89 invited into their house after all other villagers turned him away. He allowed them to grow old together as two trees (a n oak and a linden) from one trunk. A reference is also made to Faust on page 41. Faust is a legendary figure in German history. The real Faust lived in the 13th century and was a Renaissance man, eventually accused of alchemy and black magic. Goethe based his play Faust (1808) on this character, and an allusion is made to the play several times in the novel. Goethes character is a great scholar w ho becomes dissatisfied with his life and so does a deal with the devil, wagering his soul for the zenith of happiness. The play describes an epic struggle between passion and rationality. Faust II includes an allusion to Philemon and Baucis and the three Fates. Elective Affinities referred to on page 142 of Papageien, is another work by Goethe published shortly after Faust in 1809. The first part of Elective Affinities describes Eduard and Charlotte, who are long -lost lovers in a s econd-marriage together. However, the marriage falls apart when both fa ll in love with a re spective partner from another couple. The relationships are described in terms of chemistry, that is, the decision to invite the Hauptmann and O ttilie is an experiment whic h results in splitting bonds and forming news ones. Martynova uses this plot as a parallel to Ma rinas and Andreas. Finally, Osip Mandelstam, referred to on page 23, was one of the 20th centurys most outstanding Russian poets. He is similar to Bakhtin as an essayist, interpreter, and literary critic who was persecuted under the Sovi et dictatorship. He died in transit to a labor camp in 1938. The untitled poem referred to by Martynova includes the line A wolfhound-century leaps up on my back,
Trotter 90 Places: Saint Petersburg is the tsarist port locat ed at the head of the Neva on the Baltic Sea. Until the October revolution of 1917, Saint Petersburg was the capital of Russia. After the Revolution, the Bolsheviks moved the capital to Moscow. All the same, Saint Petersburg was placed under siege by the Germans during World War II for more than 900 days. In this period, almost one milli on citizens died of starvation. Martynova refers to this period with th e title of her novel as well. The city was named in honor of St. Pete r and not Peter the Gr eat, the founder of the city in 1703. The name can be translated as The City of St. Peter and changed several times, to Petrograd after the communist revolution (1914), to Leningrad in 1942, and back to St. Petersburg in 1991. It is fondl y referred to by Russians as just Petersburg, or even just Peter (/pit. These name changes and c hoices are used liberally by Martynova.
Trotter 91 Chapter Three: Analysis and Reflection A good translator will have been graced with good instincts a nd trained with the necessary skills to examine and analyze a source text and produce a target one. However, she does not become great until she has practiced with multiple genres, different intentions, and different theories. The more often she is faced with the choices and translator must make, the easier it becomes to make the right choice. When evaluating a translation, one must also consider wh ether the translator makes those choices consistently. It is easy for a translator to rely on intuition and make choices based on whims, especially when under the stress of completing a translat ion project on time. However, as expected with practice, cons istency improves the longer one works on the project. Then, determining whether one ma de the right decision becomes easier. The decisions a translator must make i nvolve strategic ones and detail-oriented ones. Strategic details refer to the salient linguistic devices, th e characteristic s of the text (what genre is is), its original principle effects and what the intended audience is. The decisions of detail refer to the grammar, lexis and context. Of course, one must not forget the largest decision invo lved in translation, that of whic h work to translate. I almost impulsively chose to translat e Martynovas book. I had origina lly considered translating a novella by Franz Kafka, primarily because he is known for direct syntax. I am familiar with his writing and he has previously been translated, yet the decision to translate Martynova has been more rewarding. I knew I would be challenged by translating a work by someone who is not very well recognized a nd whose first language is not German, but this situation made me conscientious about my decisions from the start. I took nothing for granted.
Trotter 92 The newness of Martynovas piece made it more difficult to translate. While picking a contemporary author pr ovides the translator with th e possibility of speaking to the author of the source text, published aut hors are often almost impossible to contact. I had little information about how the text ha d previously been received; no academic articles have been written about the novel. I read through the nove l several times, and each time I realized that I need ed to reinterpret and reconstrue the source text in light of the my new understanding of it. My final interp retation: love will change the structure of time into a recollection of memories of different shadow densities, subtly affecting ones immediate current existence. When determining the success of a transla tion, some translator s have the benefit of working with a piece that has already been translated, a nd thus that translator can evaluate the other translators decisions a nd compare them to her own, making better decisions as she sees fit. Wh en translating Olga Martynovas Sogar Papageiein berleben uns, I only had the benefit of looking at how previous translators had translated other German works. While being the first one to translate the novel is lucrative when trying to publish, I need ed to create and evalua te all the alternatives to the choices I was making myself (such as the example I provi ded with my translation of the chapter Blaues Glas). This lengthened the process and made it more tedious. Three Possibilities When beginning a translation project, th ere are multiple potential products which may be produced. The three types of translat ion are defined according to the degree in which the target text abstract s from, adds to, or tries to reproduce faithfully, the details contained in the source text language. If one compares translating to writing a song, one can consider choosing a time signature to work in as the initial step. The translator makes
Trotter 93 her choice about the type of translation she will do before she makes choices about, among other things, what to emphasize, who th e audience is, and what to interpret. The least common kind of translation is interlineal translation in which the target text attempts to respect details of sour ce language grammar with each grammatical unit completely corresponding with the grammatical units of th e source text. This kind of translation only makes sense when trying to make a point about language teaching, descriptive linguistics, or for an ethnographic transcript. Inter lineal translation is the more extreme form of a literal transl ation. In a literal translation, the lite ral meaning of the words is taken as if from the dictionary (usually out of context) with little regard given to the special connotations etc. of words with the target language grammar being replicated. Free translation is the most creative and l east loyal kind of translation. In this kind of translation, extreme bias is given to the ta rget language and text and there exists only a global correspondence between target and source text (Hervey et al 13). One could see it as a less extreme form of the communicat ive translation where the expressions are completely changed according to idiomatic context. The source text of a free translation uses the source language expression and the ta rget text has a similarly meaning target language expression. In the example of the communicative translation, the concept of what is considered sameness in meaning is more complex, but as evident from my introduction, the concept of equivalence is complicated all throughout translation. Without being too repetitive, I can add that one way to measure equivalence is to see whether the target text has the same impact on the reader as the source text did. Of course, this runs into complicati ons, such as the editors of the Thinking German Translation handbook would say, about determining the impact of a text. According to
Trotter 94 Sndor Hervey, Ian Higgins, and Michael Loughri dge, few texts can be attributed such a monolithic singleness of purpose, and as soon as a [source text] is acknowledged to have multiple effects, it is unlikely that the target te xt will be able to replicate them all (15). In her novel, Olga Martynova (also a translator) has her main character translate a short text from a Russian poet in to German and contemplate the differences between the two versions: Example by Martynova From Die Wahrheit flaniert mit, aber schweigend (page 115) 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917-1933-1934-1937-1941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 Denken wir an das Ende eures Wortwechsels Ihr beide sagtet nichts. Alles war. Die Wahrheit, einer Bezifferung gleich, flaniert e mit euch zusammen. Welche Aussage war die richtige? Der Wortwechsel kam zu E nde. Ich war ausgesprochen erstaunt.... Und wenn ich das anders bersetze?: Erinnern wir uns daran, wie euer Streit beendet wurde. Ih r habt beide geschwiegen. So war es. Wahrheit, wie Nummerierung, promenie rte mit. Wer hatte denn recht? Der Streit wurde beendet. Ich war malos platt. Think we of the end of your exchange of words. You two said nothing. Everything was. The truth, equal to notation, st rolled together with you. Wh ich statement was the right one? The exchange of words came to an end. I was markedly amazed And if I translate it differently?: Let us remember how your dispute was ended. You were both mute. So it was. Truth, like numeration, promenaded with. Who, then, was right? The dispute was ended. I was boundlessly flabbergasted. From this example, one sees a marked difference between an attempt to translate literally, with strong source text bias (such as with the expression Alles war, which is an incomplete thought in German and seems like it could come from the Russian which has no present tense for the verb to be), and to translate more liberally, with marked poetic and colloquial interpretation by the translator for the benefit of the target audience.
Trotter 95 Martynovas character, Marina, considers thes e choices just as I must consider them when translating Ma rtynovas novel. Translation examples using Blaues Glas zeigt die Gegenstnde im traurigen Licht Seiten 90-91 5th Cen. B.C 1453 1529 1714 1717 1787 1871 1917-1933-1934-1937-1941-1942-1943-19441945 1955 1973 1976 1982 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1995 2001 2002 2005 2006 Gregor, ein Kunstler aus Be rlin, schimpfte ber die sc hlechte Beleuchtung des Ausstellungsraums. Willst du es sehen? Kommst du mit? Gregor wollte sich auf die Erffnung einstimmen. Ich kam mit, weil ich am Abend nicht zur Erffnung konnte. Als Gregor sich dann verabschiedet hatte, weil er noch ein paar Stunden schlafen wollte, blieb ich fr eine Weile, versuchte Andr eas anzurufen, den ich seit gestern nicht erreichen konnte. Den ich auch jetzt nicht erreichen konnte. Eine Journalistin kam, die fr eine lokale Zeitung von der Austellung berrichte n sollte, am Abend aber andere Termine hatte. Kein Problem sagte ich, ich kann Ihnen den Raum zeigen. Sie sah die weien umrahmten Vierecke und fragte, ob ich si e in der tat zum Austellungsraum fhre. Wir sind schon da sagte ich. Und wo seien die Gemlde, wollte sie wissen. Ich erzhlte ihr von Gregors Verfahren. Es brau chte viel Arbeit und Konzentration, die farben so auf die Leinwand zu legen, dass si e sich schlielich gegenseitig eliminieren. Nein, nicht eliminieren, sie werden zu ei nem grau schimmernden Wei, nein, wenn man genau hinschaut, sieht man Farben, mal grn, mal blau, mal rostig, aber kaum wahrnehmbar, schimmernd. So entblt, nein so befreit sich der Kern der Farbe, sagt Gregor. Seine Farbenlehre, seine Farbphilo sophie, und was bei Goethe falsch und was richtig sei, das ersparte ich der Journalistin, die den ihr unbekannten Gregor ohnehin schon wegen ihres Faux-pas zu hassen begann. Sie las den Titel eines der Gemlde laut: BLAUES GLAS ZEIGT DIE GEGE NSTNDE IM TRAURIGEN LICHT dann ging sie. Von genau diesem Gemlde hatte ich Gre gor, als er noch da war und mir die Bilder zeigte, gesagt, die Farbe sei bleu nattier. Bitte? sagte Gregor. This short chapter occurs about midway through the book. One of the conference members is an artist from Berlin. He has an art show one evening to which he invites Marina. Rather than reading Gr egor lecture Marina about his artistic purpose, the reader learns about his artistic theory through Marinas dialogue with a journalist. The juxtaposition of an objective viewer and a subjective viewer creates a tension which can
Trotter 96 be found throughout the novel. An interpretation could be that the scene reflects the multiple densities of perspectives which blend together to create an a priori reality. Interlineal/Literal: Blue light shows the objects in sad light Gregor, an artist from Berlin, inveighed about the poor lighting of the exhibition space. Want to see it? Come you with? Gregor want ed to tune into the opening. I came with, because in the evening I could to the opening not go. As Gregor then dismissed himself, because he wanted to sleep for a few hours, I stayed for a while, tried to call Andreas, whom I could not reach yesterday. Whom I could not now reach.A journalist came that should report for a local newspaper of th e exhibition, in the evening but had other appointments. No problem, I said, I can show you the room. She saw the whitewashed framed rectangles and asked if I did her to the show room lead. We are already there I said. And wher e are the paintings, she wanted to know. I told her about Gregors method. It took a lot of work and c oncentration to lie the colors so on the canvas that they mutually eventually eliminate. N o, not eliminate, it becomes a gray shimmering white, no, if one look closely, one can see colors, sometimes green, sometimes blue, sometimes rusty but barely noticeable sheen. Thus one freed, no, denuded then the core of the color, says Gregor. His theory of co lor, his color philosophy, and what with Goethe is wrong and what is right, I spared the journalist who began to hate the unfamiliar Gregor anyway because of her faux pas. She read the title of the painting, out loud: BLUE GLASS SHOWS THE OBJECTS IN SAD LI GHT, then she left. Of exactly this painting I had to Gregor when he was still there and showed me the pictures, said, the color is bleu nattier. Please? Gregor said. Free: Blue glass puts objects in sad light Gregory, an artist from New York City, whined about the gallerys bad lighting. Dya want to see it? Are you coming? Gregory wanted to get into the mood for the opening. I came along because I had already had other plans that evening. When Gregory left because he wanted to nap for a few hours, I stayed for a while, hoping to reach Andreas. I hadnt been able to reach him all day, and st ill couldnt. A journalist came in who was assigned to report about the exhibition, but sh e had already had othe r plans that evening. No problem, I said, I can show you the pl ace. She saw the framed white rectangles and asked if I had shown her to the right room This is it I said. Yeah, but where are the paintings, she wanted to know. I told her a bout Gregorys method. It took a lot of work and concentration to paint the colors just so on the canvas that they cancelled each other out. No, not canceled, because it actually becomes a gray shimmering white, no, if one looked closely, one can see colors, sometimes green, sometimes blue, sometimes rusty but with a faintly noticeable sheen. Thus, one freed the core of the color, no, one made them naked, so Gregory says. I spared the journalist Gregorys color theory, color
Trotter 97 philosophy, and how Goethe was right and wron g, since it became clear that she began to hate the unfamiliar Gregory anyway because of her faux pas. She read the title of the painting out loud: BLUE GLA SS PUTS OBJECTS IN SAD LIGHT then she left. It was in front of this painting that I was standing when Gregory was showing them all to me and I had said to Gregory, the color is bleu nattier. Come again? Gregory said. Balanced (semantic/communicative): Blue light shows objects in sad light Gregor, an artist from Berlin, grumbled about the poor lighting of the exhibition rooms. Want to see it? Will you come along? Gregor wanted to mentally prepare for the opening. I came with because I could not go to the ope ning in the evening. When Gregor excused himself, because he wanted to sleep for a few hours, I stayed for a while and tried to call Andreaswhom I could not reach yesterday. Whom I could not reach now.A journalist came needing to report for a local newspaper about the exhibition, but had in the evening other appointments. No problem, I said, I can show you the room. She saw the framed white rectangles and as ked if I was leading her to the exhibition. We are already there I said. And where are th e paintings, she wanted to kno w. I explained to her about Gregors method. It took a lot of work and c oncentration to place the colors just so on the canvas that they eventually cancel one anothe r out. No, not eliminate, it becomes a gray shimmering white, no, if one look closely, one can see colors, sometimes green, sometimes blue, sometimes rusty but barely noticeable sheen. Thus one freed, no, denuded, the core of the color, says Gregor. His theory of color, his color philosophy, and how Goethe is wrong and right, I spared the journalist who began to hate the unfamiliar Gregor anyway because of her faux pas. She read the title of the painting, out loud: BLUE GLASS SHOWS THE OBJECTS IN SAD LI GHT, then she left. Of exactly this painting I had to Gregor when he was still there and showed me the pictures, said, the color is bleu nattier. Excuse me? Gregor said Because of my goal to produce a text wh ich would serve as a dialogue between source and target culture, I decided to produce a balanced translation. This was the most difficult decision to carry out due to my insecurity as a translator. I leaned towards extreme source text bias because focusing on the details required the least amount of complicated decision making. On the othe r hand, I made choices reflecting free translation when I felt that the meaning was preserved and it made the text more enjoyable for the target audience. Some instances of poetic language, humor and
Trotter 98 colloquial expression were not eas ily discernible when translating literally. I wanted the target audience to receive the same benefit fr om the text as the source audience would. A piece meant to be an enjoyable piece of fiction is not a success when the reader must frequently look up foreign words or stumble over awkward syntax. A text used by a class designed to learn about a foreign liter ary culture will not succeed if the translated piece looks similar to a piece translated from a different source text in a different language. If E.T.A Hoffman and Nikolai Gogol sounded like th e same author, literature students may be tempted to find similarities between two very different writers. Thus, I strove for a balance where the text still sound ed like Martynova, but was in the English language. Notes about the German language in translation Clearly, in order for the tr anslation to be successful (according to linguistic criteria), knowing the grammar of the source text is important There are many features of the German language which make literal tr anslation look like impossible English and difficult to read. However, in order to pres erve some literal translation when trying to render a balanced transference from source to target text, one must know what is being preserved. To begin with, German has many more s ubordinate clauses than English, which, if translated literally, create an English targ et text with too many run-on sentences. In a humorous essay on the idiosyncrasies of the German la nguage The Awful German Language, from the book of essays Innocents Abroad, Mark Twain accurately explains the difficulty of German sentence construction:
Trotter 99 A writers ideas must be a good deal confused, a good deal out of line and sequence, when he starts out to say that a man met a counselor's wife in the street, and then right in the midst of this so simple undertaking halts these approaching people and makes them stand still until he jots down an inventory of the woman's dress (Twain). The interruption of an idea by a description or another idea creates what grammar scholars call the literary parenthesis. One cau se for this literary parenthesis is the split infinitive. Some verbs in German can be spli t and have the second apart placed at the end. Thus, one can begin a thought, interrupt it with a side thought, and st ill not know what is happening in a sentence until the end. In order to do this, German may use a comma to link two independent clauses without a conjunc tion (and, but, or). This is different than the English, which usually has one idea expre ssed per sentence with the verb placed before the object and which requires either a semicolon or a period. Another thing to consider wh en translating from the German to the English is that the second person in German can be formal or informal. The two personal pronouns, du and Sie, serve as indicators of equality and solidarity of the charac ters in a novel. This distinction is only symptomatic of a complete mindset of German speakers about what is considered known and stranger, which exte nds to strong social practices which help separate stranger and familiar. As Edward T. Hall writes in his essay The Anthropology of Space: Germans see their own space as an extension of the ego (134). A German will go through many lengths to preserve her private sphere. The infamous term Lebensraum stems from a strong connectio n between personal existence and the space in which one lives that existe nce. Furthermore, in every instance where
Trotter 100 the American would consider himself outside, he has already entered the German's territory and by definition would become i nvolved with him (133). Such differences between German and American English culture are particularly important in Martynovas novel about space and special attention must be made in translating the language which enforces the differences. Another way in which the German language creates a different psychological state for its speakers is thr ough use of gender markers for all German nouns. In English, an inanimate objects pronoun is usually writte n as it, and one can usually translate the articles of a language with gender markers with it, especially if the object is inanimate. However, since Martynova uses personification as a poetic device, I chose to preserve the genders in such cases. Hence, in the case of the toothbrush on page 10 of the novel, I say she hums. However, determining the gender marker for people is more difficult, as in the case of es (a neuter article) for das Mdchen [the girl ]. Martynova addresses this odd preservation of a neutral pronoun for children an d girls in one chapte r of her novel, and it is not so difficult to translate. Yet, German also designates the sex of most professionals through the use of a gender marker, such as the -ess in English for professions like host and hostess, and actor and actre ss. Many of these professions have no equivalent in English. This is not an issue since we live in an ev er increasingly gender neutral world. However, when translating, the translator must decide whether to put an awkward and increasingly poli tically incorrect f emale in front of professions, or to keep it gender neutral. Throughout this tran slation, I have allowed pronouns to do the work of distinguishing professions.
Trotter 101 Furthermore, Germans make more differe nces in academic titles and terminology. A German university professor is usually granted much more respect than a U.S. American one. This is due to the fact that in German, ein/e Professor/in is an academic who has been given the special honor of t eaching and researching for a particular institution that calls him or her to fill a position there which has been designed for him or her. In English, one can title a person with Dr., Professor, or Mr./Mrs./Ms. In German, all three titles will be used in a flux only when referring to a professor. "Herr Doktor Professor or Frau Doktor Professor which sounds very formal to an English speaker, but is quite mundane. An academic with a PhD will be referred to as Herr Doktor or Frau Doktor. This title comes up several times when Marina refers to herself. Germans are also more particular about designating academic subjects. They make a distinction between German studies and German philology. In English, the subject is often encompassed under one term. German studies st udents cover an inte rdisciplinary space, while Germanistik students deal primarily with German literature and philological subjects such as the language and historical linguistics. Transportation in German is varied and not easily translated. There are Straenbahnen, Untergrundbahnen, O mnibussen, etc.; each has a unique shortening such as S-Bahn, U-Bahn, O-Bus. An S-Bahn is not the abbreviation for a Straenbahn, rather, it is the short form of a Schnellbahn. It is neither a metro nor a street car. If often runs on normal train tr ack and depending on which German city one is in, it may be above or below ground. Then there is the verb of motion itself which one must consider. In German, an automatic difference is made between geh en and fahren when speaking about how
Trotter 102 someone is moving from one point to another (t his distinction occurs in Russian as well). While there are different words for the ve rb to go in English, one may use go whether the person is walking, driving, or flying. The ambiguity may be more of an issue when translating from English to German, but when translating the reverse, it is important to make the distin ction between when the persons are driving and when they are walking. While writing about differences in expr ession, I would like to point out three more verbs which Martynova used often that can be literally transl ated without relaying the figurative meaning: halten, wei noch, and schweigen. Halten literally means to hold something, but in conjuncti on with the preposition von, it can also mean to believe. Wei noch literally means to still know, but actually refers more to to still remember. In German, the verb schweigen implies being silent when there is something one could say, that is, restraini ng oneself. There is not real equivalent in English. One could say mum, but that is a more British word and does not grasp the heaviness of the air in the room when someone schweigt. Qualifiers such as jene, doch, eben etc. are also difficult to translate because they are linguistically bound by th e German syntax. While there are enough English qualifiers to make up for the German, it sometimes takes more than one word. Of course, as Rorty says: There is no specifi c reason to think that any given, one-word expression in one culture can be matched with a one-word expression in a very different culture (274). Similarly, gut and ja are ways of forming tag questions which is a phenomenon which happens in English and German, but somehow more in German.
Trotter 103 One of the most obvious carry-overs of the Russian language which carries over into Martynovas German novel is the creation of Russian nicknames. All people have a first name, a patronymic, and a family name. Mari nas patronymic is not even referred to. Also, there are many ways to turn a Russian s name into a nickname with different diminutives, the more common ones being -ic hka and -ischa (depending on the other phonemes in the name and whether the name ends in a vowel or a consonant). Finally, I would like to emphasize that expressions of time in German are significantly different. One can say the day after tomorrow and the day before yesterday with one word. The simplicity of the words in German reflects their frequent use. Using words for days further in the future or the past than the immediate future and past reflects a different German comprehension of time. I think this is significant in light of the way in which Martynova uses time in her novel. These notes address some, but not all of th e difficulties in translating German into English. All languages have their own particular difficulties in translation. Since German and English are both Germanic languages (Modern English and High German both evolved from West-Germanic), the differen ces in languages are not as much as for example: from Japanese to the Mayan langua ge Tzeltal. However, the languages have changed enough from coming in contact with other languages and over time that some things still are destined to be lost in translation. The Practice Like with writing, the most common practi ce for translation is to create a rapid rough draft and then write many revisions. I sometimes used GoogleTranslate when producing my rough translation because I in evitably looked up so many words that
Trotter 104 having them all translated at once saved me a good amount of time. This practice is controversial, and a key change from the trad itional translation. However, it ensured that I had all the words translated, even if I was not sure about the accuracy of those words. Typing up the passage in German also gave me a chance to re-familiarize myself with Martynovas writing. I did not translate all my passages like this, and after moving away from the computer, the process of translation was the same. The initial translation with the computer merely provided with alternat ives I otherwise would not have thought of. After the initial translat ion, I slowly moved through the mumbled mess to organize appropriate syntax while simulta neously finding more appropriate words for some of the choices the computer gave me. Then, I used high quality dictionaries and German and English thesauri, such as Leos Online German Dictionary Langenscheidts German to English Dictionary, Collins E nglish Dictionary, Websters New World Thesaurus and occasionally Rogets online Thesaurus, to determine other possibilities for words and make my choices in a more c onscientious manner. Each resource provided me with options for different registers and situ ations, and I was able to rely on them when I could not think of the best English equivalent for a German word. However, sometimes when I was not satisfied with my research, I typed an expression into GoogleSearch and navigated myself to forums where the wo rd and its most contemporary uses were discussed. While going through th e translated portion, I wrote all the possibil ities I came up with next to it in the Word comments se ction. This reminded me to look at those words in more depth, especi ally with the help of Pr ofessor Cuomo. When making a decision I knew would be questioned, I include d a footnote for the reader or reviewer.
Trotter 105 One of these footnotes (found on page 85 of th is thesis) is about the translation of der Mensch ist dem Menschen ein Schatten (Martynova 198). I use the translation of this line as an example of the things a transl ator must consider when translating, after she has decided to perform a balanced translati on. The first thing I cons idered was what the sentence meant on a linguistic level: determin er + subject + verb+ de terminer + indirect object+ determiner + direct object masculine nominative determiner + nominative singular subject + present tense verb + dative plural determin er + dative plural indirect object + accusative singular determiner + accusative singular direct object= der + Mensch + ist + dem + Men schen + ein + Schatten. Then I thought of what der Mensch mean s. It is a universally specific term which refers to a human being. However, the direct translation could be human, man, and person. Menschen is a plural of Men sch, but its dative case implies that der Mensch is a shadow of it, so Menschen can be a collective noun as well. Furthermore, there is a repetition in the original line whic h may deserve to be preserved. Man is not gender-inclusive or universal, but it is the only option which has an easily recognized collective plural in mankind. However, m ankind is not politically correct and has religious associations for an English reader. From this point, I may translate the line as A person is to people a shadow or a human is to humans a shadow. Instinctively, neither translation seems satisfying. The sentence does not need to be translated literally, even if I support foreignizing. With this in mind, one may consider leaving out a word. That opti on is quickly negated by the sudden loss of meaning which would occur. Man is a shadow involves many complications. Firstly, there is the use of the word man, which is politically inco rrect. Secondly, the phras e sounds hackneyed.
Trotter 106 It may also be interpreted w ithout consideration of a person s role in relation to other people. Hence I must now work with the senten ce in the context; first, by objectively considering this phrase in the context of the plot. Marina is talking about Andreas and his opacity. He is not very open. He also does not stand out amongst othe r people; rather, he fades into the crowd. I th ink of the lines impact on a German reader. Perhaps, a German would take the line in a straight-forward ma nner to mean that a person cannot be understood by other people. This can be unders tood in light of knowle dge about the dark past of Andreas father who lost an arm in the siege of Leningrad during World War II. A German reader may interpret the shadows of Andreas personality as stemming from that. This interpretation is historically significant and perhaps would be ev ident to a critically thinking English reader, but otherwise overlooked. A Russo-German reader would perhaps think of the common Russian saying taken from the Latin homo homini lupus est, der Mensch ist dem Menschen ein Wolf. Martynovas expression follows a sim ilar pattern of syntax and she may have gotten her expression from that, so reciprocity is implied. Yet, since I cannot expect an English reader to make the same kind of association, I consider ot her clues for how to translate this line, such as what the line means in relati on to the novels structure. The statement comes near the end of the novel, shortly before one of the characters talks about the different densities of shadows (which serve as a metaphor for time) and shortly after another ch aracter reflects on the circular pattern of life. Thus, this statement may involve the aut hors perspective of time. If a person is the shadow to another, she cannot be separate from the ot her in terms of time or space, and so both
Trotter 107 become irrelevant. One can also consider that she stands in anothe r persons shadow, and then interprets it to mean that a person is not alone, she is always part of another person. This interpretation would refer specifically to Andreas and Marinas relationship. Since a translator must translate pages upon pages, she must eventually come to a decision. In consideration of Martynovas possible intention, historical significance, and linguistic design, I chose to tran slate this line as a pers on is to people a shadow. Translating requires time, patience, and determination. Not only is it monotonous to work out what another person is trying to say, it is difficult to get across what that person is trying to say without my thoughts a bout what I am translating getting in the way. I also cannot attempt to in terpret the text for the read er. While translating, I noted my instinct to add natural rhythm or try to make the sentence structure more normal or conventional. I worked against this instinct since Martynovas inte ntions were usually poetic. In this same vein, when Martynova in tentionally made a meaning murky, I needed to remind myself not to try to clarify meani ng in my translation. Sometimes I made notes about these unclear words for the reader, so th at she would not think I was failing to help her access the text. From a Venuti foreignizi ng point of view, I wa s not interested in bringing the reader to the text But I wanted to make sure the text reached the reader. After spending months trying to create an English Even the Parrots Outlive us I am still not done. Each time I look at my translat ions, I find myself in a futile pursuit of a nonexistent perfection, just as with my writing. This dissatisfaction is strongly reminiscent of the dissatisfac tion felt when producing a crea tive piece. A translation can never be complete. All the words can be tran slated, but there is al ways something else
Trotter 108 that can be tweaked or redone or another word can be used. Most tr anslators would agree: there are no perfect solutions. You simply do your best (Weaver 119).
Trotter 109 Conclusion The use of machine translators for tran slation is indubitably removed from the standard translation practices of the past, especially fr om those which were produced before the widespread use of computers, and it may be controversial. However, from the practice of the translation of Olga Martynovas novel, Sogar Papageien berleben uns, I see the translation process as remaining remarkably unchanged from the most recent translation theory revolution in the 1990s and 2000s. Even in a technologically advancing wo rld, machine translation will not replace people since translation is an ar t, not a science. A machine (calculator) can work with the formal pragmatics of a language (arrangement of the morphemes etc.), but its work remains quantitative, while a literary transl ators work is qualitative. In machine translation, there are three stag es: 1) analysis of source la nguage, 2) conversion of the source language sequences into the target language sequence, and 3) the synthesis of these target sequences into a normal target form (Mihalic ek and Wilson 637). When a machine translates, focus is placed on the s econd stage. In human translation, not only are these stages broken down into further stages, but the focus is on the last stage. Combining human translation with machine translation al lows for greater efficiency in the second stage and preserves the creative aspects of the last one. The human translator continues to work with linguistics and literary and translat ion theory in order to produce a successful translation, even with the techno logy of machine translation. Furthermore, computers have no understanding of culture. Linguistic borders continue to hold sway, perhaps since many things are still untr anslatable due to cultural differences. What culture struggles to name is an individuals sense of participating in
Trotter 110 something larger than themselves (Anders on 1914). As Anderson says, persistence of strong national feelings make claims that we occupy a transnational or post-national globalized world seem immature since we are still very bound by our linguistic borders. There was and is no possibility of humanki nds general linguistic unification (1918). There may be things inherent in a langua ge which no other human language shares and cannot be translated. Through this project, I became convinced about language as a social construct, that is, how language is used to reflect the so ciety and culture of th e people using it. Of course, many of these claims have their root s in linguistics and linguistic determinism. Thought and language are identic al and it is not possible to engage in any rational thinking without using language to do so is one of many theories, but linguistic relativity plays a large role in the conjunction between language, culture, and identity. Critics of cultural preservers argue that the attri bution of language to culture is overdone. However, despite words which have one-to-on e equivalents such as land, homeland, and poem, astute language users can still make distinctions, such as Mascha Kalko does in her poem Der kleine Unterschied: Gewi, es bleibt dasselbe sag ich nun land statt Land sag ich fr Heimat homeland und poem fr Gedicht Gewi, ich bin sehr happy: Doch glcklich bin ich nicht. ( qtd. in Dittmar) The distinctions made between words in Kalkos poem remind readers that despite an almost perfectly translated te xt, cultural differences will be preserved. Authors produce works from within their pers onal subjective reality and at tempt to express it for the
Trotter 111 benefit of the reader. Ultimately the target language is just as foreign as the source text and thus, hopefully, a translation may tran sform society. If a specific literate group recognizes a work as not fitting in their na tional tradition but accepts the work by writing articles about it or sharing it in their book groups, the group is part of some amount of transformation. This acceptance is importa nt, as Anderson says, in a world where mobility across national borders continues to grow (1915). Thoughts about the product I imagine a future translation of this novel will appear different merely due to the fact that the period of styl e will have changed. Just as language changes over time, literary understanding and context changes as well. The multiple translations of Aeschylus Agamemnon are a good example of the effects of time on translation The original text was produced in the dominant poetic s of its time, but its translations reflect contemporary concerns. For literary critic Reuben Bower, the study of translation will yield insight into changing concepts of literature (Herma ns 83). My translation of Sogar Papageien berleben uns reflects a focus on crossing boundaries of time and space, just as would be expected with the rise of cultural and post-colonial studies. I think of my translation as a creative a nd interpretive project; I feel as though the production of the translation of Martynovas nove l adds to the origin al piece due to the content being expanded upon through with the an alysis of the transl ation. Translating across language adds one mo re element to understanding Martynovas conceptions of time. Benjamin aids in thinking about this, since according to him, the temporality of the story, as opposed to the temporality of information, emerges from a translation. The
Trotter 112 possible reduction of a literary work to information will be counterbalanced by considering time. Furthermore, through Benjamin I have le arned to understand that my translation has value without receiving acknowledgement fr om any reader. According to Benjamin, works of artobjects of interp retationare not intended for th eir recipients. Translation cannot exist for the sa ke of the reader (Task 73). In his essay, The Task of the Translator, Benjamin discusses the kin ship of languages based on the intention underlying each language as a whole (74). For him, a translator is primarily concerned with illuminating modes of intention and the k inship of languages so that the original and translation can become fragments of a greater language, a purer language ( Work of Art 1048). One can broaden and deepen ones own language with the foreign one. Thus, translation is a primary text, not merely a vehicle for something that pretexts it. A translator is interested in preserving a relationship be tween the original text and the translation. I strove to fulfill this task by producing a balanced translation which gives an English reader access to thoughts about Ge rman-Russian relations and their relative histories. From a U.S. American perspective, Germany is often defined as a country by its role in World War II, and Russia and the S oviet Union are define d by their Tsarist, communist, and contemporary corrupt leader ship. A perspectiv e, albeit through a fictional lens, of a person who has experien ces with both cultures is valuable for the exchange of cultures and ideas. I hope these ideas span the bridge of the two languages through the translation.
Trotter 113 Bibliography Anderson, Benedict. Origins of Nationa l Consciousness. Cain et al. 1913-23. Appel, Alfred, and Charles H. Newman. Nabokov: Criticism, Reminiscences Translations, and Tributes New York: Simon and Schuster, 1970. Print. Bakhtin, Mikahil, trans. Michael Holquist. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays Austin: University of Texas Press, 1981. eBook. Barry, Peter. Beginning Theory. 3rd ed. Manchester, NY: Manc hester University Press, 2009. 116-33. Print. Bassnett, Susan. Culture and Transl ation. Kuhiwczak and Littau 13-23. Bellos, David. Is That a Fish in Your Ear?: Tr anslation and the Meaning of Everything. New York: Faber and Faber, 2011. Print. Benjamin, Andrew E. Translation and the Nature of Philosophy: A New Theory of Words. London: Routledge, 1989. Print. Benjamin, Walter. The Task of the Translator. Theories of Translation: An Anthology of Essays from Dryden to Derrida Eds. Rainer Schulte and John Biguenet. Chicago: U of Chicago Press. 1992. Print. 71-82. Benjamin, Walter. The Work of Art in th e Age of its Technological Reproducibility. Cain et al. 1046-71. Bolton, D.E. Quine on Meaning and Translation. Philosophy 54.209 (1979): 329-46. Web. 16 Dec. 2012.
Trotter 114 Cornwell, Neil. Daniil Kharms and the Poetics of th e Absurd: Essays and Materials New York: St. Martin's Press, 1991. Print. Dittmar, Peter. Gewi, ich bin happy, doch glcklich bin ich nicht: Wenn Deutsch so englisch klingt: Wieviel Anglizis men soll man, mu man tolerieren? Die Welt 23 Oct 1998, Online n. pag. Web. 16 Dec. 2012.
Trotter 115 Holquist, Michael. Dialogism: Bakhtin and His World London: Routledge, 1990. Print. Jameson, Frederic. "Literature as Socially Symbolic Act." Cain et al. 1826-31. Jung, Jochen. Olga Martynova: Ach, du grause Zeit. Der Tagesspiegel 02 2010: n. page. Web. 4 Jan. 2013. Kuhiwczak, Piotr, and Karin Littau. A Companion to Translation Studies Clevedon: Multilingual Matter s, 2007. Print. Rubin, Laurie. Portrait of a Shoebill Stork 2012. 500PXWeb. 19 Jan 2013.
Trotter 116 Mihalic ek, Vedrana and Christin Wilson. Machine Translation. Language Files: Materials for an Introducti on to Language and Linguistics Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2011. Print. 635-38, 640, 645. Prominent Russians: Daniil Kharms. RussiaPedia 2011.