The Short German Ballad and the Long Russian Face

Emily Klenin, University of California, Los Angeles

The paper discusses affect in nineteenth-century translations of German verse into Russian. It takes as its starting point V. A. Zhukovskij's well-known rendition of J. L. Uhland's short ballad "Die Rache." The Zhukovskij text is best known as a formal source for Pushkin's "Chernaja shal'" and the relationship of all three texts, as well as their relationship to later progeny, has been well discussed in the literature. The discussion of the Uhland-Zhukovskij relationship has dealt mainly with correspondences of lexicon and metrical form, however, and does not attend to the displacement of affect that Zhukovskij's choices imply. The present paper examines this aspect of Zhukovskij's translation both in relation to the German short-ballad tradition, in particular in Uhland's work, and in relation to Zhukovskij's oeuvre. The affective shift illustrated in Zhukovskij's translation of the Uhland poem is also discussed in relation to other nineteenth-century Russian poems with German literary-ballad subtexts.