Fyodor Sologub's three translations of Paul Verlaine’s „Il pleure dans mon coeur”

Timothy J Portice, Princeton University

The poetry of Paul Verlaine had an enormous influence on the poetry of the early Symbolists. In 1908 Fyodr Sologub published an entire volume of translations of the French poet, including some of his most well-known cycles. It is interesting to note, however, that for several of the poems chosen, Sologub could not limit himself to a single translation. Instead he often resorted to multiple translations of the same poem.

For Verlaine's reknowned lyric „Il pleure dans mon coeur” Sologub wrote three distinct translations. Focusing on this example, I plan to highlight the formal features of each translation in relation to the French original. Close readings of each of the translations will reveal two methods of translation, direct (a complete duplication of the poetic phenomenon found in the original) and indirect (an adaptation of the poetic phenomenon into the Russian language, and more importantly, the Russian poetic tradition). Examining both methods will allow us to understand what Sologub saw as the dominant features of the Verlaine poem. By placing my reading within the context of Sologub's own introduction to his volume of translations, I will discuss Sologub's own approach to Verlaine within the context of other Symbolist translators (such as Briusov).


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