Sabit Mukanov’s Poem about the Chelyuskintsy: An Original without a Translation and a Translation without an Author

Keywords: Chelyuskintsy; Sabit Mukanov; Pavel Vyacheslavov; Kazakh literature; Soviet literature; Pushkin

Abstract

This article considers the topic of Soviet heroism as reflected in The Polar Bear (Rus. «Белый медведь») by the Kazakh poet Sabit Mukanov, a poem dedicated to the rescue of SS Chelyuskin wreck survivors. The poem came second in a competition of works about Chelyuskintsy held in 1934. After the competition results were announced, a Russian translation of the poem by Pavel Vyacheslavov was released. Of all the works presented at the competition, only the translation of Mukanov’s poem was published in the central press: excerpts appeared in the Novy Mir and 30 Dney magazines. The fact that a work by a representative of a national minority was published in Moscow magazines demonstrates the significance of the text for the entirety of Soviet discourse. This article discusses the translation features of the excerpt published in Novy Mir and analyses the structure of the original text. In addition to the obligatory components of Stalinist social realism, such as the glorification of Stalin and the heroism of the Soviet man, the poem contains elements that mark it as a text from a different cultural tradition, i. e. specific similes and Kazakh proverbs and sayings. The poem contains references to the works of Pushkin, Heine, and the Kazakh classic Abai Qunanbaiuly. Mukanov uses these references to demonstrate that he is familiar with the literary canon and is learning from the literary classics. Based on an analysis of the text, it can be concluded that it is the Moscow Kremlin, not the polar ice floe, which is at the centre of the rescue operation. Thus, the key topic of the poem is not the rescue of the Chelyuskintsy, but the glorification of the Soviet system under Stalin. An examination of differences between the original text and the translation makes it possible to understand what was directed at the Kazakh-speaking reader in the text – and therefore what disappeared in the translation. The Kazakh text contains many clarifying footnotes, including explanations of words by means of synonyms. It may be presumed that by incorporating new Soviet words into the Kazakh language, Mukanov acts as a transmitter of imperial ideology.

Author Biography

Yulia Kozitskaya

Lecturer, National Research University Higher School of Economics.

20, Myasnitskaya Str., 101000, Moscow, Russia.

ORCID 0000-0002-3507-6174

y.kozitskaya@gmail.com

References

B. R. (1934). Nakaz millionov [The Order of Millions]. In Literaturnaya gazeta. No. 74, p. 4.

Baevskii, I. (1934). Pushkin v lagere Shmidta [Pushkin in Schmidt’s Camp]. In Literaturnaya gazeta. No. 79, p. 1.

Bednyi, D. (1934). Boevoe oruzhie revolyutsii [The Weapons of the Revolution]. In Literaturnaya gazeta. No. 116, p. 3.

Bǝjge qortьndьsь-ǝdebijet kycterimizdiꞑ ɵskendigin kɵrsetedi [The Results of the Literary Competition Announced]. (1935). In Satsьjaldь Qazaƣьstan. No. 133 (3237). June 11, p. 3.

Brusilovsky, Ye. (1936). Otryvki iz kazakhskikh muzykal’nykh p’es “Zhalbyr” i “Kyz-Zhibek”. Arii, khory i tantsy. Dlya peniya s fortepiano i dlya odnogo fortepiano [Excerpts from Kazakh Musical Plays Zhalbyr and Kyz-Zhibek. Arias, Choirs and Dances. For Singing to the Accompaniment of Piano and for Piano Alone] / Russian text by L. Pen’kovskii. Moscow, Gosudarstvennoe muzykal’noe izdatel’stvo. 32 p.

Clark, K. (2000a). Sotsrealizm i sakralizatsiya prostranstva [Socialist Realism and the Sacralisation of Space]. In Günther, H., Dobrenko, E. (Eds.). Sotsrealisticheskii kanon. Moscow, Akademicheskii proekt, pp. 119–128.

Clark, K. (2000b). Marksistsko-leninskaya estetika [Marxist-Leninist Aesthetics]. In Günther, H., Dobrenko, E. (Eds.). Sotsrealisticheskii kanon. Moscow, Akademicheskii proekt, pp. 352–359.

Dobrenko, E. (2011). Naideno v perevode: rozhdenie sovetskoi mnogonatsional’noi literatury iz smerti avtora [Found in Translation: The Birth of Soviet Multinational Literature from the Death of the Author]. In Neprikosnovennyi zapas. No. 4, pp. 236–262.

Dobrenko, E. (2013). Dzhambul. Ideologicheskie arabeski [Dzhambul. Ideological Arabesques]. In Bogdanov, K., Nikolozi, R., Murashov, Yu. (Eds.). Dzhambul Dzhabaev. Priklyucheniya kazakhskogo akyna v Sovetskoi strane. Stat’i i materialy. Moscow, Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, pp. 24–70.

Frank, S. (2010). City of the Sun on Ice: The Soviet (Counter-) Discourse of the Arctic in the 1930s. In Ryall, A., Schimanski, J., Wærp, H. (Eds.). Arctic Discourses. Newcastle, Cambridge Scholars, pp. 106–131.

Gronskaya, S. (2005). “Zdes’ ya rassadil svoi topolya…”. Dokumental’naya povest’ o Elene Vyalovoi i poete Pavle Vasil’eve. Pis’ma [“Here I planted my poplars…”. A Documentary Story about Elena Vyalova and the Poet Pavel Vasilyev. Letters]. Moscow, Flinta. 334 p.

Groza, I., Dubenskii, P. (Eds.). (1934). Slavnym zavoevatelyam Arktiki. Sbornik [To the Glorious Conquerors of the Arctic. Collected Works]. Moscow, Ob”edinenie gosudarstvennykh knizhno-zhurnal’nykh izdatel’stv – SOTsEKGIZ. 179 p.

Iz kazakskogo eposa. Er-sain [From the Kazakh Epos. Er-sain]. (1935). In Literaturnyi Kazakstan. No. 3–4, pp. 80–83.

Kǝmesije. (1935). “Celyskin ҫorьƣь” taqьrь bьnda ҫarьjalanƣan pajema bǝjgesiniꞑ qortьndьsь [The Results of the Poetry Contest on the Quest of the Chelyuskintsy Announced]. In Lenincil ҫas. No. 85 (859). June 12, p. 3.

Khasenov, M. (1971). Sabit Mukanov [Sabit Mukanov]. In Istoriya kazakhskoi literatury v 3 t. Alma-Ata, Nauka. Vol. 3. Kazakhskaya sovetskaya literatura, pp. 473–504.

Lekmanov, O. (2015). Stalinskaya “oda”. Stikhotvorenie Mandel’shtama “Kogda b ya ugol’ vzyal dlya vysshei pokhvaly…” na fone poeticheskoi staliniany 1937 goda [The Stalin Ode. Mandelstam’s Poem “Were I to take up charcoal for the highest praise…” against the Background of the Poetic Staliniana of 1937]. In Novyi mir. No. 3, pp. 174–188.

Lekmanov, O., Sverdlov, M. (2018). Zverinets u Korneya Chukovskogo i u detskikh sovetskikh poetov 1920–1930-kh godov [A Zoo by Korney Chukovsky and Children’s Soviet Poets of the 1920s–1930s]. In Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie. No. 4, pp. 171–186.

Martin, T. (2011). Imperiya “polozhitel’noi deyatel’nosti”. Natsii i natsionalizm v SSSR, 1923–1939 [The Affirmative Action Empire: Nations and Nationalism in the Soviet Union, 1923–1939] / transl. by O. R. Shchelokova. Moscow, ROSSPEN. 662 p.

Mukanov, S. (1934). Tulpar. Sbornik izbrannykh stikhotvorenii [Tulpar. A Collection of Selected Poems]. Moscow, Sovetskii pisatel’. 104 p.

Mukanov, S. (1935a). Pokhod. Iz poemy “Belyi medved’” [A Quest. From the Poem The Polar Bear]. In Literaturnyi Kazakstan. No. 1, pp. 71–75.

Mukanov, S. (1935b). Belyi medved’ [The Polar Bear]. In Literaturnyi Kazakstan. No. 2, pp. 52–57. No. 3–4, pp. 37–41.

Mukanov, S. (1936a). Medved’ na nebe (Iz poemy “Belyi medved”) [Bear in the Sky (from the Poem The Polar Bear)]. In 30 dnei. No. 5, pp. 46–47.

Mukanov, S. (1936b). Moskva moya (Iz poemy “Belyi medved’” [My Moscow (from the Poem The Polar Bear)]. In Novyi mir. No. 6, p. 73.

Mukanov, S. (1960). Belyi medved’ [The Polar Bear] / transl. by V. Vyacheslavov. In Mukanov, S. Stikhi i poemy. Alma-Ata, Kazgoslitizdat, pp. 372–381.

Muqan ulь, S. (1934). “Celuvskin” attanarda [From “Chelyuskintsy”]. In Satsьjaldь Qazaƣьstan. No. 258 (3059). November 7, p. 2.

Muqan Ulь, S. (1935). Aq ajuv [The Polar Bear]. Alma-Ata, Qazaƣьstan kɵrkem әdebijet baspasь. 87 p.

Nurtazin, T. (1951). O tvorchestve S. M. Mukanova [About the Work of S. M. Mukanov]. Alma-Ata, Kazakhstanskoe gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo khudozhestvennoi literatury. 337 p.

Pushkin, A. (1936). Mednyi vsadnik [The Bronze Horseman] / transl. by M. Davletbaev. In Pushkin, A. Izbrannye proizvedeniya v 3 t. Alma-Ata, Kazakhstanskoe izdatel’stvo khudozhestvennoi literatury. Vol. 1, pp. 363–379.

Pushkin, A. S. (1960). Evgenii Onegin [Eugene Onegin]. In Pushkin, A. S. Polnoe sobranie sochinenii v 10 t. Moscow, Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo khudozhestvennoi literatury. Vol. 4, pp. 9–198.

Sharipova, G. (1935). Literatura Kazakstana [Literature of Kazakhstan]. In Literaturnaya gazeta. No. 59, p. 4.

Slezkin, Yu. (2008). Arkticheskie zerkala. Rossiya i malye narody Severa [Arctic Mirrors. Russia and the Small Peoples of the North]. Moscow, Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie. 512 p.

Stalin, I. (1930). Politicheskii otchet Tsentral’nogo komiteta XVI s”ezdu VKP(b), 27 iyunya 1930 goda [Political Report of the Central Committee of the 16th Congress of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks, 27 June 1930]. In Pravda. 29 June, p. 5.

Vyacheslavov, P. (1936). Sabit Mukanov [Sabit Mukanov]. In Literaturnaya ucheba. No. 4, pp. 147–150.

Witt, S. (2011). Between the Lines. Totalitarianism and Translation in the USSR. In Baer, B. J. (Ed.). Contexts, Subtexts and Pretexts: Literary Translation in Eastern Europe and Russia. Amsterdam, John Benjamins Publ. Company, pp. 149–170.

Published
2020-06-23
How to Cite
Kozitskaya, Y. (2020). Sabit Mukanov’s Poem about the Chelyuskintsy: An Original without a Translation and a Translation without an Author. Quaestio Rossica, 8(2), 503–518. https://doi.org/10.15826/qr.2020.2.477
Section
Problema voluminis