Andrew Denny – Akhmatova and ! ?

Akhmatova – Our AT group discussed the two translations in terms of the translation panel earlier in the year. We noticed that Thomas’s translation appeared to be more brief and less wordy as apposed to Anderson’s translation. During the translation panel, we remembered that Prof. Denham pointed out two types of translation; a more word for word translation where accuracy in translation is prioritized and a more stylistic translation that adapts the words into the language it is being translated into to preserve the mood, rhythm, etc. We felt that the Thomas translation fell more into this stylistic translation due to the brevity and better flow when reading the poems. Anderson we felt was more word for word because the meaning was clearer however some lines were longer and clunkier. This can be see here:

Thomas: “The mountains bow before this anguish”

Anderson: ” A grief so great would lay a mountain low “

These quotes are both translating the same line of one of Akhmatova’s poems, however, you can see how their translation styles differ. Anderson’s is clunkier but the meaning is clear about the grief experienced. Thomas uses more of a personification of the grief to get his point across. To our AT group, we preferred Thomas’s more stylistic approach to translation because it was more enjoyable to read.

? – Why did Stalin decide that Mayakovsky was to be considered the most important poet of the Soviet Age, when Mayakovsky killed himself because of the constraints on freedom of the press imposed by the Soviet regime?

! – What I found to be most interesting from the lecture was Akhmatova and how she didn’t leave Russia even being a part of the previous bourgeois. I was really surprised by how outspoken she was towards those who did choose to flee Russia. Her poetry was rallying for the people of the Soviet Union especially women. The fact only her husband was arrested for fear of her becoming martyr was another fact that jumped out at me while I was re watching the lecture.

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