This year, in Kazakhstan and beyond the 175th anniversary of the outstanding Kazakh poet Abai Kunanbaiuly is commemorated. His brilliant translations of foreign poets into Kazakh form a major part of his literary legacy. In three articles dedicated to the issue, Doctor of Philology, professor Sauytbek Abdrakhmanov creatively analyses Abai's translations of the three giants of the early 19th century's Russian poetry Alexander Pushkin, Mikhail Lermontov and Ivan Krylov, exposing various means he employed to stay true to the originals' messages while delivering them to his fellow countrymen in the most efficient way.
1. TRANSLATED LYRICS
In his recent article, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev called Abai the spiritual reformer of the nation. And the poet achieved this title with the help of his amazing translations from Pushkin, Lermontov, Mitskevich, Byron, Goethe, Bunin, Krylov, Polonsky.
Taken Alimkulov, in his famous book «Жұмбақ жан» («Mysterious Soul»), briefly dwells on how Abai came to «Eugene Onegin»: «Abai needed an epoch-making, chronicle, multi-layer sample. In this regard, he chose the novel «Eugene Onegin», that was rightfully recognized as «the encyclopedia of Russian life». The images, called in Russian literary science «superfluous people», pleased Abai».
If Nikolai Dobrolyubov believed that Pushkin's main merit before humanity is «in the disclosure of the Russian soul» to the whole world, then this merit of the poet is primarily manifested in Eugene Onegin. It is known that the poet had written this work for almost 8 years. Throughout this time, the thoughts of the reading public in Russia have closely echoed the spiritual world of the poet, she felt herself involved in the fate of the characters in the novel. In the wide panorama of the work, the readers felt the poetics of daily flowing life, in the characters of the heroes they recognized themselves, their friends, neighbours, perceived the surrounding nature, the capital, the village in a new way, admiring the observation, emotionality, sensuality, and the skill of the poet. As each section of the novel was published in magazines, the glory of Pushkin as the first Russian poet was strengthened more and more, during his lifetime his contemporaries had already acknowledged him as a true classic, an indisputable genius.
A Kazakh reader of the Abai era, was not naturally able to fully perceive such creation in the same form and volume. Moreover, the point is not «The lack of appropriate preparation of the reader», as we used to write before, but that the literary tradition was completely different then. That is why, Abai tried to make an «Epistolary novel» (Mukhtar Auezov) out of Pushkin's work, he clearly and subtly felt how romantic the love correspondence of a young man and a girl is in the steppe reality.
Naturally, not only the country of Kazakhs, through which the Great Silk Road passed, but also any nation and some people, regardless of their location, cannot remain outside the history of mankind, not to enjoy the benefits of spiritual wealth created by others. Our people have also experienced a lot of this influence. Nevertheless, if we take into account that interaction and mutual influence between civilizations and peoples are carried out primarily through translation, then the bright disclosure of the great poet's translation talent is undoubtedly associated with the novel «Eugene Onegin» by Pushkin, then 1887 should be assessed as a whole, as a turning point in the history of national culture, and there should be no doubt about it.
Attention is drawn by Abai's precise definition of the significance of «Eugene Onegin». Not to mention other points, already in the recognition of Tatyana to write a letter to a young man as the first in love, in her decision, Abai soberly saw an unprecedented courage, a huge innovation for the Kazakh society, realized that this was not at all alien to nature and a Kazakh woman who was capable and to lead a clan, and to a military campaign of warriors of a story that did not know what a burqa was. Abai also acts as a modernizer here.
Kazakh readers and listeners of that time, with the help of Abai's translations, knew not just individual passages of Eugene Onegin, but the entire plot of the novel. An innovative spirit of Pushkin's novel, the main motives that were more important for the Kazakh society of that historical period, were brought to the hearts of the people through these wonderful translations.
Abai's famous lines from Tatyana's letter are arranged as follows:
Шыныңды айт, кімсің тербеткен,
Әлде азғырып, әуре еткен,
Жаумысың теуіп таптаушы?
Шеш көңілімнің жұмбағын,
Әлде бәрі алданыс.
Жас жүрек жайып саусағын,
Талпынған шығар айға алыс.
(Who are you, my guardian angel?
Or a wily devil, a tempter fatal?
Disperse these doubts, this agony.
Perhaps all this is nothingness,
A foolish mind's self-aberration,
And something other is fate's decree…)
If someday an anthology of world translated poetry will be compiled, the lines quoted have every right to take a place in that book.
Or take Tatiana's last answer to Onegin:
Жар табылмас сен секілді,
Мен де сендей сорлы зар.
Қол-аяғым берік бекіді,
Енді ненің орны бар?
Жат есікті және қорып,
Жара салма сен маған.
Жұрт жамандар жатқа жорып,
Жалынамын мен саған.
(Back then-far off from vain commotion,
In our backwoods, as you'll allow,
You had no use for my devotion…
So why do you pursue me now?
Why mark me out for your attention?
Is it perhaps my new ascension
To circles that you find more swank;
Or that I now have wealth and rank;
Or that my husband, maimed in battle,
Is held in high esteem at Court?
Or would my fall perhaps be sport,
A cause for all the monde to tattle-
Which might in turn bring you some claim
To social scandal's kind of fame?)
What subtle, pleasingly tender words are put into the lips of the girl, especially in the last two lines! It is impossible to bring this momentary state of the female soul to the Kazakh heart more closely, more clearly!
Or how deeply and powerfully, purely in the Kazakh spirit, Onegin's words sound: «Құдайдан болғай деп емі, / Құдайыны мол бердім» (With prayer I sought to ease and soften) Apparently, it is no coincidence that folk akyns, following the example of Abai, who wrote dastans (and there are as many as five!) based on the novel, call Tatyana in Kazakh with special warmth and tenderness - Tatish, Tatishzhan, Nur Tatish. At one time, we published an article on this topic in «Kazakhstanskaya Pravda» and indicated that it was after these translations-transcriptions that the Kazakhs got a tender female name Tatish…
Abai's ability to take into account the nature of the Kazakh concept and world view is admirable. The words of Pushkin's Tatyana «But once a week-I'd see your face,
Behold, you at our country place», he translates as follows: «Шыдар ем күйіп мен жанып, / Айына бірер көрсем де» (semantic reverse translation: «Even if I was burning with impatience, I could bear it, / If I had to see you at least once a month»).
Why more than once a week? After all, there can be no doubt that a «week» is not a «month» - Abai knew well. Nevertheless, he writes this way because his work is addressed to the youth of the Kazakh village. And the steppe is not a village, in a Russian village people get together at least once a week to pray in church. In the vast steppe space, people are also happy when they meet at least once a month. And a guy and a girl see each other very rarely, for fear of unwanted rumours and misinterpretations. It is also appropriate to mention here that the Kazakhs, when they met in the steppe, asked each other in great detail about life and being, about the health of family members and relatives, about the safety of livestock, and so on, apparently knowing in advance that the next meeting would not be soon... At least, before the appearance of «phone» it was so!
«Abai strives to ensure that the Kazakh woman sparkles on equal terms with the man. Therefore, he takes «Eugene Onegin» mainly in order to reveal the best inner feelings of this woman, to show the hidden corners of her bright soul», - says Mukhtar Auezov, and these words have a deep meaning. To achieve that «a Kazakh woman sparkled on equal terms with a man», «to show the hidden corners of her bright soul», was a task of great importance for the literature of that time.
Жасынан көрсе оны ақылы сасқан,
Не сұрқия жандарың жұрттан асқан.
Жеңуге, қор қылуға тағы да ұста,
Өзіне күндес шықса, жол таласқан.
Ажуаға, қорлауға тілі орамды,
Не түрлі тұзақ құрып көңлін басқан.
(A learned, if pedantic, sort.
He did possess the happy forte
Free and easy conversation,
Or in a grave dispute he'd wear
The solemn expert's learned air
And keep to silent meditation;
And how the ladies' eyes, he lit
With flashes of his sudden wit!)
Of course, Onegin's moral pressure on Lensky becomes clear after this characterization. Abai covered all the contradictions inherent in Onegin's nature as a whole. To prove this, it is enough to cite his «Image of Onegin»: «Жасынан түсін билеп, сыр бермеген, / Дәмеленсе, күндесе білдірмеген», «Емінер, «әй» дегізер, дайын қылар, / Жүрегің қалай соқса, пайым қылар» (Not thinking of the proud world's pleasure, /But cherishing your friendship's claim, But when the age of restless turnings, / Became in time our young man's fate,) In the depths of these lines lie the surprising definition given by Pushkin to Onegin («Muscovite in Harold's raincoat»), and the doubt expressed by Tatyana's lips («Is he really a parody?»). That is, the characterization of Abai immediately and indisputably reveals that Onegin's tragedy naturally arises from his natural nature, as if the poet sets himself the goal of preparing the reader for this from the very beginning.
In the book by Stanislav Shatalov «Heroes of Alexander Pushkin's novel «Eugene Onegin» there is a chapter «The Role of Onegin». It is noteworthy that the translation of Abai «Кейде паң, кейде көнгіш орныменен, / Кейде елеусіз, кейде ынтық формыменен» (Half humorous, half pessimistic, / Blending the plain and idealistic) is not limited only to showing how Onegin played different roles in life, and the same role - in different situations in different ways, he extremely vividly reveals his environment, and how this environment, the society in which he lives, prompts him to play such roles.
It is impossible to characterize Onegin more precisely than Herzen – «Clever uselessness». That is why Pushkin at the end of the novel, condemning his hero through the lips of Tatiana, at the same time defends him from the court of the «crowd». That is why Onegin was disgusted with society and he does not sympathize with the tender Tatiana, who has been in the very thick of this society since the very beginning.
Бірге туған мен ағаңнан,
Шын досыңмын, кем емес.
Соққы жедім сұм заманнан,
Бір жылы сөз ем емес.
Арман етпе, жас күнің көп,
Игілік көр, ерге бар!
Бұл заманның қашқыны деп,
Мен ғаріпті есіңе ал.
Менде паңдық, жат мінезден,
Дәнеңе жоқ, жарқыным.
Осы жазған барша сөзден,
Байқалынар бар шыным.
Басы қатты, сұм жүрегін
Тоқтата алмай кетті де.
Сорға біткен көкірегін
Сендіре алмай өтті де.
(For dreams and youth there's no returning;
I cannot resurrect my soul.
I love you with a tender yearning,
But mine must be a brother's role.
So, hear me through without vexation:
Young maidens find quick consolation-
From dream to dream a passage, brief;
Just so a sapling sheds its leaf
To bud anew each vernal season.
Thus, heaven wills the world to turn.
You'll fall in love again; but learn…
To exercise restraint and reason,
For few will understand you so,
And innocence can lead to woe.)
We can rightfully assert that Abai, no worse than the author, of the original, was able to convey all the truthfulness, persuasiveness of Tatyana's written message to a young man about his love, Onegin's decision to honor her with a very cold answer, thereby extinguishing the fire of passion that raged in the heart of a young girl.
Temirgali Nurtazin gives a wonderful explanation for this: «In the translation of Eugene Onegin, Abai sometimes expresses a common opinion with Pushkin, sometimes moves away from him. In the Abai era, Kazakh reality was alien to such unusual phenomena that a girl was the first to confess her love to a young man she liked and write him a letter so that twenty-six years old Onegin could reject this love. However, the great Abai, who dreamed about the equality of people, about the freedom to express their opinions, about a new life, does not shy away from this unexpected innovation, on the contrary, he takes up the translation of the work with pleasure and inspiration».
Yes, indeed, the whole question is precisely «in the equality of people», «in the freedom to express their opinions», «in a new life». Speaking in today's politicized language, the problem is «Further democratization of the Kazakh society».
Irina Surat, touching upon the art of translation by Pushkin, somehow inspiredly wrote: «Translations and arrangements from Chenier, Southey, Bunyan, Cornwall, as a rule, have a personal impulse, absorb specific external circumstances and internal events of Pushkin's life - and remain at the same translations, that is, implanting the fruits of one national culture into another. In Pushkin's mature poetry, there are no boundaries between translations and lyrics - no wonder none of his serious publishers had the idea of putting translations into a special section, as is customary in the collections of other poets. You can talk about a special type of translated lyrics by Pushkin, when someone else's word becomes a means of lyrical self-expression».
What has been said with full right can be attributed to Abai. Through the characters of Pushkin's novel, Abai revealed his lyrical mood himself. He turned translation into lyrics. This is Abai's «Eugene Onegin».
Yes, of course, Abai presented to his people not just fragments of «Eugene Onegin», he created his own version of this work. Moreover, the creation of a novel in the form of letters is associated not only with the «Unpreparedness of the reader». In the Abai era, love correspondence between young men and women has long become a tradition in the Kazakh village, and these as a rule, these letters were written in poetry, and all this had a peculiar romantic character. Abai correctly felt the request of his reader (listener). It seems that if he had translated Pushkin's novel in accordance with the classical model of translation, completely retaining the size and rhyme of the verse, then the steppe people of that time would hardly have taken it as closely as these passages. They fully reveal, convey the most necessary, most innovative motives for Kazakhs, the fresh spirit of Pushkin's novel.
In the translations of «Eugene Onegin», Abai created the best examples of the correspondence of words, alternative images, the adequacy of the melody, stress, rhyme, intonation, as can be seen at least by comparing the following lines:
Но так и быть. Судьбу мою
Не болса да өзімді
So be it! Whatever my destiny,
Отныне я тебе вручаю
Тапсырдым сізге налынып
To you I give it from this day,
Перед тобою слезы лью
Толтырып жасқа көзімді
Before you the tears roll down my cheek,
Твоей защиты умоляю
Есірке деймін жалынып.
And your protection I beseech…
One of the most difficult requirements in poetic translation is to convey the stressed rhymed word in the original with the stressed rhymed word in the translation. Valery Bryusov called it as the greatest test of the translator's skill. In this respect, the Abai’s translation leads to admiration: «my destiny» - «өзімді», «tears roll down my cheek» - «көзімді», «I give» - «налынып», «I beseech» - «жалынып»…
Let's pay attention to the concreteness, correspondence inherent in Abai: "Who are you, my guardian angel..." - «Шыныңды айт, кімсің тербеткен, Иембісің сақтаушы? ». Of course, only those who deeply understand the nature of Church Slavism can convey the concept of "guardian angel" so clearly and smoothly. «Or a wily devil, a tempter fatal? » - «Әлде азғырып әуре еткен, Жаумысың теуіп таптаушы». «Disperse these doubts, this agony» - «Шеш көңілімнің жұмбағын», «Perhaps all this is nothingness» - «Әлде бәрі алданыс». No matter how you call those lines - equivalent or algorithm, adequacy or accuracy, interlinearity or even literalness - they fully meet all the requirements of translation theory.
Abai's translations from Pushkin occupy a very large place in the history of Kazakh literature, are estimated as an amazing phenomenon, with which everyone will agree. Again, Taken Alimkulov remarkably said about this: «Abai's translations indicate that he very deeply understood the context and subtext of the work and was able to convey them as close as possible to the Kazakh mentality, clearly and intelligibly. Abai's translations have enriched our language. They gave birth to new concepts, fresh comparisons and epithets, previously unknown phrases and phraseological units. New rhythms, new sounds have appeared in our poetry. New imaginative types of thinking have emerged». What other power can be stronger than the power to change thinking?!
Unfortunately, there are still few specific, deep research works on the impact of translations based on Pushkin's novel on Abai's poetry, and through him, on all Kazakh poetry. When we talk about the influence of «Eugene Onegin» on Kazakh literature, we in most cases mention these Abayi’s translations, folk dastans based on the novel, the fact that the work was four times (Ilyas Zhansugurov, Kuandyk Shangytbayev - two versions, Kakimbek Salykov) completely translated. All of this is correct. But along with this it should be said that the influence of Pushkin's work on raising the professional level of our literature was carried out not only through direct translation.
So, in his own Abaevian lines «Қайғың болар шермен тең, / Қара көңілім жермен тең, / Сенсіз маған жат төсек, / Болар бейне көрмен тең» (The sadness about you will turn to grief, / My soul will be brought crashing down to earth. /Another’s bed without you, / Will become my grave), of course, the influence of Pushkin is clearly felt, or rather, «Letters of Tatiana». And the poem «Желсіз түнде жарық ай», written in the year of translation of «Eugene Onegin», is an example of the image of moments of love passion with subtle hints, signs - remember the date of Onegin and Tatiana at the moment of declaration of love.
The next interesting point is the influence of the Abayev translations of «Eugene Onegin» on Kazakh versification. Not to mention other aspects of this issue, it should be noted that until 1887-1888 Abai's poems were written mainly in traditional Kazakh sizes, and the cross rhymes introduced into our poetry by Abai and became familiar were first used by him in «Tatiana’s letter to Onegin». It is quite possible that later, when Abai introduced rhymes covering six lines (aabvvb), rhymes of "eight verses" (abvvbgg) into his verses, this happened under the influence of the «Onegin stanza», since through Pushkin's novel the poet clearly felt and understood how external the form affects the content.
Concluding the article, it must be said that excerpts from Pushkin's novel, in fact, are Abai's first steps in translation. Prior to that, the poet tried his hand at translating only three small pieces from Lermontov («The Child in the Cradle», «Borodino», «Both Boring and Sad»). It was only later, when he delved deeper into Lermontov's world and through him reached Goethe, got to Byron, mastered Krylov's fables, he was able to demonstrate the best examples of a truly realistic, adequate translation. The founder of Abay studies Mukhtar Auezov, also explained those passages of the free translation by the poet Pushkin: «If Abai, being the first to translate Pushkin, allowed such a style, then, moving on to Lermontov's works, he shows a completely different quality. Here, in general, this phenomenon can be expressed as follows - Abai works as a true master translator».
About the translations of Abai from Lermontov - in the next article in our cycle.
CONGENIALITY 2. THE TRIUMPH OF CONSONANCE
The artistic scale and splendour of Abai's poetry are clearly manifested in his translations of Lermontov.
Abai created the summit masterpieces of the Kazakh poetic translation by translating Lermontov's poems into the Kazakh language. Among them it is especially possible to highlight «Қараңғы түнде тау қалғып» (Tops of dreaming highlands) - a translation of Lermontov's masterpiece «From Goethe».
Gerold Belger and Medeubai Kurmanov in their books, articles, essays cite three of his versions (Goethe - Lermontov - Abai) and convincingly prove the poetic skill of Lermontov and Abai.
An interlinear translation from Goethe is as follows:
Над всеми вершинами
Во всех верхушках
едва ли дуновение.
Птички смолкли в
Подожди только: скоро
отдохнешь и ты.
Барлық шыңдар басында
Ормандағы құстардың үні
Тек сабыр ет, сәлден кейін
Сен де тыныс табарсың.
Over all vertexes peace.
In all tops (trees)
you will feel it
hardly a whiff.
The birds fell silent in the darkness forest.
Just wait: soon
You'll get some rest, too.
«A talented poet, with the help of such simple, ordinary words as «top» from inanimate nature (Gipfel), «tops of trees» from the plant world (Whipfel) and «birds» from the animal world (Bugelain), draws before you the whole picture of nature, sleeping sweetly in the silence of the night. Only at the very end do we see a lonely traveller breaking this fabulous peace. Enjoying the silence of nature, tired of the heat of the day and now resting under the coolness of the night, he suddenly feels his tiredness from a long day trip. He also wants to rest, calm down. The whole structure, melody of the poem is subordinated to this feeling: the number of syllables (5, 2, 5, 3, 4, 9, 5, 4), and rhyme (ababсddс), and rhythm is also free and varied. At first, the same rhythm is observed, then it slows down. When it comes to birds, it intensifies again, and when it comes to silence, it slows down again», - wrote Medeubai Kurmanov, an excellent connoisseur of the German language, translator of «Faust».
Now let's remember Lermontov's version:
Спят во тьме ночной,
Полны свежей мглой.
Не пылит дорога,
Не дрожат листы,
Отдохнешь и ты.
Tops of dreaming highlands
Darken in a night;
Valleys lull, in silence,
A fresh dim inside;
Dust sleeps on a road,
Leafage does not shake.
Wait a little more,
You'll have a break too.
Much has been said about this wonderful translation. Since its inception, this poem has been a great work of Russian literature. This is also the case for the Abai’s version:
Қараңғы түнде тау қалғып,
Ұйқыға кетер балбырап.
Даланы жым-жырт дел-сал ғып
Түн басады салбырап.
Шаң шығармас жол-дағы,
Сілкіне алмас жапырақ.
Сабыр қылсаң азырақ.
(In the dark of the night the mountain fell asleep,
Going to sleep.
The steppe is silent
The night is drooping.
On a dust-free road,
An immovable leaf.
You are calm
Be less patient.)
Like this. Apparently, this is the answer to the question - poetry is translated or not. When Alexander Anikst writes that Goethe's eight lines «contained the whole of nature, the whole world», apparently, this is also the answer to the question - can poetry convey life as it is. Here the answer is given to such a question - what is the Kazakh language. To a certain extent, even to such a question - what kind of people are the Kazakhs and what they are capable of.
«Қараңғы түнде тау қалғып» is a standard of artistry, imagery, melody, accuracy in translation. Thanks to the Abai’s genius, Lermontov's «mountain peaks», having simply descended to the «mountains» (approximately to the Chinggis mountains, which do not have transcendental peaks), «valleys», having turned into wide «steppes» (like, say, Karaulsky), Goethe's picture easily moved to Kazakh land. Comparing the three options at the same time, Medeubai Kurmanov does not hide his admiration: «The night that makes the steppe not only absolutely quiet, but also indifferently exhausted, happens only in these wide open spaces, only on the Kazakh land».
Comparing the Abai’s version with Lermontov's line by line, one cannot help but be surprised at the correspondence not only of the pictures, but also of almost every word. But in this very quiet gloom, Abai still has more dynamics. They say that Goethe has three verbs. Lermontov also has a three – «sleeping», «dusty», «trembling». Abai has eight of them - along with full and incomplete forms: қалғып (“dozing” or “dozing off”), балбырап («languished»), ұйқыға кетер («to fall asleep» or «to be enveloped in sleep»), дел-сал ғып ( «To be exhausted» or «to relax»), түн басады («night will come»), салбырап («droop»), шаң шығармас («does not dust»), сыбдырламас («does not rustle»).
If there are 25 words in total, and 8 of them are verbs of different forms, then how can this poem be filled from beginning to end with movement, dynamics? Can not. The verbs that emerged from the magic pen of Abai bring nature into a fabulously drowsy state, into an even more pleasant languor, and a person in the arms of this wondrous nature – into a state of true pleasure.
The last two words «тыншығарсың» («you find peace») and «сабыр қылсаң» («if you show patience») in the final two lines are also striking. Both Goethe and Lermontov's resume rests on rest, peace. «To Lermontov's picture of nature, night, silence, Abai adds a spatial-volumetric, temporal-dynamic perspective. Silence, expanding the space with the soundless howl of a dull melody, gradually calming down, rose to its highest point - the point of complete silence, where all sounds and movements found exceptional peace - conducting such a wonderful analysis, Tursunzhan Shapay continues further, - so, Abai says - «тыншығарсың»... A two-dimensional, ambiguous stream of content, moving smoothly, calmly, increasing the power and depth of the channel, merged precisely in this word into the endless and bottomless ocean of thought».
Articles about the translation skills of Abai, written in Russian, a reverse interlinear translation is usually given, including the last two lines: «Perhaps you will rest, if you endure a little». Of course, in this way we will never show the greatness of Abai. Above we tried to prove that «тыншығу» is far from «rest» («демалыс»), and «сабыр қылу» does not quite mean simply «be patient». The synonymous series of the word «сабыр» includes concepts such as «patience», «endurance», «strength», «restraint».
The poems translated from Lermontov are the largest part of the work of Abai the translator. Among them are such masterpieces as «Borodino», «Jewish Melody», «From Goethe», «Don't Believe Yourself», «Duma», «Dagger», «Prayer», «Gifts of the Terek», «I go out on the road alone», «Demon» (excerpt), which speaks of the high taste of Abai-reader.
«Abai treated Lermontov's poetry with special trepidation, - wrote academician Zaki Akhmetov. - He was especially close to the Russian poet, in a spiritual relationship with him. It would not be an exaggeration to say that, imbued with sympathy for Russian poetry, Abai found the greatest spiritual consonance in Lermontov. By that time, Abai was already at the level of a comprehensive understanding of the intellectual world, needs, and the fate of not only the great poet, but the entire Russian society. Therefore, he perfectly understood the poetry of these people. I felt perfectly well that Lermontov's indignation, sadness and anger expressed indignation, anger and grief of the Russian people, the exploited society. When he wrote «I am a mystery to you, me and my path. He fought against thousands - don't blame me! », He probably meant the state of mind of Lermontov. Abai called him «a poet of special indignation, a poet whose love is poisoned by anger».
In fact, the opinion that a translator usually takes on the works of those authors who are close to him in spirit, in sound, is more suitable for the past centuries, including the era of Abai, than for modern professional literature. Apparently, Abai viewed Lermontov's works as a reflection of his own nature.
Қол жазуды ермек ет,
Бұл көңілсіз дүниеден көп жыл
Өзі қысқа, өзі асау тентек өмір,
Арттағыға бір белгі қойса
Кім біледі, кез болса, арттағылар,
Ойға салып оқыр да, сөзін сынар.
Көзін салып, ойланып кейбір сөзін,
«Рас-ау», – деп, мағынасын ол
Кім білер, жабырқаңқы жазған
Жібермей кеп, тоқтатар оның
Жолаушы жол үстінде тамаша
Сықылды өлген жанның бір
Don't sleep for free,
It's been a long, long time
He is short, he is a fool,
If you put a mark on the back
Who knows, if any, the backward,
Read thoughtfully and test your words.
Close your eyes and think of some words,
"True," he said
Who knows, he wrote sadly
Don't let him stop you
The passenger is great on the road
One of the dead souls squeezed
Of course, these are the words of Abai himself. Let the text be Lermontov, but the poem is Abai. Because in it Lermontov speaks like Abai. At the same time, in places such as, say: «Жолға шықтым бір жым-жырт түнде жалғыз,/Тасты жол жарқырайды буға амалсыз./Елсіз жер тұрғандай боп хаққа мүлгіп,/Сөйлесіп, ымдасқандай көкте жұлдыз» (I come out to the path, alone, / Night and wildness are referred to God, / Through the mist, the road gleams with stone, / Stars are speaking in the shinning lot.) or «Асау той, тентек жиын, опыр-топыр,/Ішінде түсі суық бір жан отыр./Алысты тұманданған ол ойлайды,/Өзге жұрт ойды нетсін өңкей соқыр» (At a riotous feast he sat pensively / Alone, abandoned by crazy friends / And into the future, closed before us, / The spiritual gaze looked at him.) Abai acts as a pure translator.
Нет! – я не требую вниманья
На грустный бред души моей,
Не открывать свои желанья
Привыкнул я с давнишних дней.
Сал демеймін сөзіме
Қайғылы өлең еттім өз
Көкірегім, бар сырым өз әлінше,
Көрінгенге көрсетпей, көп
(Not! - I do not demand attention
To the sad delirium of my soul,
Do not reveal your desires
I got used to it from the old days.)
We have not particularly solved the problem of imitation. Literary critics rightly note that sometimes freely translated poems, in which there are many places different from the original, it would be more correct to consider as imitation, and not as a translator in the full sense of the word.
Әм жабықтым, әм жалықтым,
Сүйеу болар қай жігіт
Көңілден кеткен соң тыным!
Әм сүйіндім, әм түңілдім,
Үнемі не еткен үміт?
Өткен соң бар жақсы жылым!
(And bored and sad and there is no one to give a hand to
In the minute of heart's misery
Desire!... That profit is in vain and desiring has been forever
But the years pass - all the best years!)
At first glance, it seems that this is a free translation. «And bored and sad and there is no one to give a hand to»- «Әм жабықтым, әм жалықтым, /Сүйеу болар қай жігіт», «Desire!... That profit is in vain and desiring has been forever / But the years pass - all the good years! » / !» – «Үнемі не еткен үміт?/Өткен соң бар жақсы жылым!» - these places tend to be a more pure translation. However, these verses in the books of Abai do not relate to translation, you will not find them in the section «Translations of Abai» in Lermontov's collections. Because they are, in reality, Abai's own poems. Lermontov's originally served as the impetus for their writing. Abai picked up this motive and sang it in his own way, expressed his sadness. Along with this, such strata in the work of the great poet cannot be completely connected with the influence of translation.
The poet's amazing talent is also manifested in his ability to mix a variety of motives in Lermontov's works and to choose, like pearls, the most necessary artistic images for himself.
At one time, more than one generation of writers admired the translation of the poem «Gifts of the Terek», which began like this: «Асау Терек долданып, буырқанып, / Тауды бұзып, жол салған, тасты жарып. / Арыстанның жалындай бұйра толқын, /Айдаһардай бүктеліп, жүз толғанып» («Through the rocks in wildest courses / Seethes the Terek grim of mood, / Tempest howling its bewailing, / Pearled with foam its tearful flood»).
But it is well known that this comparison is taken from Lermontov himself: in the poem «The Demon» there is such a stanza: «And Terek, like a lion flinging / They are frothing with its shaggy mane / Now roared – and beast and eagle winging / In azure height above the chain / Were listening as the water babbled». Moreover, Abai drew attention to Lermontov's oversight - a lioness does not have a mane…
Taken Alimkulov gives such a «curious and funny example» associated with the translation work of Abai: «Above it was said about Abai's accurate, successful translation of the introduction of Lermontov's poem «Izmail-Bey». The Georgians perceived this version as an independent work and translated it into their own language, then the Russian version was implemented from Georgian. Thus, the Lermontov stanzas in Russian have their twins». This example is another proof that any poem in the hands of Abai came into harmony with the new language, became his own, native.
So, for example, who would have thought that the following lines could be a translation of a poem by a Russian poet: «Көңілдің күйі тағы да / Өмірсіз жанның алды ішін. / Аударды өлең жағына / Нәпсінің сынған қайғысын» from Lermontov?.. But they are - an exact translation of the introduction of Lermontov's poem: «Again the inspiration appeared / My lifeless soul: / And turns it into a song / Longing, the ruins of passions».
And in general, it seems to us that Lermontov was nevertheless closer to Abai than Pushkin. It seems that he found the needs of his soul more with Lermontov. This can also be seen in the way Abai transposed most of Lermontov's poems in the form of a clean translation, and when he dealt with Pushkin, he allowed more liberties, allowed himself to interpret the details in his own way, to change the characters and moral traits of the characters in his own way. In other words, if Abai speaks with Pushkin in competition, then with Lermontov - in agreement.
Abai began to translate with Lermontov and graduated with Lermontov. It is no coincidence that a new frontier in Abai's work begins in the 80s (the first translation from Lermontov was made in 1882). For such qualities as artistic concreteness, figurative accuracy, Kazakh poetry is also indebted to Abai's translations.
The poet created an excellent example of translation of prose in verse – «Vadim» by Lermontov. When it comes to this topic, the variants created by Shakarim are often recalled. It is right. But we must first of all consider the origins of these options. And here the herald of everything new Abai serves as an example for us. Yes, he demonstrated a unique example of an accurate and artistic, adequate translation of Russian classical poetry, but what prompted him to do poetic translations of prose works?
In our opinion, the point is not only that at that time Kazakh prose was not yet fully formed, that the steppe population was more of a listening audience than a reading audience. Therefore, embarking on Lermontov's novel «Vadim», in which, in accordance with the prosaic trend, the main attention is paid to the plot, imagery, artistry, Abai again chooses the poetic path. Unfortunately, this translation has not reached us in full; it is quite possible that it was not completed. In his free translations, Abai plays many passages with the power of his genius, intuition and feelings, but his acquaintance with the Kazakh version of «Vadim», in comparison with the original, amazes how deeply the poet understood the essence of the text.
Here are some examples. As you know, the novel begins like this: «The day was fading away; purple clouds, stretching into the west, barely let through the red rays, which were reflected on the tiles of the towers». And here is how it is rendered in Kazakh:
Батар күнге шымылдық –
көк бұлт кең,
Толқынды қызыл торғын
Өткен дәурен секілді нұры
Арттағы мұнараға береді рең.
(Curtain for sunset-
Blue clouds wide,
Wavy red sparrow
Equal to fire.
Light like the past
Gives shade to the rear tower.)
Here the third line seems to be superfluous, Lermontov does not have it, but how it complements, beautifully reveals the inner essence of the poetic picture of the original!
Looking for a specific accuracy? The sentence "Imagine a man of about 50, tall, still healthy, but with grey hair" in verse form takes the following form:
Елуге келген, шашы бурыл
Көзінің түсі оңып, нұры
(Fifty, turn a hair
The colour of the eyes is bright and radiant
Let's return to «Қараңғы түнде тау қалғып». We see that here Abai, even with an accurate translation, not only created a picture of the night in the steppe, but also strengthened the concluding part of the poem. Abay, saying «тыншығу», which neither Goethe nor Lermontov has, with this word replaces the concepts of «rest, temporary peace, tranquility» and hints that natural spells have magical power that brings a person into the blissful state of nirvana.
How did Abai manage it? The amazing property of translation is manifested in the following. Human thought is not a category straight, like the flight of a bullet, or flat, like a board. Transferred to paper, it does not reveal its entire essence, and it cannot. The works that have entered the circulation of world literature, in the course of numerous translations into different languages, can each time reveal new backgrounds, subtexts contained in the deep layers of the original text.
It is quite possible that one and the same thought, clothed in one form in the original language, will play more successfully when clothed in another form of another language. Even if this does not happen, then with each translation the repeated assumption itself helps to solve the riddles hidden in the essence of the work itself, to reveal its artistic ornaments in a new way.
Through reading, comparison, research of translations, we look at the properties of the original with a new, special look, evaluate them in a new way, discover fresh facets, previously unknown colors of the original. Repeatedly referring to the text, we are more curious than when reading the original. This idea can be illustrated when analyzing Abai's translations of Krylov's fables, which we will do in the final part of the series of articles.
CONGENIALITY 3. THE STANDARD OF EXCELLENCE
Translation gave a lot to Kazakh literature. One of the directions in this case is the birth of new genres. Let's take, for example, the genre of fable, where Abai's genius as a translator was also clearly manifested.
It can be argued that before the appearance of translated samples, fable as a separate literary genre was alien to the Kazakhs. In one of his letters to Nikolai Ilminsky, Ibrai Altynsarin introduces him to the plan for creating an initial textbook for Kazakh children and shares his thoughts: «I want to write the first book by analogy with the procedure for compiling Paulson's book. Of course, I will write this, adapting it to Kazakh children. I don't want to include fables in it, because Kazakhs who grew up in harsh living conditions need interesting, meaningful stories. I know that Kazakh children do not want to read fables, if they do, they laugh at them, and their parents are completely offended that, they say, they teach their children such nonsense, as if a magpie and a crow are talking among themselves».
What's the matter here? How did it happen that for some 10-15 years Kazakhs came to like a genre that had not appeared in literature for centuries, and we perceived some examples of this genre on our native soil as a call to change life? The main reason here lies, of course, in the fact that our very national way of thinking is from the very beginning adapted to allegory. In general, the essence of the fable is an allegory, a hint, with their help the main instructive thought, that is, morality, is expressed. We say: «The moral of this fable ...»
A very first famous fabulist Aesop, presumably living in the 6th-5th centuries BC, was a slave who, due to his social status, could not freely express his thoughts. He is the creator of the language of allegories - the Aesopian language. In the most terrible periods of history, mankind could express thoughts, views with the help of fictitious plots from the life of animals. Actually, the genre of fable arose thanks to censorship. Any prohibition cannot but serve as an impetus for artistic searches. In this regard, it must be said that now, in the era of permissiveness, artistic methods and techniques have noticeably triumphed in our literature. Previously, a great skill was required from the author in order to express with hidden meaning what he wanted to say at any cost.
And then it should not be argued that in our verbal art a fable arose suddenly, out of the blue. In Kazakh fairy tales about animals and beasts, you can find a lot of signs inherent in the nature of the fable. On the whole, anthropoformism is especially close to people whose life depended directly on nature. In addition, it is well known that in such long-standing and widespread among Kazakhs works as «Kalila and Dimna», «A Thousand and One Nights», «Ninety chapters of Toty» and so on, many places contain moments presented in the form of a fable ... Of course, they are also absorbed into our spirit thanks to translations. But all that has been said does not contradict our opinion that the fable as a genre has taken root in Kazakh literature precisely thanks to translation. By the way, before Krylov, the fable was not widespread in Russian literature either. The fables of Kantemir, Trediakovsky, Sumarokov, Dmitriev have long been forgotten, now they are known, perhaps, only to literary scholars.
The next reason is that such real masters of the pen as Ibrai Altynsarin, Abai Kunanbaev, Akhmet Baitursynov began to strengthen the genre of fable in literature. The translation of Krylov's fables was one of the important milestones in the development of not only Kazakh translation art, but in general of all native literature.
Belinsky believed that perfect translations are much less common than irreproachable original works. He also spoke about the fact that because of the overly juicy national colors «Krylov's fables cannot be translated into any foreign language». Abai, it seems, has refuted this categorical nature of the great critic. Undoubtedly, in translations of the fable genre, the Abaevian summit remains unattainable. Abai's translations from Krylov are truly the peak of skill, an instructive exemplary example. «Abai’s words and thoughts are exactly reflected in Krylov's words and thoughts», wrote the famous translator Saidil Talzhanov.
Take «The Crow and the Fox». The story of this fable is very interesting and instructive. It is well known that Krylov used the work of the great Frenchman Jean de La Fontaine for his fable, and he, in turn, borrowed this plot from Aesop. But, probably, not everyone knows that Aesop's God sent Crow a piece of ... meat. «The raven took away a piece of meat and sat down on a tree. The fox saw, and she wanted to get this meat. She stood in front of the Raven and began to praise him» - this is how Aesop's fable begins. La Fontaine remade it in a French manner, replacing meat with a national delicacy - cheese. There is an explanation for this: in La Fontaine, the Fox refers to the Crow as to a nobleman who, accordingly, is not hungry, and he only needs cheese as a dessert. Abai, most likely, did not know that Aesop gets the Crow's meat, and if he knew, it seems to us that he would not change Krylov's decision. Because at that time there was no shortage of meat in the steppe…
La Fontaine transforms Aesop's teachings into a story in which an old fable is freshly presented. In Krylov's fable, Fox calls the Crow «sister», there is a hint of the Russian habit of gaining confidence using family or personal ties. In Abai, the Fox says to Vorona «қарағым» - «cute», there is a hint of the Kazakh habit of affectionately addressing the interlocutor before making any request…
Even Krylov's contemporaries did not in any way see French reminiscences in his fables, not to mention the ancient Greek roots of the work. Such is the strength and power of the talent of the great Russian fabulist. His fables are perfect. He boldly introduced folk speech into poetry. The lively, musical language, subtle humor, beauty of form amazes. Abai has all this.
Ну что за шейка, что за глазки,
Рассказывать – так, право,
Какие перышки! Какой носок!
И, верно, ангельский быть
(Your eyes are soft with love and pity,
I humbly bow to one so pretty.
Ne'er have I seen such feathers, such a beak!
Oh, queen of all the birds ! But let me hear you speak.)
Abay reports as follows:
Неткен мойын, неткен көз,
Осыдан артық дейсің бе
Ертегі қылып айтқан сөз.
Қалайша біткен япырмай,
Мұрныңыз бен жүніңіз!
Деп ойлаймын үніңіз...
(What a neck, what eyes,
Would you say more than that?
A fairy tale.
How do you do that?
Your nose and hair!
Like the voice of an angel
I think your voice ...)
It is impossible not to admire, not to admire how masterfully preserved the irony, the mocking motive of the original. Reading the final lines of the fable, it seems that even those who do not speak Kazakh can appreciate the accuracy, perfection of the translator's style: «Өзіне біткен өңешін Аямастан қарқ етті, Ірімшік жерге салп етті, Іс бітті, қу кетті» (She opened wide her mouth for harsh discordant croaking.
And the fox gained the cheese his cunning skill had earned). The last line has long become catchwords. So now they say when a business partner «throws» a friend ... The final phrase from the fable «Қарға мен бүркіт» (Eagle and Hens) «Азат басың болсын құл, Қолдан келмес іске ұмтыл!» (Instead, an'expert discovers / Their gifts and powers / And after that decides / About their different heights.) Abaev's lines are so foldable, to such an extent in the Kazakh spirit, that today we consider them to be a poet's aphorism, and yet they are a polished, striking arrangement of Krylov's lines «Often people have the same thing / If a small rascal/imitates a Big rascal».
The format of the newspaper article does not allow us to thoroughly analyze the translations of the fables «Емен мен шілік» («Oak and cane»), «Қазаға ұрынған қара шекпен» («A peasant in trouble»), «Жарлы бай» («Poor rich man»), «Есек пен Бұлбұл» («Donkey and Nightingale»), «Қарға мен бүркіт» («Voronenok»), «Ала қойлар» («Motley sheep»), «Бақа мен Өгіз» («Frog and Vol»), «Піл мен Қанден» («The Elephant and the Pug»). If, nevertheless, it is necessary to single out one of Abai's fables as a special model, a standard of translation skill, then we would call it «Шегіртке мен Құмырсқа» - “Dragonfly and Ant”.
Krylov also took this plot from La Fontaine. This is the prosaic translation of his fable, revised, accordingly, also from Aesop.
«The dragonfly sang / All summer / And turned out to be a beggar, / When the cold winds blew. / She didn't have / Not a piece of a fly or a worm. / Then she went to her neighbor Ant / And began to complain of hunger, / Asking him for a handful of grains, / To hold out / Until a new spring ./ «And after a new harvest», she said, / «I will pay you both debt and interest, / I give you my word of honor, Dragonflies». / But the Ant does not like to be a benefactor, / And this is the least of his shortcomings ./ «What did you do in the warm season?» - / He says to the petitioner. / «Day and night to any passer-by / I sang, - do not be angry!» / «Did you sing? Perfectly! So now dance!»
Everyone knows the Krylov variant. Many people know it by heart.
A playful prankish Dragonfly
The whole Summer have sung out
Finally, she looked about;
Winter 's already coming by.
Like deceased the forest stays.
Where are you, those happy days,
When for her, under each tree,
Was a home with tart and tea?
The evil Winter took all it,
Leaving only some cold and need.
Dragonfly sings no more,
As she used to do before.
And who would, in the times that sore?
To escape th' untimely end,
She is creeping to an Ant
With the bitter her lament.
«Oh», she said, «My gentle friend,
I do beg you, be so dear,
Do not leave me to die here,
Give some shelter, food, and drink
Till the Spring».
«Did you work at all in Summer?»
Asked the Ant with a slight stammer,
«Such a speech is strange to hear».
Dragonfly said, «Alas, my dear,
No I didn't. Listen, I'm...
Just I hadn't any time.
Whole Summer we were playing `and
Singing». «Well», answers the Ant,
«Did you sing?
This is the thing!
Now, you'll have your chance
And here is what Abai's translation looks like:
Ыршып жүріп ән салған.
Көгалды қуып гөлайттап, –
Қызықпен жүріп жазды алған.
Жаздыгүні жапырақтың –
Бірінде тамақ, бірінде үй,
Күз болған соң кетті күй.
Жылы жаз жоқ, тамақ жоқ,
Өкінгеннен не пайда?
Суыққа тоңған, қарны ашқан
Ойын қайда, ән қайда?
Қар көрінді, қыс болды.
Сауықшыл сорлы бүкшиді,
Тым-ақ қиын іс болды.
Секіру қайда, сүрініп,
Қабағын қайғы жабады.
Саламда жатып дән жиған
Құмырысқаны іздеп табады.
Селкілдеп келіп жығылды,
Аяғына бас ұра:
– Қарағым, жылыт, тамақ бер,
Жаз шыққанша асыра!
– Мұның, жаным, сөз емес,
Жаз өтерін білмеп пе ең?
Жаның үшін еш шаруа
Ала жаздай қылмап па ең?
– Мен өзіңдей шаруашыл,
Жұмсақ илеу үйлі ме?
Көгалды қуып, ән салып,
Өлеңнен қолым тиді ме?
– Қайтсін, қолы тимепті,
Өлеңші, әнші есіл ер!
Ала жаздай ән салсаң,
Селкілде де, билей бер!
(The buzzing locust
He sang while singing.
Chasing the lawn, -
He wrote with great interest.
Leaves in summer -
One food, one house,
It's gone after the fall.
No warm summer, no food,
What are the benefits of repentance?
He was cold and hungry
Where is the game, where is the song?
Did not live with him,
It was snowing, it was winter.
Healing sad bow,
It was too difficult.
Where to jump, stumble,
Grief covers the eyelids.
He gathered grain while lying on the ground
Finds an ant.
He shook and fell,
Head to the end:
- Look, heat, feed,
Exaggerate until summer!
- It's not a word, my dear,
Didn't you know that summer is over?
Nothing for your soul
Isn't it summer?
- I am a farmer like you,
Is there a soft kneading house?
Chasing the lawn, singing,
Did I miss the song?
- Come on, don't touch,
Singer, singer, great man!
If you sing like a spring,
Shake and dance!)
Already at first glance you can see - a wonderful example of a wonderful translation. The sound of the verse is striking, everything flows, the rhythm, rhyme, intonation, musicality of speech are impeccable: «шырылдауық шегіртке», «жапырақ кетті, жаз кетті», «жылы жаз жоқ, тамақ жоқ»... How humorous Russianism is appropriate here «гөлайттап»! The finale is generally incomparable: "Did you sing? / This is the thing! / Now, you'll have your chance / To dance». - «Қайтсін, қолы тимепті, Өлеңші, әнші есіл ер! Ала жаздай ән салсаң, Селкілде де, билей бер!» «Well, there was no time, singer, kind soul! If the whole summer sang, So dance, shaking all over!» - something like this, perhaps, you can make a reverse translation. In winter, after all, they dance only in this way, shuddering all over, being seized with shivers, chills, all shaking from the cold. This effect is produced by a single appropriately added word «селкілде» - «shake, tremble». This is skill.
It would seem that «Шегіртке мен Құмырсқа» can be viewed as a rhymed version of La Fontaine's prose fable, but the skill of Krylov, who created a new, original creation in his own language, does not give anyone a reason to draw such a primitive conclusion. Having given the fable of Aesop - La Fontaine a purely national flavor, Krylov turned it into a Russian poem. La Fontaine's fable is called «The Cicada and the Ant». Cicada is a Mediterranean insect. Before reaching the shores of the Black Sea, that is, until the 19th century, Russians almost did not know the cicada, and this «foreigner» could not be the heroine of a Russian fable. And Krylov chose a dragonfly.
But ... There is one «but» here. Let's listen to Lev Uspensky, who wrote in his book «Word about Words»: «Dragonflies are insects that fall into the grass only due to some unfortunate accident, they are flying and airy, and besides, they are completely voiceless, dumb beauties. It is clear that, having written «dragonfly», Krylov was thinking about the distant relative of the southern cicada, about our grasshopper chirping». And then why didn't Krylov take the grasshopper? Because «grasshopper» is a masculine word, in which case the fable would consist of a conversation between two men - a grasshopper and an ant. No, he needed a conversation between the neighbours.
What does Abai do in this case? After all, he knows that «dragonfly» is «инелік», and he does not differ in outstanding vocal abilities, and even if he had a voice, he would not be able to sing the whole summer - the root of the word «инелік» is «ине» («needle»), an adjective «инеліктей» means «thin», «skinny». There is even an expression used for thin people, «инеліктей ілмиіп». But a grasshopper, a cricket, that is, a «шегіртке», in which the sound apparatus is located on the elytra, which serve as a resonator when chirping, can sing as much and quite loudly. And Abai, «correcting» Krylov, changing the «dragonfly» to «grasshopper», gets his way. Fortunately, the Kazakh language is not constrained by a generic framework.
In general, Abai made a loud-voiced Grasshopper out of a skinny, voiceless Dragonfly Krylov, and made the insect sing all summer fables, moved events from the forest to the steppe («көгал» - a lawn), he forced the Grasshopper to carelessly enjoy these expanses, thereby eventually creating a real Kazakh fable. When we talk about the evolutionary path in translations of Krylov's fables, we first of all mean their non-nativeness for the Kazakh ear, intelligibility, transmission in a figurative and juicy language, then - adaptation to steppe life.
The fable left a special mark on our national consciousness. At the beginning of the last century, it was a tradition to refer to the images and comparisons contained in Krylov's fables. Sultanmakhmutov's fable «Қисынсызға қышқырған неткен тантық» («Oh, and this is not why this empty talk is screaming») is a reminiscence from Abai, and the phrase «Крыловтың баснядағы есегіндей» («Like a Donkey from a Krylov fable») – is a direct link.
It should be noted that the translations of Ibrai and Abai also influenced the literature of neighbouring fraternal peoples. The Kyrgyz writer Kurmanbek Abdykerimov explains the consonance of the fables of Togolok Moldo and Krylov in the following way: «Togolok Moldo was one of the few literate people of his time, a man with advanced, progressive views. Eyewitnesses, contemporaries of the akyn claimed and assert that he could fluently read books published in Turkic languages. In his years, the famous enlighteners of the Kazakh people Ibrai Altynsarin, Abai Kunanbaev, a prominent akyn of the Tatar people Abdulla Tukai were very popular. They knew Russian and translated into Kazakh and Tatar languages those fables of Krylov, which by chance or by coincidence fell into their hands ... Togolok Moldo knew Kazakh and Tatar languages well. Naturally, he read translations of fables or heard about them. " And, presumably, this acquaintance took place not through the Tatars, who lived at the foot of the distant Ural mountains, but through the close, neighbouring Kazakhs.
Speaking about the knowledge of the language, let's say once again about the well-known, but most amazing fact: these wonderful translations of the best examples of classical literature were made by a person who studied Russian at a parish school at the age of 13 for ... three months! He achieved excellent command of the language through self-education.
At the beginning of our conversation about the genre of fable, we emphasized that one of the most important merits of translation for native literature is the birth of new genres. Instructive translations from the pen of such authors as Ibrai Altynsarin, Abay Kunanbaev, Akhmet Baitursynov, Spandiyar Kubeev, Beket Utetileuov, over time, had a positive impact on the process of writing their own Kazakh fables. Our literary scholars have written enough about the fables of Sultanmakhmut Toraigyrov, Sabit Donentaev, Mashhur-Zhusup Kopeev, Omar Shorayakuly, Turmagambet, Mulla Musa, for which Abai's fables served as a model.
Yes, Abai's fables. We do not consider La Fontaine to be Aesop's translator, and Krylov to La Fontaine's translator, although in their fables everything or almost everything coincides with the originals. And we do it right. Because both Lafontaine and Krylov adapted other people's stories to the French, Russian mentality, their fables became an expression, the personification of national traits. So it is with Abai. Indeed, if the Krylov fable is not considered a translation from La Fontaine, then why should the Abai’s fable be considered a translation from Krylov? Consequently, we can quite put such excellent samples on a par with Abai's own works.
We are indebted to the fable. It was through the fable that the written literature of our people first came into contact with the best examples of world verbal art. At one time, Mukhtar Auezov compared the power of a fable with a powerful verbal spring capable of waking up the people, renewing their soul, tempering the will, stirring up consciousness. And we need such a word at all times. Especially now.
For example, returning to the fable «Шегіртке мен Құмырсқа», we see the relevance of this creation. Is it not in schools (including in the program of the new course «Abai Studies») that we cannot understandably, in a fascinating manner, with the help of humour, sarcasm, satire, based on the great talent of Abai, who managed to convey all the colours of Krylov's lovely fables? To explain that the lazy idleness of the Dragonfly is a disastrous path, that only the humble diligence of the Ant can lead to a decent life, happiness, prosperity? We can. Must.
«The theme of the fight against dependency runs through all Abai's work as a common thread. The poet urged to abandon carefree carelessness, unrestrained fun, but being sensitive and vigilant, to improve through constant work. He said that the right actions help to defeat gloomy thoughts, penetrated deeply into the psychological aspects of the fight against dependency. Back in those days, Abai paid attention to emotional intelligence, which we began to talk about only recently. He called for abandoning the psychology of boasting and dependency, promoting hard work and the desire for knowledge» (Kassym-Jomart Tokayev).
Abai's work is a phenomenal phenomenon that goes far beyond the framework of literature and culture. Sometimes you involuntarily come to the idea that for us he is not only and not just a poet, philosopher, translator and composer, but a much larger and most close person, like, say, a relative, an older brother, grandfather, but in any case, very close, dear person. It's not for nothing that we say «Abai ata».
Therefore, it is quite natural for us to often think that we have met this person more than once, talked and shared opinions, repeatedly listened to his advice, and sometimes, due to misunderstanding or busyness, did not listen... In a word, you go to him in both joy and sorrow. He is next to you both in moments of sweet love or the birth of a child, and in difficult moments of life's trials or the blow of fate.
A great respect of our people for their beloved poet is also expressed in the fact that when it is required to prove a fact, the universal phrase «Абай айтқандай» is certainly used – «as Abai said». Abai is a wise mentor of the nation, the spiritual father of the people. We dream that every Kazakh would pick up a volume of Abai and re-read his poems from time to time, internally holding a kind of report in front of him: «How do I live in this world? Do I adhere to Abai's advice, did I draw conclusions from his criticism, do I strive for the heights that the great poet pointed out, and in general, what did I do to correspond to the destiny of man on earth?»
One of the signs of a person's genius (commander, activist, artist, scientist, etc.) is that he does not feel inferior to others, does not bow before any authority. One often gets the impression that Abai, examining this or that work, seems to say to himself: «Yes, he wrote this way... But let me, now I'll try». In almost every translated work, one can trace that Abai seems to be competing with the author of the original, competing with him. In this we see Abai's congeniality with the great artists of the word, to whose creations he turned, with the brightest talents, close, similar to him in spirit, way of thinking.
While rereading the verses, «Words of Edification» by Abai, we should not forget about his wonderful translations, that are a vivid evidence of the true greatness of the Kazakh poet.
deputy of the Mazhilis, member of the State Commission for the preparation and holding of the 175th anniversary of Abai Qunanbayuly.
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