Scholarly article on topic 'Translations of Joseph Brodsky's Poem “May 24, 1980” into English and Latvian: Cross-linguistic, Cross-cultural and Interpretative Components of Text Analysis'

Translations of Joseph Brodsky's Poem “May 24, 1980” into English and Latvian: Cross-linguistic, Cross-cultural and Interpretative Components of Text Analysis Academic research paper on "Languages and literature"

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Abstract of research paper on Languages and literature, author of scientific article — Jānis Veckrācis

Abstract The paper is aimed at presenting an insight into a specific poetry translation model for poetry translation assessment and, in a broader context, for a poetry translation theory for a practical analysis of the English and Latvian translations of the poem “May 24, 1980” written by Joseph Brodsky. The theoretical setting of this model is briefly explained and nine theoretical principles of poetry translation are presented. The paper shows that the cross-linguistic, cross-cultural and interpretative components form an indispensable unity; the proposed principles are both theoretically relevant and applicable in poetry translation practice.

Academic research paper on topic "Translations of Joseph Brodsky's Poem “May 24, 1980” into English and Latvian: Cross-linguistic, Cross-cultural and Interpretative Components of Text Analysis"

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Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 231 (2016) 179 - 186

International Conference; Meaning in Translation: Illusion of Precision, MTIP2016, 11-13 May

2016, Riga, Latvia

Translations of Joseph Brodsky's poem "May 24, 1980" into English and Latvian: Cross-linguistic, cross-cultural and interpretative components of text analysis

Janis Veckracis*

Ventspils University College, 101a, Inzenieru Str., Ventspils, LV—3600, Latvia


The paper is aimed at presenting an insight into a specific poetry translation model for poetry translation assessment and, in a broader context, for a poetry translation theory for a practical analysis of the English and Latvian translations of the poem "May 24, 1980" written by Joseph Brodsky. The theoretical setting of this model is briefly explained and nine theoretical principles of poetry translation are presented. The paper shows that the cross-linguistic, cross-cultural and interpretative components form an indispensable unity; the proposed principles are both theoretically relevant and applicable in poetry translation practice.

© 2016 PublishedbyElsevierLtd. Thisis anopenaccess article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.Org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Peer-review under responsibility of the organizing committee of MTIP2016

Keywords: Poetry translation; cross-linguistic component; cross-cultural component; interpretative component; Joseph Brodsky.

1. Introduction

The paper is aimed at presenting and applying a specific model for poetry translation assessment and, in a broader context, for a poetry translation theory for a practical analysis of the English and Latvian translations of the famous poem May 24, 1980 written by Joseph Brodsky, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1987. To this end, we provide a brief insight into the theoretical setting of this model. We also present a set of theoretical principles of poetry translation; these principles and the respective practical analysis form a part of our ongoing research on integrated model poetry translation practice and analysis.

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +31729507568.

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1877-0428 © 2016 Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (

Peer-review under responsibility of the organizing committee of MTIP2016 doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2016.09.089

2. Towards an integrated poetry translation model

2.1. Insight into the theoretical setting of an integrated model for poetry translation

The historical record of the development of linguistic theories applicable to poetry translation is a history of recognizing a poetic text in its full linguistic and extra-linguistic integrity as the minimum unit for a comprehensive and integrated analysis, and of contextualization of poetic texts in their 'intralingual' or 'interlingual' analysis and identifying the communicative and aesthetic components as essential functional elements of these texts. In this respect, among many others, we put a particular emphasis on the contributions of James Holmes (cf. Holmes, 2005 [1988]) as well as Albrecht Neubert's Text and Translation (cf. Neubert, 1985) where Neubert focuses on text and translation studies in the context of a functional and communicative approach.

A model that links the textual world with the modern translation approaches and is relevant for the advancement of poetry translation theory is developed by Mohamed Abdel-Maguid Barghout (cf. Barghout, 1990). Though presented for the purpose of translation quality assessment, it contributes considerably to the purpose and consists of three main approaches: (1) the language-oriented approach; (2) the cross-cultural approach; and (3) the interpretative approach. While the language-oriented approach is essentially a cross-lexical and cross-syntactic contrastive analysis of the source text (ST) and the target text (TT), the other two components are more recent and represent a complex set of elements.

It is also relevant to adhere to the fact that the development of a translation theory towards functional aspects, which introduce text's communication and the reader as key players, has been the main contribution to a new understanding of the mentioned-above elements. Poetry translation is not about author's voice itself as seen in isolation in its representation in the ST but about making his voice sound in the TT context as the only way towards text's integration into the target culture. This approach is based on poetry as art - authorship is certainly to be preserved but the product should naturally fit into the target language, culture and poetic paradigm. Meanwhile, regarding perception of the translated text by the reader, a feeling of translation or, more precisely, awareness of the original context may also be a natural element as regarding the specific example of Brodsky's self-translations.

The model developed by Barghout is another step towards developing the poetry translation theory into a truly translation-oriented approach for which text and its communicative functionality stand in the very center of work. Therefore, any applicable literary translation theory cannot be placed either in the framework of a strictly linguistic approach or in a literary science setting. In the context of poetry and poetry translation as cultural and linguistic phenomena, language as a natural source of poetics and poetry as a natural embodiment of language mean essential conclusions regarding acceptable compromises and losses as any replacement, according to an absolutist approach, can only be acceptable (or natural) within the same system; otherwise, naturalness (or acceptability) is violated and even impossible. It is at this level that no poetry translation without a loss is possible; that is, absolute equivalence in poetry translation is not quite a possibility. We, instead, propose that the concept of 'naturalness' in poetry translation should be considered by linking it with the process of ST processing and the respective restructuring in the TT- lexical (including idioms), syntactic, prosodic.

The previous paragraph highlights the text-typology aspect. Poetic texts integrate mental, psychophysical, cultural and social phenomena, the specific features of poetic texts; thus, the model of the macrostructure of poetic texts described by Yuri Kazarin (cf. Казарин, 1999) are of particular importance in our study.

Significantly, the interpretative approach leads to the necessity to pay special attention to specific aspects of text's world. For instance, Jorge J.E. Gracia examines the role of context in the formation of textuality (cf. Gracia, 1995). Further, textuality is also closely linked with the linguistic discourse on the surface and deep structures of a text, stylistics and decoding stylistics or receiver's stylistics, which include the reader in the text's interpretation cycle (cf. Gutt, 2009, Колшанский, 2009 [1980], Тураева, 2009). The respective key concepts include implications, presuppositions, context, subtext, and style (cf. Арнольд, 2010).

All text-formation elements and concepts describe the ways in which text's meaning and sense are formed. For the author these are the elements forming the stylistic context. For interpretation and translation purposes, they are textual elements which can be decoded to a certain extent and which, first, are necessary for full-fledged understanding of the text, and, second, serve as a basis for decision-making at the level of functional and semantic equivalence. Text's intrinsic and purposeful plurality of meanings is one of the main axis around which problems arise. Moreover, such

plurality of meanings acts not just at the level of lexical polysemy but also covers more complex textual structures. According to Arnold (Арнольд, 2010, p. 91), each text represents two opposite but interrelated processes—a tendency towards the strengthening and actualization of explicit information and a tendency towards implicit information and compression of information, contributing to greater expressiveness, emotionality and aesthetic effect.

2.2. Brodsky's approach to poetry translation and the concept of foreignness

The theoretical developments have formed a new context for the issue of integrating the TT into the target culture. Consequently, Brodsky's absolutist position regarding the extent to which the original form and context should be recreated (cf. Ishov, 2008) is questionable - the greater text's embedding in a source culture the more likely a necessity to seek a substitute which, irrespective of the method applied for translation, would manifest serious compromises either regarding translator's fidelity to the ST or to natural integration of the ST into the target setting. Brodsky's position in its practical application - his self-translations (the English translation discussed in this paper is also a self-translation) - has received severe criticism (cf. Ishov, 2008, p. 15-18). However, if the translations by Brodsky or under his supervision are looked at as the intended results of a certain approach, this changes the platform for the analysis of his translations. Brodsky's critics should "accept Brodsky in his own English" (ibid, p. 20). In an interview James Billington suggested that Brodsky's English, with all its imported foreignizing influence, was precisely a manifestation of the typically American phenomenon, which continuously helps to revive the country's poetry (Ishov, 2008, p. 20). The concept of foreignization (Venuti, 1995, p. 20), however, acquires special meaning. Poetic speech has natural and intrinsic ties with the language in which it is created. Moreover, we share the view that in absolute terms 'naturalness' of poetics is only possible within its source, culture and language. While such naturalness of the TT is impossible in view of the linguistic and cultural barriers separating the ST and the TT, we suggest that 'naturalness' should not be considered as a substitute to the odd notion of 'equivalence' and that it is worth considering a changed set of criteria within a wider perspective.

Thus the problem of defining the quality of 'English Brodsky' is a manifestation of the essential controversies and complexities of poetry translation in general. To some extent, opposition to Brodsky's translations can also be provoked by Brodsky himself, that is, by his insistent claim to make his translated poems English in their own right without sufficiently explaining the reservations and presence of the 'Russian Brodsky' he himself admits in the English texts. However, it should be noted that Brodsky's intention that the translated poems be read as originals would in no way be compromised, provided the translations are considered originals created by him as a representative of certain creative signature, style and approach and do not deny his Russian origin. It is important to note that every poetic speech act, and individual poetic authorship represents a subjective variety of a language. Moreover, concerning the foreignizing elements, Ishov makes a significant note - the foreignization came about in Brodsky because he tried to preserve across his translation those elements that, in his own eyes, reflected his uncommon poetic voice in the originals (Ishov, 2008, p. 47).

2.3. Principles for an integrated analysis of poetry translation

In view of the above points (discussed in more detail in our research, which is briefly presented in this paper) we propose the following principles for an integrated analysis of poetry translation both as process and product.

1. We propose that a practice-oriented model for poetry translation studies, which also outlines the framework for translation quality assessment, is based on three main elements - the cross-linguistic component, the cross-cultural component, and the interpretative component.

2. We propose to view poetry translation as a process and result of balancing inevitable losses and gains, and in weighting the compromises the main criterion is not formal or absolute 'equivalence' of text's units and determinants but the functional and semantic roles played by these units in the text. These roles and the importance of every unit should be analyzed and determined by moving from lower-level units to upper-level semantic sets.

3. In poetry translation which establishes a certain degree of relationship between the ST and the TT, it is recommended to consider this relationship by referring not to formal symmetry of the transferred units but to such

relations of the TT elements which preserve the intended effect (communicative function) and semantic setting of the ST.

4. We propose that preservation of the style in its aesthetic and artistic representation of the source poem as a work of art and cultural phenomenon, which also forms the main determinants of the poem as a text-type in the target poem, is subject to the following principles: (1) the above text-type elements both in the ST and in the TT represent the most essential linkage of the original and the translated poem and, consequently, their preservation is an important criterion for translation quality assessment; (2) preservation is ensured in such a way that the artistic value of the original is not compromised, for instance, in view of the epoch it represents, temporal aspect also matters with regard to aesthetic information; (3) principle of the same aesthetic and artistic effect is of particular relevance in translator's work on these elements.

5. It is recommended to analyze inherent text-type features of poetic texts, for instance, dominance of extra-linguistic content (aesthetic information, context, subtext, implications) as they considerably change the way functional and semantic elements are interrelated in the ST. In poetry translation the function and importance of source text elements at every level of linguistic units can only be determined through integrated analysis based on awareness that all of them contribute to the artistic and aesthetic effects of the ST which need to be respectively preserved in the TT.

6. We propose to view the changed functioning of text's units as an aspect which increases the potential of processing of the text's grammatical and lexical units by the translator according to the model mentioned in Point 1.

7. We propose that it is essential for the translator to master the text's reading skills by uncovering author's stylistics and decoding stylistics in order to approach the creative phase of poetry translation - encoding of the TT and integrating it into the target situation.

8. It is recommended that preservation of author's voice (which integrates linguistic theory of lexical connotations, sub-text, implications, etc., and literary science theory of text's tone and mood) remains a valid requirement by making this voice sound in the TT context instead of seeing authorship in isolation in its representation in the ST.

9. We propose to take into consideration that in poetry translation a TT is integrated into the target context differently from those texts originally created in the target culture. Therefore, translator's endeavors to 'hide' the original and avoid any degree of 'foreignness' of the target text, though certainly a general aim in literary translation, is not an absolute principle and should be weighted with the mentioned-above principles of undiminished artistic and aesthetic qualities, equal communicative effect, and preservation of author's voice. The identity of the translated text can never be the same as if it would be originally written in the TL. First, we this way disagree with Brodsky's position that in poetry translation both the form and content of the poem should always be fully preserved. Second, we see in this aspect an explanation as to why Brodsky's self-translations both influenced English poetry and partly remained 'foreign' to the English language and poetic tradition without seeing Brodsky's efforts as a failure to produce quality translations of his Russian poems.

3. Integrated analysis of the translations of poem May 24,1980 into English and Latvian

As we pass from the theoretical considerations relevant for the subject matter of this paper to an analysis of the translations of Joseph Brodsky's poem May 24, 1980 into English and Latvian, we aim at examining the applicability of the mentioned-above theoretical integrated approach and its necessity. The framework of the further contrastive analysis is designed in such a way as to expose and elaborate the primary idea of the study that no fragmented, disintegrated linguistic analysis can be adequately applied, both as a model for poetry translation practice and assessment and as a model for poetry translation theory. We begin with a lexical and syntactic analysis of translations into English and Latvian and use the results for an integrated study of the same translations to illustrate that the integrity and dynamic existence of any poetic text and its pragmatic characteristics also require a dynamic approach to the translation process and to the analysis of the translation results. The translations into English and Latvian also mark another dimension for a contrastive analysis of the study results by looking at the level and extent of similarities and differences. It should be noted that the lexical and syntactic analysis is conducted by dividing or uniting units according to their processing needs in the translation process, namely, these units specifically represent translation units actually processed (in most cases the minimum unit considered and processed is a line of a poem) and not formal lexical or syntactic units as traditionally accepted in grammatical theories. We also aim at illustrating that formal non-correspondence at the cross-linguistic and unit-by-unit level is not necessarily caused by non-correspondence of

formal linguistic means but also by translator's fidelity towards the entire representation of the text's world which would be ruined rather than preserved by a literal translation. The following analysis, taking into account the limited amount of this paper, is a brief illustration of the practical application of the model.

The poem May 24, 1980 (untitled in Russian and in Latvian; translated into English by Brodsky himself and into Latvian by Amanda Aizpuriete) is one of the best known of Brodsky's poems. He wrote it for his fortieth birthday (just a couple of days before Pushkin's birth date) and literary scientists have extensively examined Brodsky and Pushkin's resemblances, in tone, meter, rhyme scheme, etc.

3.1. Cross-linguistic component. Contrastive lexical analysis

The lexical aspect of the poem and its translation into English has been studied, for instance, by Valentina Polukhina (cf. Polukhina, 1999) and Alexandra Berlina (cf. Berlina, 2014; Berlina, 2014a). This paper only includes some of those elements of the cross-lexical analysis in their studies that require further discussion; our own insight is also provided.

1. As rightly noted by Polukhina, one of the most important characteristics of Brodsky's poetry, including this poem, is its non-discriminating vocabulary (Polukhina, 1999, p. 84-85). The vocabulary of the Latvian translation fully corresponds to this criterion (respectively, buris, cietumsargs (ST: kletka, konvoy) [camp lexis] - palama (ST: klikukha) [jargon] - blandities, rit (ST: slonyat'sya, zhrat') [colloquialism] -pateiciba, slieties, izauklet, paust (ST: blagodarnost', ozirat', vskormit', razdavat'sya) [lexis representing grand (high) style. This and other elements of the linguistic fabric of the original poem, when analyzed at the cross-linguistic level, does not provide full and complete answers as to the reasons for these choices and their relevance during translation. It is not clear why and in what way these lexical proportions are essential.

2. We consider the change in the English translation from vizhigal gvozdjom ('burnt with nail') to the neutral carved a considerable loss though it may be another example of Brodsky's efforts to balance the unity of emotive information. The Latvian translation ar naglu skrapeju is also stylistically neutral.

3. The Latvian palama ('nickname'; 'moniker') is semantically and stylistically close to the ST klikukha, even though, as rightly noted by Ilmars Slapins (Slapins, 2009), palama does not have the criminal connotation. Regarding the English translation term for the Russian srok, Berlina sees a linguistic explanation - even though the original word denotes prison sentence, in English, the word sentence would suggest a pun which Brodsky might have wanted to avoid - the poem pointedly abstains from mentioning writing (Berlina, 2014a, p. 40). However, we doubt whether this and other lexical choices (bunks and rafters instead of barracks) contribute towards ambiguity of the stanza in translation, because the surrounding words and their semantics (steel cages, carved my term, sentries, bread of exile) clearly suggest that the person is imprisoned.

4. In the Latvian translation, the original v barake ('in the barracks') changes to siena akla ('in the blind wall') due to the rhyming needs (akla - fraka) without compromising the semantic cohesion and unity of the stanza.

5. Throughout their articles Berlina (2014a) and Polukhina (1999) stress the phonetic aspect in Brodsky's lexical choices in the ST. His English translation and, even more so, the Latvian translation present a considerably compromised result as to this aspect.

6. Significantly, the important contrast achieved in the SL text by two semantic antonyms zabyt' (refers to people) andpomnit' (refers to nature) (Polukhina, 1999, p. 80) is lost in Latvian by substituting the above antonyms with the pair pameta ('abandoned') - atceras ('remember').

7. A considerable change of the attitude is caused by extending the unit svoi sny to my wet and foul dreams in the English translation, thus adding explicit sexual implication. Apparently, this was mostly determined by the rhyming needs. However, this is a change that only Brodsky as a self-translator could afford without bringing the translator's fidelity into question. A direct translation is used in Latvian.

8. In the final part several lexical units require attention, both in the ST and in the translations. Considering the special relations Brodsky had with the concept of time, any associated lexis requires an in-depth analysis. In order to lexically discuss the line What should I say about my life? That it's long and abhors transparence, it is necessary to refer back to the original. Berlina (2014a, p. 43) reasonably pays attention to the fact that two Russian words denote length in time and space - dolgiy and dlinnyy, respectively. From these two Brodsky has chosen the latter, which actually forms an atypical collocation in Russian. As the choice is certainly meaningful, the translator should, first, seek an answer,

second, preserve and render this peculiarity in the TL text. However, at the level of lexical analysis, we may only conclude that an English translator would be limited in his or her choices - there are no adequate counterparts for the Russian dolgiy and dlinnyy and both are usually rendered as long. In Latvian each of the two Russian words has its counterpart: ilgs and gars, which are respectively used in the translation.

9. Instead of the original proclamation of solidarity with grief (Tol 'ko s gorem ya chuvstvuyu solidarnost'), Brodsky reconstructs the English idiom 'you cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs' (such reconstruction is a typical poetic tool used in his poems), thus achieving a completely different implication: Broken eggs make me grieve; the omelette, though, makes me vomit. As to the possible linguistic motivation of the change, we would suggest that it is the need for a rhyme. Otherwise, this is another change which, first, has no linguistic explanation, second, remains within the limits of translator's fidelity only in case of poetry translation. The next phases of translation analysis presented in this study are to explain why.

10. The Latvian translation exhibits significant losses as to the cohesion of the final stanza. These losses are mostly caused, first, by a failure to provide at least one pair of precise rhymes, second, by the fact that the lexical units used in the rhyming positions (izrádijás ['turned out'] - neaizrijas ['choked'] and solidári [Latvian adverbial form of 'solidarity'] - várdus ['words']) do not create any semantic links.

11. We may conclude that in the English translation less than 30% of the units when processed lexically have been translated in a literal manner. The Latvian translation is more literal. However, only a small proportion of the lexical choices in both translations can be sufficiently explained and assessed through a cross-linguistic analysis.

3.2. Cross-cultural and interpretative components

Before we further discuss the observations (which do not include a contrastive syntactic analysis due to the limited amount of the paper) presented in the first component, it is necessary to outline an essential limitation which we consider objective in view of the character of this study. As the observations which unveil the main elements of the cross-cultural and cross-interpretative approaches to poetic texts and their translations are mainly in line with the principles of linguopoetic (linguostylistic) analysis and thus are strongly related to the domain of literary science, we will only include those observations and discuss them in the amount and the extent to which they are relevant for the translation decision-making process and the assessment of the result - the translation itself.

Based on the Kazarin model and other approaches of linguistic semantics and text linguistics, a poetic text can be further decoded by identifying the elements which form, first, the text's surface structure and, second, its deep structure. These represent both textual and non-textual elements as well as linguistic and extra-linguistic components. As the surface elements and their roles in the ST and the TTs are discussed under the first component, we should now focus on those textual and non-textual and linguistic and extra-linguistic elements which ensure coherence, completeness, idiomaticity, inseparability, systematicity, openness and integrity of the TT as a translated poem, namely, as a cultural and aesthetic phenomenon, by also further implementing the contrastive approach. This model ensures a connection between certain linguistic macro-components (for instance, syntactic-prosodic-information structures) and other macro-components, namely, cultural and aesthetic elements of the text. Cohesion and coherence of the TT cannot be adequately examined if certain extra-linguistic aspects are disregarded.

Macro-level cultural and interpretative implications. The mentioned-above analysis, which is focused on lexical and syntactic aspects, is essential in identifying the macrostructure of the ST - those surface-level elements which are the most important markers of the deep structures. A usual element of this analysis is identification of keywords. However, it is the aesthetic and artistic character of any poem that requires putting the analysis of its macrostructure into a wider perspective. Thus, when keywords and key textual features are identified, they should be considered in the context of poetic techniques, cultural context, artistic and aesthetic effects and interpretation. Regarding the specific poem, these aspects are broadly discussed by Polukhina (1999) and Berlina (2014, 2014a). We only include the following comments in this paper.

Polukhina analyzes the semantic implications of Russian grammar; for instance, she notes that in the original poem most of the lines begin with verbs and discusses alternation of imperfective and perfective verbs (Polukhina, 1999, p. 77). However, at the contrastive level, a weak point in this analysis (for instance, semantic implications of verb positions at the end or beginning of sentences) is the fact that in some cases author's idiostyle and specific poetic techniques or implications are supposedly identified where the respective structure follows from the inherent logics

of the Russian language. This certainly becomes an element of the text's macrostructure but it is essential to discriminate between those instances where this element is a stylistic feature and where it is a general feature of the respective language. It is even more important to discriminate between these two situations in the context of translation as the units with linguostylistic implications are those which require special attention and special techniques for rendering them into the TL.

When put in the three-dimensional model, the macro-units may acquire an importance that is also relevant for translation. For instance, the non-discriminatory use of vocabulary of various registers contributes to communicating the conceptual and metaphysical implications of the poem which are both directly and indirectly exhibited in the ST. By using various registers of the Russian language the author highlights the dual nature of life, its inherent oppositions with 'bottom-ends' alongside life's epitomes. This becomes a significant constituent of the text's tone. At this point the analysis should cover three aspects: author's idiostyle and its linguistic constituents, general features of the respective language, and author's individual conceptualization of these features (though at times the margin separating an idiostyle and conceptualization of a language may be vague).

In the context of both poetry translation theory and translation practice, this macro-structure element acquires special importance and any unit representing author's style is generally approached with special respect; conceptual units should be processed with double respect. For instance, regarding the specific case of the macro-level item klikukha Brodsky as a self-translator has to deal with several translation issues at once: these issues are related, first, to the mentioned-above three aspects of the analysis of the macro-level units, and, second, to the processing of this item in view of the ST context and other choices made in the respective stanza. Brodsky's self-translation of the first two lines indicates the balancing approach: while additional emotional information is provided by the lexical items in the first line (I have braved, for want of wild beasts, steel cages), Brodsky has substituted one stylistically marked word (klikukha) in the ST with a neutral word (nickname) in the TT, thus reducing the emotional burden of the first stanza. Unfortunately, the balancing needs have supposedly resulted in omitting the stylistic and conceptual marking of the ST item klikukha in the English translation nickname which we consider an important loss (the specific marking of the item is more explicit in the Latvian translation palama). Though the information communicated by the whole line is generally preserved in English (compare: vyzhigal svoy srok i klikukhu gvozdem v barake - carved my term and nickname on bunks and rafters), the aesthetic component of this information is considerably less outspoken and less 'transparent', leading, arguably, to a deteriorated poetic effect.

Syntactic aspect. Brodsky as a self-translator has maintained an approach of preserving the syntactic organization of the original text beyond the extent actually possible in English. This is an exceptional case even in view of numerous instances in which Brodsky's critics pointed out his insufficient mastery of English prosody and idiomatics. Berlina (ibid.) claims that atypical English grammar illustrates the author's exile. However, we tend to disagree with this explanation due to the following considerations: (i) as a translation method it could only be acceptable, at least to some extent, if the source text grammar would respectively indicate Brodsky's exile into the English-speaking world; it is unlikely that any translator would make the choices made by Brodsky as a self-translator; and it is even less likely that in case of such choices they would be assessed as acceptable; (ii) another inconsistency in view of the presumed exhibition of "linguistic exile" is uncovered by the English text itself. If this is the case, Russian syntax should be supported by literal (and unacceptable) lexical translations. However, as discussed above, Brodsky's lexical translations raise much less questions, if any, regarding their acceptability in English; (iii) even though this specific English translation might be an exception from Brodsky's intention to ensure that every translation is an independent poem in its own right and the non-English grammar might be regarded as a poetic textual connection with the nontextual information (Brodsky's sense of being a foreigner), this assumption would still be contrary to another widely known fact - the poet's love for English. It would be complicated to understand why in his own translation of the anniversary poem he would have chosen to highlight, in such a linguistically outspoken manner, his remoteness from the language he has made so tremendous efforts to be closer to. These idiostylistic and autobiographic aspects which form text's cultural and stylistic inseparability, idiomaticity and integrity cause a number of questions to which no interpretation provides sufficient and credible explanation.

Regarding a significant syntactic feature of the Latvian translation - use of inversions - it is necessary to note the remark made by Polukhina that the simple syntactic organization of the ST resembles the style of an official report (Polukhina, 1999, p. 70). This aspect reminds us of a private discussion with Russian poets on Ot okrayny k tsentru (I

can visit, once more... ), another poem by Brodsky. The style of this poem was described as black-and-white, almost emotionless, and it was noted that preserving this tone in the translation is the most essential task. Instead, by the use of inversions, the Latvian translator moves in a way opposite to the poetic approach employed by the author. The intense use of inversions makes the syntactic structure of the poem more traditional and its tone ruins the report-like style of the ST, thus questioning the translator's fidelity. On the other hand, the inversions help to organize the rhythm and preserve the accentual verse. Therefore, this case where we observe an apparent need for a compromise illustrates a situation where the translator should base his or her choices and the assessment of the translation should also be based on weighting the extent of losses and their impact on the general aesthetic and artistic effect of the text - whether the rhythmical achievements balance out the damage incurred to the tone of the text.

4. Conclusion

The above illustrative example of an integrated poetry translation analysis shows that the cross-linguistic, cross-cultural and interpretative components form an indispensable unity. Though our research is still underway, it is possible to draw some provisional conclusions. As regards Brodsky's self-translations and their critics, we see the fact of the numerous objections towards his accomplishments even less striking and less relevant than the fact that many outstanding English poets and translators are ready to accept Brodsky's approach to English grammar and idiom. The other two conclusions which narrowly concern poetry translation practice and theory are, first, that fidelity towards the poetic principles of a poet should not be an absolute and 'automatic' rule; the relativity of this approach is also proved by Brodsky himself in his self-translations; and, second, that in poetry translation which deals with texts possessing aesthetic and artistic qualities, the respective poetic and aesthetic considerations may prevail over the linguistic or factual elements when a translator has to make choices. But, most importantly, our study shows that the above nine principles are both theoretically relevant and applicable in poetry translation practice.


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