In 1970, the Russian-American novelist Nabokov sent a pair of jeans to the author after reading a long poem by a Soviet young poet, which was still scarce in the Soviet Union at the time. The exiled writer Solzhenitsyn once said that he would never miss a work published by the poet in a Russian journal. The British philosopher Isaiah Berlin described that reading the poet’s work immediately shows that this is a genius.
The poet’s name is Joseph Brodsky. A poet born in the Soviet Union, an exile who has been drifting for half a lifetime, a Jew, written in Russian and English, and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1987. Since the 1990s, he has had a significant impact on Chinese intellectuals and writers.
In April of this year, the first volume of the Complete Works of Brodsky’s Poetry (volume 1) was introduced and published by Shanghai Translation Publishing House. The translator is the translator, Zi Ziliang. This is the complete translation of the third language in the world after English and Russian. After several rounds of discussion, the publisher finally decided to use the academic annotated version edited by Dr. Rochechev, a research scientist of Brodsky, and a literary biography of 70,000 words as a preface.
“From the perspective of the acceptance of domestic readers, most people have read his essays, and the response is very good, but little is known about his poetry. This is very regrettable. This blank is necessary to fill in. Liu Chen, the responsible editor of “The Complete Works of Brodsky’s Poetry,” told China News Weekly.
Brodsky’s poetry has different faces in different cultural contexts, and often cannot be separated from the times and politics. The verses are like mirrors, reflecting the world full of differences.
“Cross” and “Glass Cup”
The translator is from 87 years old. When he is empty, he still smokes and drinks. Previously, his most important translation was Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Six years ago, Brodsky’s complete collection of poems was put in front of him, and the new “war” began. He was a wounded soldier and he was diagnosed with cancer in the hospital. Fortunately, his body recovered well. He picked up the pen and re-entered the battlefield.
Sometimes, Zhai Ziliang will work until the middle of the night, feeling tired, just take a break and play a half-day mahjong. Now, the dictionary of auxiliary translation at hand has been ruined. His eyes have also gone wrong, changing the artificial lens, if the word is too small, you need a magnifying glass. After entering the night, the high and low three or four lights are turned on at the same time, and the table is bright, as if operating a difficult medical operation.
The most important thing is precision, especially the complex translation of Brodsky. “Many people may think that poetry is more important, but it is not. In particular, Brodsky’s poems are often thousands of miles away.” Liu Chen told the China News Weekly. The literary biography of 70,000 words was revised three times before and after. This has not been counted as a minor repair. Brodsky’s poetry involves many philosophical and historical knowledge, as well as the influence of metaphysical poetry.
When translating the long narrative poem “Golbnov and Gorchakov”, Zhai Ziliang noticed the confrontation between the two voices, which originated from the same consciousness and were anthropomorphized. When you encounter concealed places, you still need to grasp the key points and determine the specific connotation by means of the internal context of each other.
Cultural differences are also prone to ambiguity. In addition to this, it is necessary to take care of the intrinsic relationship between different topics, as well as the unification of the editor’s preface, original poetry and annotations. A good example is the example of a cross and a glass in a poem by Brodsky. Both words have specific meanings. The cross refers to a cross-shaped prison, and the glass refers to a cell with a small space. The comment section has been explained, so it can only be translated literally.
Prisons and cells have witnessed the most difficult experience of Brodsky. In the early 1960s, he was arrested three times, “three times let the knife cut my nature”, was placed in a mental hospital, was woken up in the middle of the night, and then dipped into a cold water tub. In the end, Brodsky was sentenced to “parasitic sin” and exiled to the northern part of the Soviet Union. The trial of 1964 was often mentioned later, and the conflict between institutions and individuals can still be seen.
At that time, the pockets of public opinion were once loosened, and even Solzhenitsyn’s “Ivan Denisovich’s Day” also had the opportunity to publish. This is a novel depicting the life of the labor camp in the Stalin era. However, the liberalized political climate was quickly replaced by a tightened ideology. During that time, Brodsky did not have a fixed job and lived by writing poetry and translation. According to the court, he has changed 13 jobs and sometimes can take a break for half a year.
Brodsky leaned against the wall, and the judge questioned him why he would stay for so long and not participate in productive labor. Brodsky replied that he is working, poetry writing and translation is his job. You have not received high school education, and the judge continues to ask, who admits that you are a poet? Brodsky replied that the school cannot teach a person to be a poet. Where does the poem come from? The judge did not give up. I think Brodsky gives the answer, it comes from God.
In the end, Brodsky had to exile from the current St. Petersburg to the villages near the Arctic Ocean for five years of voluntary labor. However, under the mediation of female celebrities such as the female poet Akhmatova, the final period of labor reform was reduced to 18 months. This experience of jail has greatly increased the popularity of Brodsky in the West, and many people regard his experience as another proof of the Soviet high-pressure policy after Pasternak.
The basics of Broz did not want to be described as victims of the system, but his poetry and life were always tied to politics, either intentionally or unintentionally.
Counting, Zhai Ziliang is eight years older than Brodsky. When Brodsky was exiled to the northern part of the Soviet Union, he was resigned from a middle school in Shihezi, Xinjiang, and returned to Shanghai alone. He became an unemployed, and spent the whole day in the library. Foreign documents, later found work, work in the factory during the day, continue reading in the evening. In 1969, he was framed as a “counterrevolutionary”, spent three years in prison and engaged in manual labor.
For Brodsky’s political tendency, he does not agree with himself, but in terms of self-education, two people have much in common. After coming out of prison, Zhai Ziliang still refused to leave Russian. At that time, the Soviet Union was still taboo, and the self-contained Russian translation of German philosophy, including Marx and Hegel. Self-education is not just self-study. Zhai Ziliang said to China News Weekly that you need to set your own direction and choose teaching materials.
Brodsky’s experience is equally rare. He dropped out of school at the age of 15 but passed the self-study, mastered English and Polish, and later read Latin and French in the dictionary, and even learned Chinese. There are many professionals around him, including linguists, musicians and literary artists. He escaped from the official education system of the Soviet Union and rebuilt his cultural identity and spiritual territory in the language of poetry.
After leaving the Soviet Union, Brodsky traveled through many places and was always looking for his spiritual home. His favorite place is not Ann Arbor and New York in the United States, but Venice in Italy.
Reporter Charles Feniweich recorded his brief interaction with Brodsky in Venice. It was in 1978 that Brodsky had just attended a recital in a dilapidated cinema, and together with about 20 admirers, went to a nearby fly house to gather together, and several small tables were put together and turned into squares. .
Brodsky invited Feniweisi to sit next to him because the face of the reporter is very similar to a friend of Brodsky, who lives in Leningrad, now in St. Petersburg, is a violin. hand. Six years ago, Brodsky was deported, left the Soviet Union and settled in the United States.
One of the participants asked Brodsky about the 18-month labor reform career. He described the frozen soil, swamps and strange lighting there. He also mentioned the joyous and weird smile of Stalin and the funeral of the Moscow government. The grand stage of the time. After the dinner, Brodsky and Feniweich proposed to go out for a walk and talk while walking. Sometimes Brodsky speaks Russian and then quickly translates into English. Sometimes, he seems to be talking to himself.
Brodsky likes the winter of Venice. The great poet Dante has also suffered from exile all year round. He stayed in Venice for a long time. Brodsky feels like being at home, even though he doesn’t know Italian. This is one of the few places where he can feel comfortable. He has been here 17 times before and often comes here for Christmas.
In this city like the Garden of Eden, he saw the “time of birth from the water.” Life abroad is very depressed, but Brodsky does not like the complaints of exiles in the same situation around him. Ten years later, Brodsky published the essay collection “Watermark” with the theme of Venice. Twenty years later, he was buried in this water city.
In 1987, Brodsky won the Nobel Prize in Literature, and he was just 47 years old. His poetry began to appear in Soviet publications. At that time, the Soviet society had shown signs of loosening. Many former banned writers came to the surface, and some exiled writers also chose to return to China.
At the same time, Brodsky was also translated into China. The translator Sun Yue was one of the first people to translate Brodsky. At that time, there was no news of the award in China. Sun Yue borrowed a Russian-language collection of Russian poetry published by Brodsky in the United States from the National Library. Published in “Contemporary Soviet Literature”.
“I personally think that Brodsky’s poetry has an influence in the West, mainly because of Russian, but because of English creation and his political color. He later went to the West. In the Soviet Union, the main controversy was Bro. Tiki’s writing skills and writing methods, as well as the values inside, many people did not know him.” Sun Yue told China News Weekly.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, many people had expectations for the returning expatriate writers, including Brodsky. In the language department of the Moscow State University, there is more than one teacher who studies Brodsky, and there are also Brodsky topics in the study and discussion class.
However, in the intellectual group, the attitude towards Brodsky is still somewhat different. The poet Kuberanovsky went to exile in Europe in the early 1980s and returned to Moscow on the eve of the collapse of the Soviet Union. He agrees that Brodsky is a heterogeneous Russian poet and is considered to be the most Latinized Russian author, but not the same as many Russian poets influenced by European poetry traditions.
In the impression, Brodsky is always very busy, there are always people around, he needs these, just like drug addiction. On the other hand, Brodsky often feels repressed and tries to escape from the public eye. He traveled around the world and incorporated those experiences into his own creations. Kuberanowski said in an interview that frequent travels made Brodsky’s later creations show signs of self-repetition.
In addition, politics distinguishes a group of people from another group. Kuberanowski mentioned that when the Soviet Union sent troops to Czechoslovakia in 1968, Brodsky, like many intellectuals, considered it an immoral act. But by the mid-1990s, when NATO sent troops to Southern Europe, Brodsky’s attitude changed, and Kuberanowski did not understand why he asked Brodsky.
“His work was very popular in the 1990s. Everyone thought he was the pinnacle of Russian poetry. But in fact, I don’t think he loves Russia. He is not a patriot. It should be said that his attitude towards Russia was very cold. Kubranowski told China Newsweek.
In the United States, Brodsky’s English creation is highly accepted. He became a poet laureate in the United States in 1991 and was often invited to participate in speeches. His comments and essays were considered a model of English prose. ” Less than One” won the American National Book Award, and “Sadness and Reason” became a classic.
Since the 1990s, Brodsky’s influence in China has been far-reaching. In the 1990s when various value systems were reshuffled, the intellectual community referred to Brodsky as a confidant. In poetry and essays, he elevated the status of poetry to the height of civilization, and refreshed many people’s understanding of poetry language. He is believed to have inherited the cloak of the Russian silver era, and people have seen his response and continuation of the European and American poetry traditions.
The poet Xidu experienced the idealism of the 1980s. At the beginning, Brodsky was regarded as a cultural hero. Because he had done various work such as collecting corpses and expedition members, he also went abroad in exile. Strive to maintain poetry and the dignity of life.
When the poet read Bratsky’s poetry, he found a rare and precious quality in his body, that is, “how to obtain reason in the age of destiny.” He felt that Brodsky has a very obvious Power breaks the boundaries between ancient and modern literature, and the spirit of life and destiny are fascinating.