Zukovskij's Translation of Oliver Goldsmith's "The Deserted Village" (1)

By Ober, Kenneth H.; Ober, Warren U. | Germano-Slavica, Annual 2005 | Go to article overview

Zukovskij's Translation of Oliver Goldsmith's "The Deserted Village" (1)


Ober, Kenneth H., Ober, Warren U., Germano-Slavica


Stirred to indignation by the depopulation of the English villages and countryside which resulted in part from the notorious Enclosure Acts, (2) Oliver Goldsmith (1730-1774) published in 1770 what was to become his most famous and admired poem, "The Deserted Village." Based partly on his memories of Lissoy, his home village in Ireland, the poem is primarily concerned with the fate of the dispossessed and uprooted tenants and cottagers of rural England and the villages they left behind.

In his Dedication of the poem to Sir Joshua Reynolds, Goldsmith admits that there may be objection to the poem on the grounds "that the depopulation it deplores is no where to be seen, and the disorders it laments are only to be found in the poet's own imagination." Goldsmith, in response to the anticipated objection, asserts "that I sincerely believe what I have written; that I have taken all possible pains, in my country excursions, for these four or five years past, to be certain of what I alledge, and that all my views and enquiries have led me to believe those miseries real, which I here attempt to display." (3)

Published on May 26, 1770, as a pamphlet, "The Deserted Village" went through five more authorized editions during the same year. By 1775 eight authorized editions, four pirated editions, two Irish editions, and a French translation had appeared. As Arthur Friedman points out in his summary of the contemporary critical reaction to the poem, the reviews typically "distinguish between the political doctrine, which they find in some measure deficient or erroneous, and the poetical execution, to which they give high praise." Certainly the appearance of "The Deserted Village" enhanced Goldsmith's reputation and established him as one of the foremost English poets of the day. (4)

Thus it is not surprising that a poem which had such an impact on the world of English letters should eventually come to the attention of Vasilij Andreevic Zukovskij (1783-1852), the Russian early Romantic poet-translator, who during a long career translated the works of such other poets as Thomas Gray, John Dryden, Alexander Pope, James Thomson, David Mallet, Robert Southey, Lord Byron, Thomas Moore, Sir Walter Scott, and Thomas Campbell, in addition to Goldsmith.

The publication of Zukovskij's translation of Gray's "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" in 1802 has "more than once been declared to be the birthday of Russian poetry." (5) Zukovskij's attention was attracted to Goldsmith's "The Deserted Village" in the same year, probably under the influence of his friend and fellow poet-translator Andrej Turgenev, though his translation--comprising the first hundred lines of the poem--was not completed until 1805. Apparently Zukovskij's translation remained unpublished until 1902, when it appeared in A.S. Arxangel'skij's edition of his works. (6)

Zukovskij chose to translate only the first 100 lines of the 430-line poem, and it is clear from the internal evidence of Zukovskij's translation that he regarded the portion that he chose as a unity, with a beginning, a middle, and an end. The beginning consists of a nostalgic reminiscence of Auburn and the narrator's happiness there in the pastoral setting; the middle contrasts the present desolation of the narrator's birthplace with the beauty of its bygone years and laments the devastation wrought by greed and luxury in this once idyllic village; the conclusion reviews the narrator's long-cherished but finally blasted hopes of returning to end his days peacefully "in the land of my fathers, under the canopy of familiar trees."

The opening lines of Zukovskij's translation juxtaposed with the parallel lines of Goldsmith's poem will indicate how true to the spirit of the original Zukovskij's version really is:

   Goldsmith:
   Sweet Auburn, lovliest village of the plain,
   Where health and plenty cheared the labouring swain,
   Where smiling spring its earliest visit paid,
   And parting summer's lingering blooms delayed,
   Dear lovely bowers of innocence and ease . … 

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Zukovskij's Translation of Oliver Goldsmith's "The Deserted Village" (1)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.