Friday, 31 March 2023 to Sunday, 2 April 2023

Mikhail Zenkevich, Translator of British Authors.

Fri31  Mar01:00pm(15 mins)
Main Building Room 134


Svetlana Cheloukhina1
1 Queens College, CUNY, United States


Mikhail Zenkevich, a former Acmeist, is an acclaimed translator of British authors into Russian. His translation of Measure for Measure was included in the complete works of Shakespeare (1949).Treasure Island by R.L. Stevenson and The War of the Worlds by H.Wells, translated by Zenkevich, are still published to this day. A poet himself, Zenkevich translated G. Byron, J. Kits, T. Hardy, and many others. The famous Antologiia novoi angliiskoi poezii (1937) included his twenty-two translations of World War I poetry by T.S. Eliot, S.Sasson, W.Owen, I.Rosenberg, R.Oldington, and H.Read. R. Brooke’s “The Soldier,” planned for this volume but only published in 2014, is considered one of the best. Zenkevich took the deaths of young poets in the First World War as his own tragedy since his brother also died in battle. Moreover, Zenkevich devoted many of his own poems to the WWI. British poets also influenced Zenkevich. Analyzing Zenkevich’s translations of British authors, my paper will discuss, in particular, some of the parallels between Owen’s “Strange Meeting” and Zenkevich’s “U dvukh protalin” (1942) as well as his translation of Owen’s poem. Written in the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, contrary to ideological requirements, Zenkevich’s poem propagated the Christian ideas of brotherhood and resurrection. Similarly, his translations of WWI British poetry reveal him as a philosopher and pacifist who promoted non-violent relationships despite ideological differences.