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Belavina E. M. French poems of Nikolay Gumilyov. Izvestiya of Saratov University. Philology. Journalism, 2022, vol. 22, iss. 4, pp. 428-433. DOI: /1817-7115-2022-22-4-428-433

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0).
УДК 821.161.1.09-1+929Гумилев

French poems of Nikolay Gumilyov

Paris, regarded for centuries as the literary capital of the world, the literary ‘homeland of choice’, gave shelter (permanently or temporarily) to many great writers. Poets all over the world have dreamed of gaining access to the French reader; it has tacitly been considered a special stepping stone to global recognition. At the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the paths of many Russian poets crossed in Paris. It was there that Gumilyov met A. Tolstoy, M. Voloshin, A. Bely and others. Most of his poems were written in his native language and translated from the foreign language into the native language. A rare case of cultural transfer and cross-linguistic contact are poetic texts written by the author in a foreign language, based on the original in his native language (auto-translation from the native language), or subsequently written in his native language (auto-translation from a foreign language). The auto-translations by Nikolai Gumilyov (1886–1921) did not have a resonance and his name is not very familiar to the French reader. The few translations done by the French have appeared in anthologies, and the fi rst book of selected poems was published in France in the twenty-fi rst century. Gumilyov’s rhyming poems were not well-received at a time when vers libre standard was being developed in France. The linguistic roughness of the form, striving for the classical form, gave the impression of linguistic errors. Gumilyov’s innovation manifested itself in overcoming national and temporal boundaries. A later fondness for the history of French literature manifested itself in programmatic focus of manifestos on tradition, which ran counter to Parisian contemporaries who deviated from laws of “beautiful clarity”. The desire to convey the music of the Russian syllabo-tonic also did not favour publications in French. Gumilev’s reception in France was delayed in time.


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