When a writer uses language to another, than his own, he does it either necessary, Conrad, either burning ambition, Nabokov, either for the sake of greater alienation, like Beckett. Belonging to a different league, summer 1977 in New York, having lived in this country for five years, I bought in the shop typewriters on Sixth Avenue portable “Letter 22” and I began to write (essay, translations, sometimes the verses) in English for reasons of, had little to do with the above. My only desire then, as now, It had come to be in closer proximity to the person, which I thought was the greatest mind of the twentieth century: to Uistanu Hugh Auden.
Of course, I am well aware of the futility of my enterprise, not so much because, I was born in Russia and its language (of which I do not intend to abandon — and hope, vice versa1), but because of the intelligence of the poet, which the, in my opinion, It is unmatched. The futility of these efforts, I was aware of another reason, Auden that for four years she had been dead. but, in my opinion, writing in English was the best way to approach it, work on his terms, be tried if not for his intellectual honor code, then later, It is making this code in English possible.
These words, the structure of these proposals, — everything points to any, who have read at least one verse or one paragraph of Auden, my complete failure. For me, but, the failure by his standards is preferable to success by the standards of other. Besides, I knew from the very beginning, that is doomed to failure; whether this kind of sobriety of my own or borrowed from his writings, I can not judge. Everything, what I hope, shall declare on his tongue, I'm not reducing his level of reasoning, consideration plane. it — the biggest, that can be done, Who better than us: continue in his spirit; and in this, я думаю, the essence of all civilizations.
I knew, that in temperament and in other respects, I am that person, and that in the best case, I will consider it an imitator. However, it would be for me a compliment. In addition, I offer a second line of defense: I could always fall back to writing in Russian, which felt pretty confident and what is even, had he known the language, his, possibly, I would have liked to. My desire fox in English had nothing to do with self-confidence, complacency or convenience; it was simply a desire to please the shade. Of course, there, where he was at that time, linguistic barriers hardly mattered, but for some reason I thought, that he would have liked more, I explained to him in English. (Although, when I tried to do it on for eleven years green grass kirchstetten back now, nothing happened; my English while more suitable for reading and listening, than talk. maybe, it's for the best.)
unable, speak otherwise, return the full amount of, that was given, we try to give back to, at least, the same coin. In the end, so he did, borrowing donzhuanovskuyu stanza for your “Pisma s Byron” or for hexameters “shield of Achilles”. Courtship always requires a certain degree of self-sacrifice and assimilation, especially, if you look after a pure spirit. In the flesh, this man has done so much, that the belief in the immortality of the soul is somehow inevitable. the, what he left us, equivalent Evangeliyu, caused by and filled with love, which is whatever, not only the final — love, which does not fit entirely in the human flesh, and therefore needs no words. If there were no churches, we could easily erect a church on this poet, and its main precept would sound something like this:
If equal affection can not be,
Let the more loving one be me.
If the poet has some obligation to the community — it is to write well. Being in the minority, he has no other choice. Not fulfilling this duty, he plunges into oblivion. Society, on the other hand, I do not have any obligations to the poet. Most of definition, Society sees itself having other classes, rather than poetry reading, no matter how well they may have been written. Without reading poems, company falls to such a level of speech, whereby it becomes easy prey demagogue or tyrant. This is the equivalent of its own society of oblivion, from which, of course, tyrant can try to save his subjects some thrilling bloodbath.
The first time I read Auden twenty years ago in Russia in a rather sluggish and lifeless translations, which are found in the anthology of contemporary British poetry with the subtitle “From Browning to the present day”. “our” — They were the days 1937 of the year, when this volume was published. Needless to say, that almost all of its translators along with his editor M. Gutnerom shortly afterwards were arrested and many of them died. Needless to say, that no other anthology of contemporary English poetry was not published in Russia in the next forty years,, and remember that became something of a rarity.
One line of Auden in this anthology, however, caught my attention. She was, I learned later, from the last verse of his early poems “No change of place”, which describes several claustrophobic landscape, где “no one will / Further breakage rail or the edge of the pier, / Neither will not go, neither son will not send…”2 This last line “Neither will not go, neither son will not send…” I was struck by a combination of common sense with the delivery of the negatives. Nourished by the open feeling and mostly self-assertion Russian poetry, I quickly noted this recipe, whose main ingredient was self-restraint. However poetic lines tend to deviate from the context of the universal significance, and threatening plaque absurdity, contained in “Neither will not go, neither son will not send…”, and then began to vibrate in my subconscious whenever, When I take something to do on paper.
it, I suppose, and it is called the influence, Except, that the feeling of absurdity is never an invention of the poet, but — reflection of reality; the invention are rarely recognized. the, than in this case we are obliged to poet, — not only feeling, but the attitude: calm, expressionless, without any pressure, almost en passant3. This attitude was especially important for me because it is, I stumbled upon this place in the early sixties,, when the theater of the absurd was in full swing. In the background to the subject approach Auden stood out not only because, that he was ahead of many, but due to the significantly excellent ethical content. the, he spoke with a string, was talking about, at least to me, kind of “Do not shout “wolf””, even if the wolf on the threshold. (Even, I would add, He looks just like you. That is why no cry “wolf”.)
Although the writer to mention his prison experience — как, however, difficulties of any kind — is like for ordinary people to show off important contacts, it happened, that the next opportunity to closely get acquainted with Auden occurred, when I was serving his sentence in the North, in the village, lost among the swamps and forests, near the Arctic Circle. This time anthology, sent by my friend, from Moscow, It was in English. It was a lot of Yeats, I then found a few rhetorical and sloppy in size, and Eliot, which in those days was regarded in Eastern Europe the highest authority. I was going to read Eliot.
But by chance, a book opened on Auden “memory. B. Yeytsa”. I was young then and therefore particularly keen on the genre of elegy, without dying nearby, whom I could devote her. So I read them, possibly, more eagerly, than anything else, often thought, the most interesting feature of this genre is an unconscious attempt at self-portrait, that almost all the poems “in memoriam” dazzle — or tainted. While this trend is understandable, it often turns into a poem meditation on death, from which we learn more about the author, than the dead. In Auden's poem was nothing like this; Moreover, I soon realized, that even its structure was conceived, to pay tribute to the deceased poet, mimicking in reverse order the stages of its own stylistic development of the great Irish until the early: tetrameters third — the last — parts poems.