The Poetic Works of Sergey Yesenin in Germany: Translations, Editions, and Research

Natalia Nikonova, Daria Olitskaya, Ekaterina Khilo

Abstract


This article considers the perception of Sergey Yesenin’s creative work in Germany. Having become acquainted with his works in its own language as early as the 1920s, Germany played the leading role in incorporating Yesenin into German-language culture. This research is based on the rich history of translation reception (made up of over 300 texts by over 60 translators), criticism and literary studies, and publication history. The article focuses on topical issues of modern literary studies, such as the aesthetics of reception, the dialogue of cultures, comparative studies, and imagology. The perception of the poet reflects the development of Russo-German literary connections in the 20th and 21st centuries. It is possible to single out three stages in the translation reception of Yesenin’s works: acquaintance (1920s), popularisation (1950s–1980s), and the modern period. During the third stage, the reader came closer to understanding the authentic concepts of Yesenin’s poetic semantics and techniques and a better knowledge of his creative work. The peculiarities of the publication history of the poet’s works are to a large extent determined by the above stages, as well as the cultural and historical factors caused by the division of Germany. German-language Yesenin studies are characterised by a vast scope, multiple research strategies, and prominent researchers (D. Chizhevsky, D. Gerhardt, F. Mierau, etc.). The receptive character of the perception determines the combination of literary and translation strategies, which are mutually complementary. Hence, it is quite appropriate to consider German Yesenin studies a separate branch of the world literary studies. The results of German scholars’ work are of significant importance to the history of Russian literature. The final stage of the perception model is the creative perception of the image of the poet as part of one’s native linguistic culture. Dedication poems devoted to Yesenin written by G. Vesper and H. Czechowski in the 1990s are proof of a contemporary German dialogue with the Russian poet.


Keywords


Sergey Yesenin; translation; reception model; Russo-German literary contacts

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15826/qr.2017.4.262

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