RE: [xmca] 'Psychology of Art' and 'Literature and Revolution'

From: Stetsenko, Anna <AStetsenko who-is-at>
Date: Thu Jun 07 2007 - 20:25:39 PDT

The complete text of Mandelstam's poem "The Swallow", from Complete Poetry of Osip Emilevich Mandelstam (Sydney, 1973):

What had I wanted to say? I forgot.
The blind swallow flies back to Pluto's palace
on amputated wings, and plays with transparent souls.
Night songs sing in unconsciousness.

But no birds sing. Flowering evergreens aren't in
Night's horses have transparent manes.
An empty canoe drifts in the dry river.
The grasshoppers' password is: be unconscious.

Growing, slowly, like a tent, a temple,
now throwing itself to the side, suddenly, like mad
Antigone, now like a dead swallow throwing itself
at your feet with Stygian tenderness and a green branch.

Oh, if I could give back the shame of sensate
fingers, the shameful joy of knowing.
Niobes' tears terrify me,
and the fog, the ringing, the gaping opening.

And men can love, men can know,
even sound pours itself into their fingers,
but I forgot what I want to say
and the unbodied thought goes back to the palace of ghosts.

That transparent thought keeps repeating the wrong thing,
keeps fluttering like a swallow, my friend, Antigone. . .
and echoes of Stygian ringing
burn on her lips, black like ice.
There is also a footnote about swallow which explains a lot: "The swallow is one of the topoi in Mandelstams'poetry -- Procne, who has her tongue cut out for the sake of her sister Philomea, who was then turned into a nightingale, as Procne was turned into a swallow. For Mandelastam the swallow is sometimes the gift of sacrifice, sometimes the gift of the word."
I came across this source a while ago, while reading a beautiful essay by Mark Willis "A Word is the Search for It: Vygotsky, Mandelstam, and the Renewal of Motive". One of the best on the topic, really excellent.

From: on behalf of Mike Cole
Sent: Thu 6/7/2007 10:55 PM
To: Ana Marjanovic-Shane
Cc: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] 'Psychology of Art' and 'Literature and Revolution'

Talk about linguistic/cultural barriers to international understanding!! the
sebo-croatian translation
appears very close to the epigraph in english in lsv (but not the swallow in
Russian where blind
swallow=word (here we need to return to David's texts to consider what that
means). But
Minnick seems really off base-- or using different text/poem) with respect
to the (un named)

I assume a lot of xmcaophiles thinks this is all nit picking and why bother.
I think that David points
to some of the deep issues in pointing out that we are talking about huge,
long, historical world
views here: Hellene vs Latin. Constantinople vs Rome. Russia vs
Germany,..,....... and western europe.

Thanks for the serbo-croatian view!!

On 6/7/07, Ana Marjanovic-Shane <> wrote:
> In the translation to Serbo-Croatian, in two verses by Mandelstam (who is
> not mentioned by name)
> it is:
> "I forgot the word I wanted to say,
> and the *disembodied thought* will return into the hall of shadows"
> Gumilev is also not named and remains just "a poet"
> The translation of his verses is the following:
> "And like bees in a deserted hive,
> dead words reek"
> And then the text continues with:
> "But, if thought is not embodied in word, it remains a Stygian shadow, a
> "fog, a clang, a gawk", as another poet says."
> Absolutely fascinating
> Ana
> Mike Cole wrote:
> I am almost certain that we are dealing with different version of the same
> poem, Natalia.
> Anton's site gives blind swallow. But the later editions of M&R use the
> term
> "word" in
> place of blind swallow. I will forward the Gumilev to you with a question
> in
> a min.
> can you post on xmca??
> mike
> On 6/7/07, Natalia Gajdamaschko <> <> wrote:
> On Thu, 7 Jun 2007 10:53:07 -0700 wrote:
> > This is amazing, Anton.That poem is NOT in Tristia in the "Complete
> Poetry"
> > volume. (Or I cannot find it there). But what blew me away was the
> Russian
> > of the Swallow:
> >
> > ? ????? ????????, ??? ? ???*e*?? ???????:
> > ??*e*??? ???????? ?? ??????? ?*e*??? ????????
> >
> > Literally, isn't this:
> >
> > I forget the word I wanted to say,
> > And the blind swallow returns to the hall of shadows.
> > (I am not sure of the word, chertog, and do not have a Russian-English
> > dictionary to hand.
> Hi Mike,
> Chertog ---- is a palace , royal palace (or hall) or zamok, dvorec. And
> yes, swallow is blind.
> Cheers,
> Natalia.
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> ------------------------------
> *Ana Marjanovic-Shane, Ph.D.* *151 W. Tulpehocken St.* *Philadelphia**, PA
> 19144*** *(h) 215-843-2909* ** *
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Received on Thu Jun 7 21:27 PDT 2007

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