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  Philologica 1 (1994)  
   
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A. A. ILIUSHIN

A BELATED TRANSLATION OF THE EROTIC PRIAPEAN ODE
(Alexis Piron, “Ode à Priape”)

 
 
 


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Summary

A Russian verse translation of Piron’s Ode à Priape is placed before the reader. This piece became known in Russia in the 1760s. It had a great influence on frivolous poetry of the time, above all the work of Ivan Semenovich Barkov, the compiler, and one of the main authors, of the collection entitled A Girl’s Plaything which has been published only very recently. However, a complete translation of Ode a Priape did not appear at that time: the response was limited to imitations and free versions.

The new translation of the Ode, composed in 1993 and 1994, was written with the intention of corresponding precisely, in terms of its linguistic, stylistic and versification parameters, with the phenomenon of “barkoviana” — as if Piron’s ode were translated two hundred years ago for A Girl’s Plaything itself. Therefore, the translation’s meter is 4-foot iambus; the configuration of rhymes is that of the odic decima — aBaBccDeeD; the principal genre and style reference point is “the obscene pornographic burlesque”: the indecent (including mat) lexis occupies a considerable place, but, at the same time, the solemn and rhetorical, elevated emotional tone has been retained — the tone which strains after the tension of “poetic rapture”, in the taste of the sublime genres of Russian classicism. The translator’s main preoccupation was to avoid any anachronisms. On the other hand, the translator did not want his work to become a complete compilation which consists of the already existing verbal formulae developed by Barkov and the poets of his circle. The descendant’s “co-authorship” was aimed at, rather than a counterfeit.

The text chiefly retains the spelling and punctuation norms which were accepted in the second half of the eighteenth century. The notes discuss the philological aspects of the translation.

 


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