Бреус Е. В. Основы теории и практики перевода с русского языка на английский: Учебное пособие. 2-е изд., испр и доп




НазваниеБреус Е. В. Основы теории и практики перевода с русского языка на английский: Учебное пособие. 2-е изд., испр и доп
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I somehow can understand why these things happened in the past. But today, in the era of glasnost and democracy, there are still scientists and writers who do not hesitate to send detailed reports to the authorities once they disagree with any of their colleagues ideologically. And there are many of them, I know by experience. They could lay down honestly and openly a different point of view and try to substantiate it with arguments, instead of reporting to the authorities. Some articles that are published often look more like indictments than attempts to establish the truth. And some quasi-intellectual lackeys of stagnation during the Brezhnev years would like to forget what they themselves wrote at that time but are very eager to dig the archives of others. Those who lose their sense of humour and shame have never ended up with anything but embarrassment.

There are political causes, in my opinion. Our country has been deprived of normal internal political process for much too long. But life goes on, no matter what. There is no stopping it, as there is no stopping thought.

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Our science, literature and art are overloaded with social and political problems. In some instances, this is good, but in others, as we see, it is not. If someone is unwilling to call a spade a spade, there appear all sorts of hints, implications, associations, allusions and historic parallels. People who are either very naive or extremely sly take them at their face value, thereby starting a new line of a dispute, discussion or clash.

For decades political life was forced into an outrageously perverted harness; this could not but affect the creative process. Small wonder that this very process developed all the typical features of political intrigue and maneuvering — ideological division, sharp clashes of ambitions, noisy quarrels and all the other attributes which continue to characterize our political culture in general. There were also shameful instances of political destruction. Suffice it to recall the fate of Mikhail Bulgakov, Adrei Platonov, Alexander Tvardovsky, Vladimir Vemadsky, Andrei Sakharov, Victor Nekrasov, Boris Pasternak, Nikolai Vavilov, Andrei Tarkovsky and many others.

Perestroika does change things, but it cannot rectify the situation overnight. I believe, however, that as democracy, normal political life and democratic public movements develop, the situation will begin to change in the direction of common sense. Our cultural life will be cleansed of sickly over-politicization. It will yield to habits of greater tolerance and the readiness to carry out a respectful debate. Thirst for blood will no longer prevail; true ' artists will do what they are supposed to do, and only pseudo-artists will continue their machinations, because they are not trained to do anything else.

It is through the same prism that I would evaluate the extremely sharp debates which are going on among our intellectuals in connection with pere-stroika. Perestroika is a revolution which leaves no one indifferent. It has stirred up passions which are flying particularly high in the intellectual milieu. I am for emotion, for the clash of ideas, appraisals and attitudes. Perestroika only stands to gain by all this. It needs a smart and inspired opponent on the right, on the left and in the center — among conservatives and neo-conservatives and among radicals and ultra-radicals. But only on one condition: there should be no hatred which may lead to violence. A normal democratic process means competitive spirit in everything, including the intellectual sphere, but it does not need a vanity fair or a literary version of Vyshin-sky, chief public prosecutor during the Stalin purges of the 1930s.

In all these discussions, on whatever side they may be conducted, I most emphatically reject attacks on the dignity of the opponent. It is possible to argue from any position and against any point of view. But it is inadmissible to intimidate anyone only because he does not share your views and convictions. It is all the more impermissible to do so by juggling with quotations,

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labels and concoctions. This is a sign of moral degradation, reviving the spirit of "special conferences", sham trials during the Stalin years.

Some of the recent public meetings too often saw attempts to find a scapegoat rather than ways and methods of solving our common problems. Currents of rhetoric have drowned what each of us should do right away to ensure for ourselves a better future. It is time to understand that this not only leads to hatred and dissociation in society but develops indifference, lack of principle and the absence of any conviction and moral standards. Isn't it time to stop?

Heated debates are as old as the world. It is much later that historians of art and literature exalt them by discarding all of no substance and ambitious and leaving only what really matters and has any artistic value. Let us remember the degree of intolerance which characterized literary debates in Russia in the 19 century. A century and a half later, people finally separated the husk from the grain, and their memory retains only the true giants of literature, thought, harmony and art. When I remember what pains these outstanding personalities had to go through in their search for the truth before they finally acquired vision, my heart starts bleeding at the sight of petty intrigues in our literary corridors: writers trying to bite and outbark each other in order to get into the limelight. I am sorry for them. All this is a sign of moral degradation.

Different people mingle in those corridors, and they are angry for different reasons: some — because they were born angry, others — because they lost the privileges they used to have; and still others — because they either have the inferiority complex or, on the contrary, think of themselves as men of genius.

These factional fights are sometimes conducted even by honourable and really talented writers, whose books advocate goodness and compassion. They neither look for personal gain nor strive for power. But they are in the grips of a burning and endless pain which has very real roots — an ecological catastrophe, for instance. They are confused, because they cannot find a remedy and ease their pain. In a state, when they can think about nothing but this agonizing pain, they, too, are tempted to search for the enemy. Paradoxical as this might seem, this happens because they are very sincere and trusting people.

Searching for the "enemy" is a social disease. It is especially dangerous at the present period, when we badly need national accord. Such searches are intolerable and immoral, for they are rooted in the psychology of the year 1937. And they become all the more horrible when they are of ethnic origin, when people are harassed because of their genealogical roots and those who do this find sadistic pleasure trying to establish the original names of the 200

mothers and fathers of their victims. A truly Russian intellectual always had a clear conscience, high moral principles, compassion for people in distress and a feeling of internationalism. Today, we rediscover this indigenous trait of Russian intellectuals, reading the great Russian philosophers of the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20 century, for whom, to our great regret, there was no room in the former Soviet Union.

As for the dispute between Slavophiles and pro-Westerners, I think that in its current form it is both artificial and too simplified. It is permeated with ideological speculations and animosity.

This outstanding dispute has been going on not only in literature, but in all the other spheres of cultural and social life throughout the history of Russian self-awareness. It emerged and developed because of the very position Russia occupied. I would like to note, however, that these principled polemics used to be conducted at a very high moral and ethical level. Unfortunately, that spirit has been lost nowadays.

The fundamental question was: should Russia develop according to her own, unique pattern, or should she borrow certain objectives, guidelines and patterns of development from the West? Initially, I believe, an answer to this natural and quite sincere question was given by life itself. It was a dialectical answer: Russia should pursue her own way and us* her own judgment, but she should not shun anything that proved of value in the experience of other countries and peoples.

So, what is there to argue about? And, also, why Slavophiles vs. pro-Westerners and not pro-Easterners? We could borrow a lot from Japan, India, China or the other ancient Oriental cultures.

Debates around Slavophilism went on and on. It was classified scientifically not only by revolutionary democrats led by Nikolai Chemishevsky, but such famous Russian philosophers as Nikolai Berdyayev and Vladimir So-lovyov. But Slavophilism of those times meant searches for the truth, not for the people who were to be intimidated.

In today's debates, in my opinion, Slavophilism is just a cover for superfluous disrespectful and base instincts. Slavophiles were decent people and real patriots who sought a special way for Russia. They thought that the West posed a threat to such a way, although objectively they were largely influenced by the West. They sincerely fought for the purity of the Russian language against unnecessary borrowings from foreign languages.

Slavophiles idealized Russia before Tsar Peter the Great but not the "oprichnina", special administrative elite under Tsar Ivan the Terrible. They were keen on Russian, Slavic uniqueness, but they did not provoke pogroms or searches for the "enemy" to protect it. Their views can be judged differently — politically, ideologically and practically, but they can't be accused of

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advocating anything immoral. They were honest thinkers, chroniclers, collectors and researchers of their country's culture. Their ideas are still of value and some of them are very topical at present. It is sacrilege even to suppose that Slavophilism — a philosophy of love for Slavs and their culture — can be a political base for anti-Semitism. Even Stalin wrote that "anti-Semitism, as an extreme form of racial chauvinism, is the most dangerous survival of cannibalism".

It is only to be regretted that a very serious idea of Russian revival is sometimes used today by the hysterical and reckless, who scare away those people who in their thoughts and actions seek the flowering of Russia. One won't make Russia any better with splits and riots. Russia needs unity and a new vision of her centuries-old uniting and consolidating strength, rather than calls which provoke hatred. It is necessary to rekindle the feeling of dignity and compassion in the nation, rather than inflate suspicion. The country needs a triumph of free labour in a free land.

Question: What is to be done so as to channel all polemics, whether political or literary-critical, onto a constructive course?

A n s w e r: It is increasingly important to do this. But in a democracy nothing can be done unless there is a will for a dialogue on all the sides and unless growing "cannibalism" is condemned and arrested.

It is also necessary to restructure social relations, for it is these relations that predetermine both the degree of alienation and the moral situation. It is necessary to restore a high culture of communication. In actual fact, we have never had a need for either a constructive dialogue or its moral environment. For decades we strove to be manageable and ready to deliver. We pretended to have a vigorous life, demonstrating our "monolithic unity" and escalating the struggle for different causes. We have now to change all that. Which is only possible through changes in social conditions and cultural attitudes.

Let us take relations between different social and professional groups and between nationalities. Some stand to gain from flare-ups of ethnic differences. Some try to drive a wedge between the authorities and the people. Some reproach our peasants because they allegedly cannot feed this country. It is crystal clear, however, that peasants have nothing to do with the situation. Any peasant knows that in a vast country like ours, with its bad roads, grain and potatoes should be stored by those who produce them, and that no one needs annual noisy campaigns for bumper crops and competition in stupid bungling. Taking in crops, storing and processing grain has always been the prime concern of peasants, which kept them busy from spring to autumn. But since Stalin's time, we have been pestering and nagging our peasants, as if they didn't know better themselves what to do.

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Some see all the evil in the intellectuals, who do everything wrong and cannot come up with anything of value in science, literature or the arts, and should, therefore, be "dethroned". There are people who are even convinced that the shelves in our stores would be well-stocked and everyone would work much better, if it weren't for glasnost.

This is another example of searching for the evil spirit.

A constructive dialogue is unthinkable without real professionalism, which is the only source of all constructive ideas. But does everyone want them? Constructive attitudes can kill some morally and materially. Reading papers, I can't overcome the feeling that we are ready to accuse anyone but ourselves for the inability and unwillingness to work.

We should improve the climate of our relations in big and little matters alike — both are equally important. It is a moral duty of our intellectuals and, in particular, our writers to lead and set an example in this field. I am not urging anyone to love someone to whom he or she takes a strong dislike or whose views and behaviour are subjectively appalling. But humanitarian norms of communication should be observed.

A constructive dialogue is not a debate or discussion on a specific issue in a certain place and at a certain time. It should become the general state of society, its psychology and practice. Only then we Will feel the results of our efforts and satisfaction in our hearts, and both our life and we ourselves will change. This is one of the goals of perestroika. But no constructive dialogue is possible without real freedom and in the absence of glasnost, when the information the public gets is strictly measured. There can be no constructive dialogue without democratic rules and a democratic outlook.

THE WHITE SOW

A team from Soyuzmiaso, a government organization in charge of meat procurement, arrived in the village for pig contracting.

A village nearby heard the news and, believing that the pigs would be removed witiiout pay, slaughtered off the entire stock in one night.

Only the blacksmith kept his big white sow with a black mark on her forehead.

The only pig in the whole village.

He did not have the heart to kill her and decided to trust to chance.

And the next day rumor got round that those who had slaughtered their pigs would be fined and, worse, sued for malicious livestock destruction.

"What are we to do now?" someone asked.

"What do you think? We're all in the soup now, 'cept the smith: he'll get his money and won't go to court neither".

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"Our folks have butchered theirs, too, to the last pig" said a peasant from the neighboring village where they had a collective farm. "When they're finished here, they'll be onto us, and what shall we do?"

"They'll start with you, Puzyrev", said the harness-maker. "The smith will be the last on the list, his house is at the very end".

"They're coming!"

The excited crowd waited, in grim silence, for the contractors to approach, as one might wait for a coroner at the murder site.

Puzyrev, who was to get his comeuppance first, suddenly darted through his hut door, bumping into his wife in the passage, whispered something to her and scurried off across the village backyards.
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