Second Life of Narts and Daredzans: An Essay on Russian Verse Translations from Ossetian Folk Epos

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Abstract

The process of recording and publication of the texts of Ossetian folk epic literature has its own history, directly related to the evolution of Ossetian Enlightenment. Its most important landmarks have been registered and described in detail; first of all, the material has been divided into periods and classified in the ethnographic, cultural-historical and sociopolitical aspects. This article is devoted to elaboration on its purely philological characteristics and poetic features. Even an introductory survey lets us single out the main parameters of this vast literary stratum. First, the Ossetian folk epos has been recorded both in Ossetian and in Russian, which fact did reflect the bilingual nature of Ossetian literature. Secondly, the Ossetian folk epos has been represented by two epic cycles: the Nart and the Daredzan sagas. Thirdly, the Ossetian folk epos exists in written form in two literary genres: prosaic and poetic. It is evident that the recording of Ossetian folk epic literature means the fixation of the interior, immanent archetypes of ethnic artistic mentality, and of the peculiar rhythms of folk poetic breathing. In this respect, of special interest are the Russian verse translations and interpretations as texts that: declare this lore at the outside contour of the Ossetian culture and serve as a means of spiritual communications among Russia’s ethnic communities; intrinsically match the internal with the external, and the immanent with the borrowed; and represent a product with a vividly expressed author’s individual inception. These texts, viz. the translations and adaptations of Ossetian folk epos performed at various times by A.Z. Kubalov, S.M. Gorodetsky, G.G. Maliev, D.A. Gatuev, V.A. Dynnik, Rurik Ivnev, as well as the unpublished experiments of Ada Vladimirova and Mussa Khakim, became the subject of this study. In this article, we have put forward the challenge to: perform a general recording of the previously known texts in the chronological order, with the designation of their main peculiarities and most typical circumstances; put into general practice data on the newly found texts of the shown type; and generalize the material according to dynamic and properly poetic criteria.

About the authors

Irlan Sergeevich Khugaev

Vladikavkaz Scientific Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Author for correspondence.
Email: shmiksel@rambler.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8838-5157

Ph.D, a Leading researcher of the Integrated Research Department

1, Williams Street, village of Mikhailovskoye, Prigorodny district, RNO-Alania, 363110, Russian Federation

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