Vietnam celebrates 200th birthday of Gogol
Monument to NV Gogol in Rome, where he spent many years after leaving Russia.VietNamNet Bridge - As the father of modern Russian realism hits his second century, literature lovers join together to celebrate the year of Gogol.
An aged soprano, a retired diplomat and an amateur poet – what do they all have in common? A shared love for the man dubbed the father of modern Russian realism – Nikolai Gogol.
Writers, literary critics and language teachers flocked to attend a conference in Ha Noi to commemorate the 200th birthday of the Russian/Ukranian writer.
The event marked the start of celebrations of all things Gogol, as UNESCO announced 2009 as the year to honour the famous writer. It was jointly organised by the Russian Centre for Science and Culture, the Literature Academy and the East-West Cultural Centre.
Gogol was born in March 1809 in the village of Sorotchinsi in the Poltava Governate of the then Russian Empire – now present-day Ukraine.
His educated father wrote plays, poems and sketches in Ukrainian, and his mother was an observant Christian.
After finishing school, he headed to St Petersburg where he had his first short story published in 1831. Here he mixed with eminent Russian writers like Alexander Pushkin.
Gogol became one of the most acclaimed writers in the Russian literary tradition, but being Ukrainian-born, he has been claimed by both countries as their own national treasure.
The General Inspector was staged in Ha Noi in 1958 at the Hong Ha Theatre by the Dong Phuong Troupe.Speaking at the conference, Elena Skijaeva, director of the Russian Language Centre, a wing of the Russian Centre for Science and Culture, praised Gogol’s genius in using the Russian language to reveal Russian tsarist politics of the time. "Gogol’s pivotal contribution to the Russian-language literature is immense," she said.
His most important pieces include the play the General Inspector and the novels Taras Bulba and Dead Souls, which were all translated into Vietnamese in the mid 1960s from French versions. Recent editions were compared with the original publications in Russian.
Russian studies expert Pham Vinh Cu referred to the protagonist in Taras Bulba as a Russian equivalent of hero Tu Hai in Nguyen Du’s Tale of Kieu. "Their reasons for living do not imply prosperity, wealth and beautiful wives with children," Cu said, "but they do not kneel to the powerful, they disregard danger and death and affirm their right to live freely and set bright examples for the future generations."
Literary critic Dao Tuan Anh from the Literature Academy pointed to differences in idioms and word play between the French and Vietnamese editions. She called for better translations to be published in Vietnamese. There are currently only three editions of the above mentioned works. Anh also warned of the nuances lost in double translation that could twist the original artistic ideas of the author.
Through Viet Nam’s co-operation with the former Soviet Union, Gogol also entered Vietnamese artistic tradition. In the 1980s, at the height of their alliance, a tuong, or royal opera, based on Gogol’s work Taras Bulba was staged at Ha Noi’s Opera House for two nights.
Hundreds of thousands of students and workers were trained in Russia and other republics, which led them to become aficionados of Russian literature, poetry and language.
Now, as the Soviet Union no longer exists, sympathy and nostalgia for lost values – the grand ideals of brotherhood, friendship and socialism - still prevail among older generations, as does the lasting memory of the Russian literary icon.
Source : vietnamnet.vn
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