Merit of Iona Meunargia in translation and popularization of “The Knight in the Panther's Skin”
Keywords:Iona Meunargia, Zichy, Zutners, French translation
Scientific novelty of the work is the view in which it sees the merit of Iona Meunargia in translation and popularization of “The Knight in the Panther's Skin” seen from the first interest of a student to the end. Steps in this man’s life are presented chronologically: showing interest in Georgian archives of Paris national library; getting to know Victor Hugo and getting close to him; 1880 – creation of a commission responsible for clarification of the text of “The Knight in the Panther's Skin”; becoming the head of the commission; working with Zutners on perfecting French translation of The Knight in the Panther's Skin” from December 1884 to January-February of 1885; meanwhile, working on German translation of the poem; translation and publication of the poem’s short version in Russian in 1888 and 1890. Corresponding material have been found and analyzed using the method of analytic research. Iona Meunargia translated “The Knight in the Panther's Skin” in French language first of all for Hungarian painter Mihály Zichy so that he could read it and create illustrations for the poem. Iona was an active member of a commission determining the text of “The Knight in the Panther's Skin” since 1880. Handwritten texts of “The Knight in the Panther's Skin” were all being gathered with him and then they were comparing different texts to each other, studying them and combining into a final version. I. Meunargia was printing protocols of work of the commission and people were reading about how they were deciding what would be the real version of Shota Rustaveli’s poem. When it was time to publish, they took care of illustrations. Austrian writers, Arthur and Bertha Suttners, were working in house of Iona Meunargia during 3 months (from December 1884 to February 1885). They were helping their host in refining of the translation. The text was being translated into German at the same time but it is unknown whether the work was finished or not. Iona Meunargia gifted the second translation to the emperor Alexander II and his wife and sent the third translation to a Russian symbolist poet K. Balmont. This translation is considered lost as of today. It could be located in Balmont’s archive, in vaults of hermitage or in archives of Zichy. If it is found, it will be possible to find out whether it was translated in free verse poem (white poem in Georgian), as speculated by G. Sharadze or were the single line translations conveyed in prose. As it turns out, Iona has also published a short version of “The Knight in the Panther's Skin” into Russian, first written in Georgian and then translated. The translation was printed twice, first in 1888 and later in 1890.
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