This essay investigates Gogol’s fiction through the lens of apophaticism, a theology embraced by the hesychasts of the Eastern Orthodox Church that utilized the negation of language in order to come into divine unity with God. An apophatic approach not only gives Gogol’s readers a new perspective from which to analyze his fiction, but also explains the tragicomedy of Nikolai Gogol’s life as a whole.
In this thesis I have translated a selection of poems of the contemporary Russian poet, Natalia Elizarova, into English. These translations provide a glimpse into modern Russian life that would not have previously been accessible to the English reader. They additionally capture the rich and complicated history of Russia in a very personal and emotional form. I have started with a comparison and analysis of different translation theories in order to give the reader a theoretical basis for my work. I specifically analyzed various theories of translation as applied to Eugene Onegin, the masterwork of the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, by three different translators. I then explain the conclusions I have drawn from this analysis, and how I have applied them to my own approach. I have included a short biography of Natalia Elizarova, as well as a translation of an interview with her good friend and former professor at the Gorky Literary Institute in Moscow, Tatiana Nikolskaya. This is followed by my translations of six of Natalia Elizarova’s poems with accompanying commentaries. Finally, I have presented my conclusions from my work, about my mixed theoretical approach to translation, as well as my conclusions on the meaning and importance of Elizarova’s poetry. I have also included an appendix, which contains the original Russian text of my interview with Tatiana Nikolskaya. I hope that my work can inform and interest readers in Russian culture, contemporary poetry, Natalia Elizarova, and translation theory, as well as aid future translators with my own theoretical conclusions.
Alexander Pushkin is considered the father of Russian literature. Works such as Boris Godunov and Evgenii Onegin help reveal his perception of what it is to be Russian, and Pushkin's relationship with Alexander I and Nikolai I demonstrate his way of attempting to reconcile the disconnect between the people and the tsar. It is important to understand that Pushkin as a writer is different from the myth that people have associated him with. Misunderstanding who Pushkin is has made it easy for leaders such as Stalin to manipulate the idea of Pushkin in order to control and upkeep morale of the people. The following is an attempt at understanding who Pushkin was and what his beliefs were, and in doing so comprehending why it is so easy for people to elevate and equate this particular individual's life with a martyr, whose image came to represent Russian national identity.