2023 Author: Leah Sherlock | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 12:28
One of the most famous works of English literature, the standard of Victorian poetry - the poem "Ulysses" by Alfred Tennyson, and today does not lose its relevance both from a poetic and semantic point of view. What did Tennyson write this piece about? What does the word "Ulysses" mean?
Ulysses is the Latin form of the name of Odysseus, king of the island of Ithaca from ancient Greek mythology. Tennyson's poem "Ulysses" is written from the point of view of Odysseus, and therefore named after him, in a form that was more common in Victorian England.
The translation of Alfred Tennyson's poem "Ulysses" into Russian by Konstantin Balmont is considered canonical. This translation is very close to the original, retaining the literary phrase formations characteristic of translations of Victorian literature in the late nineteenth century.
A little good is that, the king of leisure, By the hearth, among the barren rocks, I distribute, near the withering wife, Incomplete laws this wild, What they save, sleep, eat without knowing me.
I have a rest from wandering, no, not a rest, I want to drink my life to the bottom…
But despite the maximum similarity with the English original, today Balmont's translation is very difficult to understand.
The situation was corrected by Grigory Kruzhkov - although his translation is not literal, it does not distort the original, while being more understandable for the modern reader.
What's the use if I'm a worthless king
These barren rocks, under a peaceful roof
Growing old next to a withering wife, Teaching the laws to these dark people? –
He eats and sleeps and listens to nothing.
Peace is not for me; I'll drain
To the drop of a bowl of wanderings; I always
Suffered and rejoiced in full measure…
History of Creation
The poem "Ulysses" Tennyson wrote in September 1833 at the age of 24. Many believe that under Ulysses, whose last voyage is described in the poem, Alfred Tennyson meant himself, but this is not entirely true. Barely graduating from Cambridge, prone to revolutionary sentiments and dreaming of a better future, Alfred Tennyson could hardly talk about the last voyage.
In August 1833, Tennyson's best friend and his sister's fiancé, Arthur Hallem, died of apoplexy. The young people became friends in 1829, during their student years. Friendship with Arthur influenced Alfred in many ways and helped him get out of a deep depression associated with the first years of study at Cambridge. Tennyson and Hallam spent a lot of time together, participated in the revolutionary conspiracy of Spanish politicians together, and soon became even closer when Arthur wooed Emily Tennyson. But suddenly the young man dies. It is not surprising if the poet, who literally deified his friend, after his death compared Arthur with a mythical hero, sailing away on his last journey behind the Achilles' heel. Speaking of the need to fight to the end, Alfred Tennyson may have hinted at the suspicion of Hallam's suicide.
Tennyson's Ulysses was first published in 1842. This happened only nine years after the poem was written.
Tennyson's "Ulysses" is a poem written in the form of a dramatic monologue. This is a kind of retelling of an excerpt from Homer's Odyssey about the last journey of Odysseus-Ulysses, who, in the poet's version, goes not to his homeland, but to a new journey to unknown lands.
Tennyson romanticizes his Odysseus, silent about his cruelty, but giving an exaggerated wanderlust and a desire to escape from the gray reality. He turns him almost into a kind of analogue of Byron's Childe Harold.
Also, a significant difference is Tennyson's silence about the "poly-wittedness", that is, the cunning and intelligence of Odysseus. Homer writes about it because it ismythological epic, but runs counter to the image of the romantic hero that Tennyson creates from his Ulysses.
As writer Anthony Burgess said of the form of Tennyson's "Ulysses" poem, it is "an austere and sophisticated monologue written in blank verse." In addition to the absence of rhyme, Tennyson's white verse is also devoid of strict meter - the change in the length of phrases and the placement of stresses in the performance of the poet turns into a special means of artistic expression. The first half of the poem, describing the boring life in Ithaca, measured and calm, expresses the slowness of speech and thoughts of Ulysses. But when he begins to recall the exploits and adventures, the rhythm of the verse gets lost, and the speech ceases to be measured - at this moment the reader seems to feel how Odysseus's heartbeat has quickened.
The use of deliberately long phrases in a poem is also an expressive means - compound and complex sentences emphasize the natural flow of thoughts of the lyrical hero. Last lines: "Dare, seek, find and never give up!" speed up the rhythm due to the enumeration, and it becomes clear - Ulysses and his sailors set off on a journey.
Influence and mention in other works
Alfred Tennyson's poem "Ulysses" became a textbook: it was studied in English schools of the 19th and 20th centuries (many of them are still being studied today). Many literary criticsthe work is called the standard of romantic poetry of the Victorian era. The thirst for knowledge, wandering and gaining new experience that sounded from the lips of Ulysses was in tune with the imperialist ideology of Great Britain, which promotes the expansion of British borders to the most remote places on the planet.
The most popular is the last line of the poem: "Dare, seek, find and not give up!", which has become winged: it is the motto of many educational institutions in the UK and some other countries. In 2012, she was chosen as the motto of the London Olympics. The phrase was also used in the epigraphs for the novels "Two Captains" by Kaverin and "His Majesty's Ship" by McLean. In cinematography, it has been used in films such as 007: Skyfall, Dead Poets Society and One Week.
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