Esperanto
Author: David Poulson


Kalman Kalocsay (conclusion)

Author: David Poulson
Published on: June 11, 1999

In my last article I presented, in Kalman Kalocsay's own words, some explanation as to why he chose to spend such an enormous amount of time and energy translating the works of other poets, rather than adding to his own meagre output of fine original verse. Although Kalocsay's reasons are sensible and convincing, as far as they go I, at least, am not wholly persuaded by them. It is true that Kaloscay had a very demanding profession which left him little time for creative effort but, like Thomas Hardy, who ceased to write novels in 1897, Kaloscay retired early (for health reasons) and financially secure.

Hardy, however, spent the last thirty years of his life producing a substantial body of excellent lyric poetry and a long verse drama, establishing himself as a major English poet. Why didn't Kaloscay, whose creative genius was obviously undiminished, follow the same path?

Well, although one of Esperanto's greatest innovators, Kalman Kaloscay was in some ways a very conservative individual. and, as such, he was very firmly established in a tradition begun by Zamenhof and firmly established by Grabowski

It is interesting that all four gentlemen were conservative members of the scientific-professional class. That tradition emphasized that the translation of literary masterpieces into Esperanto was of paramount importance and the main responsibility of Esperanto writers. Even when he was 80 years old, Kalocsay's opinions about this issue were largely unchanged. But I'll let him take up the story and present the arguments in his own words.


In my opinion (he said) original works of Esperanto literature are neither impossible nor, indeed, undesirable. However, I do believe that translations of literary masterpieces into Esperanto should in no way be under-valued or discouraged.

Instead of a long argument, I'll just say that the task of writing a competent translation requires that "solution of difficult problems" which Zamenhof insistently recommended. Conversely, as Kabe said, when you are writing an original piece you can always, in one way or another, extricate yourself from a difficult situation and avoid the need to translate expressions for which it is hard to find an exact Esperanto equivalent.

Moreover, outside Esperanto-speaking circles, it is much more impressive to be able to list the translated works of, for example, Shakespeare, Calderon, Goethe, Heine, Moliere, Racine, Baudelaire, Ibsen, Pushkin, Tolstoy, Gorki, etc. than it is to boast about a dozen or so books of original poetry written by certain individuals that the rest of the world has never heard of.

And for the enthusiastic Esperantist, the conquest of a world masterpiece ought to produce as much happiness as the creation of original Esperanto poetry and prose. In fact, Lejzerowicz years ago went so far as to argue that Esperantists, scattered through many different countries, do not live a social life capable of providing a theme for a novel or drama. I do not, myself, hold that opinion. Emba showed in his "Maria kaj la Grupo" that there can be enough conflicts for a novel within an Esperanto group. If his little work did not become a masterpiece, the cause lay, not in the subject matter, but in the hasty and superficial treatment of it.


And there we are. Somewhat laboriously we have revealed an important fact about Esperanto which was certainly not obvious to me from the start and which would be completely beyond the comprehension of most people, I would venture to say. For Esperanto to survive and support a speech community of any size it needed to be - and still needs to be - developed and expanded by men and women of vision and genius who prove to themselves (and to anybody else who takes the trouble to find out) that Dr Zamenhof's prototype contained within it the potential to become a literary language of the first rank.

And now, since I received in the mail yesterday Sandor Petofi's 57 page poem "Johano la Brava," translated from the Hungarian by Kalman Kalocsay, it's time for me to stop writing and start reading.

See you next time!

(HOME)

PRI TUTKOMUNA LINGVO
PRI RUSA LINGVO
PRI ANGLA LINGVO
PRI ALIAJ NACIAJ LINGVOJ
BATALO DE LINGVOJ
ARTIKOLOJ PRI ESPERANTO
"" PRI "KONKURENTOJ" DE ESPERANTO
LECIONOJ DE ESPERANTO
.KONSULTOJ DE E-INSTRUISTOJ
ESPERANTOLOGIO KAJ INTERLINGVISTIKO
TRADUKO DE MALSIMPLAJ FRAZOJ
TRADUKOJ DE DIVERSAJ VERKOJ
FRAZEOLOGIO DE ESPERANTO
, . VERKOJ DE ZAMENHOF KAJ PRI LI
, PROKSIMAJ MOVADOJ
ELSTARAJ PERSONOJ KAJ ESPERANTO
PRI ELSTARAJ ESPERANTISTOJ
. EL HISTORIO DE RUSIA E-MOVADO
KION ONI SKRIBAS PRI ESPERANTO
ESPERANTO EN LITERATURO
. KIAL E-MOVADO NE PROGRESAS
HUMURO PRI KAJ EN ESPERANTO
- ESPERANTO POR INFANOJ
DIVERSAJHOJ
INTERESAJHOJ
PERSONAJHOJ
/ DEMANDARO / RESPONDARO
UTILAJ LIGILOJ
IN ENGLISHPAGHOJ EN ANGLA LINGVO
PAGHOJ TUTE EN ESPERANTO
NIA BIBLIOTEKO


All rights reserved. With any use of materials, a link to the site miresperanto.com is required!