Esperanto
Author: David Poulson


Esperanto and Cinema Part Two (Jean Forge)

Author: David Poulson
Published on: July 23, 1999

Jan Fethke was born in Opole, Poland, on the 26th of February 1903 and he died on the 16th of December, 1980. It did not take long for him to demonstrate both his talent for languages and his creative writing ability. His first novel, The Stuffed Parrot, appeared (in German) in 1920 when he was only 17. While still studying at a polytechnic college, he was employed by a daily newspaper published in Gdansk, and later he edited national-language journals in Paris, Warsaw and Berlin.

He was also a professional film-maker and I will have quite a bit to say about that aspect of his career in my next article.

In the world of Esperanto, however, Jan Fethke is much better known by his pseudonym, Jean Forge, so I'll call him by that name as I review his achievements and ensure that his important contribution to the history and development of Esperanto is properly acknowledged in this series of articles.

In 1919, when he was 16 years old, Jean Forge heard about Esperanto and quickly learned it, as did his brothers Edmund and Stefan. In fact, Forge became so proficient in the language so quickly that only three years later, in 1922, he began to assist in the production of a weekly journal called Esperanto Triumfonta.

This journal, which was published from Horrem, in Germany, was the fore-runner of the outstandingly successful newspaper, La Heroldo de Esperanto. Despite sincere efforts to keep my wife happy by keeping my personal library down to absolute essentials, I still have a bundle of back issues of La Heroldo de Esperanto which I just can't bring myself to discard. Of more interest to my readers will be the information that I receive every week, by e-mail, a summary of news from the world of Esperanto courtesy of, yes, La Heroldo . This very useful service is offered free of charge and you can get more information by writing to: heroldo@tin.it

Before the Second World War, Forge and his brothers were very active participants in the Polish Esperanto movement. For example, in 1931 they organized a lecture tour in Poland and several other countries for the Nigerian Esperantist, Kola Ajayi. An account of this event, under the title "Nia Nigra Filo", ("Our Black Son"), is included in Forge's collection of short pieces, La Verda Rakedo ("The Green Racquet") which was published in 1961. The following year, Forge conducted Esperanto classes in Sweden, Hungary and Poland, using a new teaching method developed by Andreo Cseh, a Hungarian Catholic priest from Transylvania.

Cseh's technique was first popularized in 1929 at the International Esperanto Conference (U.K.) held that year in Budapest. It is a "direct method" way of teaching, relying a great deal on fun and amusement and course leaders need to have at least as much dramatic as pedagogical talent in order to run this type of language class successfully. It would appear that Jean Forge, (who by this time had produced several films) possessed the required dramatic talents and creative energy and, as the above dates show, he adopted the Cseh-method very quickly after it was first introduced. At any rate, he was sufficiently popular to be invited to import the method into other countries. (The motto for Cseh-method courses was "Ridi lernante", or "Laugh while you're learning.")

This teaching and promotional activity was carried on in what little time Forge had left after his professional work, his Esperanto journalism, and his creative writing. Let me go back a little to 1923 when, at the age of 20, and only four years after he had first encountered Esperanto, Jean Forge published his first novel in the international language. Abismoj, as it is called, is a very interesting work for many reasons, particularly when we consider the age of its author and the short length of time had known Esperanto. Fortunately, it was re-printed in Finland in 1973 and may still available for purchase. (However, I myself bought the last copy available in Australia).

Let me first quote from the author's Foreword.

"In this work," he says, " I want to satisfy the taste of the modern reader by creating something which, both in style and content, resembles and favourably compares with contemporary novels written in national languages. But I want to write this modern work using the Esperanto of 1887 and make it internationally comprehensible and independent of any kind of national language idiom." Of course, what was considered a modern novel in 1923 is a long way from what we would regard as a modern novel today. We are not talking about cyberpunk here. Here's the place to go for information about that. http://www.well.com/conf/mirrorshades/cpunk.html

But it is interesting to note that the literary convention which Jean Forge adopted, the re-telling of the story by four different protagonists, each of whom contributes a little more to the reader's understanding of what really happened, was later adopted by two much more famous writers (there are probably others of whom I'm unaware) first, eight years later by Virginia Woolf, in her novel The Waves, and then, much later and on a much more ambitious scale, by Lawrence Durrell in his fine series of novels known collectively as The Alexandrian Quartet.

As for the style of Abismoj it is a model of classical, Zamenhofan Esperanto. In his critical study of Esperanto writers, De pag^o al pag^o, the Hungarian writer Lajos Tarkony described Forge's style with a very neat phrase as: "Facila, vigla, rulanta Esperanto". ("Easy, lively, rolling Esperanto.")

As our affable wild man - "Labestulo" - has already pointed out (thank you, Barry!)in the discussions related to the previous Topic article, the works of Jean Forge, if you can get them, are very suitable reading for people who have completed an intermediate course in Esperanto and who are ready to study some exemplary prose works with a view to extending their vocabulary and developing a good prose style.

More next time about Jean Forge, his novels, and his films.

(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!