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Translating India, constructing self

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Abstract

This article explores the translation activity of the Russian Silver Age symbolist poet Konstantin Bal&#8217;mont. He is unique among his peers in his choice of texts to translate, ranged from the ancient Indian drama which <i>Sakuntala</i> to the first Russian translation of the Mayan Epic <i>Popol Vuh</i>. Bal&#8217;mont&#8217;s role as translator of the Indian text inspired him to posit the Eastern drama as a solution to the cultural crisis of naturalism and positivism in fin-de-si&#232;cle Russian theater. More importantly, Bal&#8217;mont adopted and articulated a policy of text selection for translation into Russian that eschewed texts from classical antiquity, which were accepted and privileged by the West, opting instead for texts from &#8220;authentic&#8221; antiquities, such as India and Egypt. Bal&#8217;mont in his role as cultural mediator advocated translating truly ancient texts into Russian in order to delineate a more expanded understanding of the Russian self.Where are you, o unknown God,o future Rome?&#8211; Dmitrii Merezhkovskii, &#8220;Future Rome&#8221;Under the Himalayas, whose peaksreach Heaven&#8217;s splendor,I understood the clarity of the musesamid the valley mists.&#8211; Konstantin Bal&#8217;mont, &#8220;Fire&#8221;

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