New translationThe Brothers Karamazov
Fiodor Dostoyevskytranslated by:
Cezary Wodzinskiedited by:
Idalia Smyczyńska, Robert ZającPublished by:
Centrum Kultury w Lublinie
The new translation of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s “The Brothers Karamazov” expands on the translation prepared by Cezary Wodziński for the adaptation of the novel staged by the Provisorium Theatre (co-produced by the Centre for Culture in Lublin and the Association of Cultural Education) in 2011.
Wodziński’s translation is the first Polish version of the novel that is not only literary, but also prepared with the deep understanding of the philosophical context of Dostoyevsky and the authors he was inspired by. The idea of preparing a complete edition has appeared due to a very positive reception of the script translation – the reviews repeatedly emphasized radical changes made by Wodziński and the adequacy of these alterations in the context of the original Russian text. “The Brothers Karamazov” can be found on every list of the most important works of world literature, even those most narrow. A new translation of this magnitude will make it possible for Dostoyevsky’s works to be equally appreciated in Poland.
Cezary Wodziński – Polish philosopher, historian of philosophy, translator and essayist, professor and lecturer at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow. Between 1979 and 1985 he studied philosophy at the University of Warsaw. After graduating, between 1986 and 1998, he worked at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, at the Department of Modern Philosophy headed by professor Barbara Skarga and later by professor Stanisław Borzym (it became an independent research group in 1996). A member of the Collegium Invisibile. In 1989 he defended his PhD thesis entitled “Knowledge and Salvation. Study of Lev Shestov’s Thoughts”, supervised by professor Barbara Skarga. His habilitation thesis – “Heidegger and the Question of Evil” – was defended in 1994 and was awarded by the Polish Prime Minister. Since 2001 he has been a professor of the Jagiellonian University in Cracow.
“The Brothers Karamazov” does not only constitute the apex of Fyodor M. Dostoevsky’s writing and of the apogee in the development of the 19th-century novel, but is unquestionably one of the most important works in the entire history of world literature. It is suffice to recall the fact that Thomas Mann drew inspiration from the novel while writing “Doctor Faustus.” The novel has been translated into Polish several times, starting with the translation by Barbara Beaupré (1913), the translations by Aleksander Wat (1928) and Wacław Wireński (1929), to the latest translation by Adam Pomorski published in 2004. Was then a need for a new translation?
This question must be answered in the affirmative when the translator is none other than Cezary Wodziński – a well-known philosopher and a prominent expert on both hermeneutics and Russian philosophy. It is suffice to mention that professor Wodziński’s PhD thesis was entitled “Knowledge and Salvation. Study of Lev Shestov’s thoughts” and that a decade later he published the famous monograph “St. Idiot. An Apophatic Anthropology Design” devoted to the phenomenon of the yurodivy – a phenomenon placed in the very centre of Dostoyevsky’s fictional world (not just the title character of “The Idiot”, but also the figure of Alyosha Karamazov). In short, there are few people of letters in Poland as prepared for the task as Wodziński. And now we can say that this translation of “The Brothers Karamazov” will become an event.
“The play ‘The Brothers Karamazov” is an attempt at fulfilling a dream that I have had for years. “The Brothers Karamazov” is the “villainous book” of my youth. After various fascinations – with Milosz, Camus, Gombrowicz, Musil, Różewicz, it was the time for Dostoyevsky. Fragments of his writings have always appeared in my performances. Attempts at adapting masterpieces to theatre are almost always bound to fail. However, it is a tempting process. (…)
Fate has favoured this project. I have met the eminent philosopher Cezary Wodziński who translated selected fragments of the original text for me. And later – a group of outstanding actors who have trusted me: Adam Woronowicz, Łukasz Lewandowski, Marek Żerański, Magdalena Warzecha, Karolina Porcari, Mariusz Pogonowski, Romuald Krężel, Tomasz Bazan, Anastazja Bernad and Jacek Brzeziński. We have staged the performance at major theatre festivals in Poland and abroad: in Sibiu, Tbilisi, Moscow and others.