90 years ago was born Natalia L. Trauberg (1928-2009) – translator from English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, these days, talking about it, invariably has been: “She gave us Chesterton and Lewis”. The anniversary of her birth we had chosen some colorful excerpts from interviews and memoirs of Natalia Leonidovna
- Natalia Trauberg – When all emigrate… (+ Video)
- Natalia Trauberg: The Way (+Video)
- In memory of Natalia Trauberg: the Commandments of the Beatitudes and little blue flowers
- Gilbert Chesterton: the Secret of life is in laughter and humility – an interview with N.L. Trauberg
About the hard times
(From the magazine “neprikosnovennyi zapas”)
– In the early 50-ies during the campaign against cosmopolitism your father was declared a cosmopolitan, you’re out of a job. As you have experienced that difficult time?
– I was sitting at home, was in despair. I didn’t get anywhere, even to teach at the school. And again I saved Chesterton: then I read the novel “Migratory tavern”. It’s an amazing book, in my opinion, the best dystopia. In my reading, I came to the poems, which many years later turned Tosha Jacobson. In his translation they are as follows:
In town, fenced impenetrable darkness,
asked in Parliament
someone was going home.
No one is responsible.
The house is not on the way.
Yes all are dead now,
and no one to go home.
But people still Wake up,
they make amends for that.
For regret the Lord
your sick country.
Died and risen, want to go home.
His soul uplifted,
Want to go home.
Legs are wounded,
And your body will be broken,
but to get home.
The shackles will fall through the years.
Who else wants freedom?
Who else wants to win?
I can’t tell you what happened to me when I read these lines. And now, when I remember those years, the beginning of 1951 seem to me in the dark of night, then with me not to greet half the town. Someone said that the voice of Chesterton like the call of a fighting pipe. However, military assimilation not good for Christians. But it was the same case: after reading these verses, I kind of woke up from a bad dream and came to life. Realizing that Chesterton is the most important, I literally “clung”.
From an interview with Thomas
– I often talk about it, and this is very important, because my journey to faith is both typical, and atypical for my generation. I was born in 1928. I have a very different grandparents and parents. About their Jewish grandfathers and grandmothers will not speak, because they were unbelievers. They were very nice people, but if deep down belief they still lived in appearance is not reflected. My grandfather came from Odessa to Saint Petersburg a few years before the revolution, or, as he said, “before the riots”. To get the right of residence, he had to be baptized and he was baptized in the reformed Church. But the family was completely not religious.
But my mother’s family was very religious, Orthodox, and they baptized me in infancy. Mom and dad running around somewhere, and I was in the hands of my grandmother, great-grandmother – she was alive back then – and the nanny who raised not only me but also my mother and my aunt. The three of them and raised me in the faith, took me to Church. And then took many, but often it was just a formality, and in my case it was very serious. They raised me that made sense to me, read to me what I had preached and taught very good things. Six years I could not imagine how it is possible not to yield to the weaker. Compare how now sometimes adolescents go to communion, pushing all – why, they’re children, they need to skip the first! I’m such in a nightmare could not imagine. The norm was to give, to help, to share…
I realize now that this was the real miracle is that my grandparents managed to raise me as they saw fit, regardless of the era outside the window. They gave me one of those books that felt right from his childhood, from mom’s childhood. When I read the magazines “Fire”, “pioneer” or Arkady Gaidar – I was just sick from this. However, much later I realized that Gaidar is a good writer, sincere in all this ideology of strong, talented, and deeply unhappy. But then I got sick in the face – though not in life, and on the pages of books – with cruelty. That’s how they are, my grandmother, was able in the thirties to teach a child that violence is a terrible, godless, God it was banned?
Then, of course, started all sorts of oddities. Do not think that they raised me in that spirit that, say, around you bad children, unbelievers, and you are a believer. Not at all! So much so, that when my grandfather, my mother’s father – at that time already “disenfranchised”, said: “How she will go to the pioneers, it’s such a horror: Pavlik and so on!” – then the nurse told him (to his former master, among other things, she remembered): “why, Nicholas, what do You want to Natasha came out and said, you pionerskii, the bad, and I’m good? Not Christian’s. Let him go to Pionerskiy. If we failed to raise in eight years, it is more nothing to do can not. And to offend pionerskom impossible.” That thought grandpa, I don’t know, and my grandmother – the person is quite strict to himself and to others, hesitated.
In the end, I joined the pioneers and stayed there for three months. Apparently, my grandmother raised me are still not enough, because I was immediately overcome by ambition. I, as a well-read lady, was a good student, and I immediately began to push for leadership positions: team leader first, then the Chairman of the unit. My aunt, when found out, just rolling with laughter. I quietest girl – and the Chairman of the unit?!
In short, in ten years, I began to make a political career. Well, the age my ambitious temptations promoted. At that age want to stand out. Remember, this is still blessed Augustine in his “Confessions” he wrote. He, however, pears were stolen, being a little older, sixteen. But when I was ten has managed to namestate: this is true, because I’m so well at school, and now I’ll be respected…
But there it was! Since September, I got sick so that generally no longer went to school, never! Since fourth grade I was home schooled, and “an affair with a pioneer” in my life ended.
At sixteen I graduated from high school. About the same time I broke up with a nurse and grandmother – a nurse died and the grandparents on the maternal side remained in the Ukraine – they went there before the war, because in Leningrad they remain dangerous. There they survived the occupation…
About the war
From an interview with Thomas
– During the war I was evacuated, we were taken to Alma-ATA. The internal state I was very vague. Maybe it was not a physical fear, terror, but it was very difficult and I prayed constantly. Especially in the first two years of the war were the most difficult. So our family is not particularly in poverty – I am ashamed to say that we suffered, when there are people dying from hunger, my Auntie survived the siege… the Filmmakers lived not so difficult in those days – even shamelessly good. But I was suffering from the other – from the fact that people are dying from all the brutality of the military. And I prayed, sat huddled and prayed, to the war ended to persecuted Jews – they are, however, still pursued, in spite of my prayers. But I very well remember, how in 43-m to year at midnight I prayed.
And then suddenly, for fifteen years, I became a girl, love poems, and generally have gone to the head of solid foam. In short, again, twenty-five. The same vanity. Only now not the Chairman of the unit, I wanted all looked at me pretty, and so I read poetry, and to found a handsome Prince, and so on. But this fracture has made me even somewhat better because before that I was a girl, dark and crazy.
But the Church I just moved away. There, in Alma-ATA, there was no Church. One time I saw a Church somewhere insanely far away, when he died my paternal grandfather, Zakhar Davidovich. And the mother, who before the war had started worrying about me – something long the girl goes to Church, and in fact already large, 10-12 years, it is time to stop, the mom now she took me to Church. They found a priest (and then it was very difficult to do), read the burial service, Zahara Davidovich, who technically was a Protestant, but did not pay attention to it, it was a purely formal gesture. Mom’s grandfather was loved, respected… And the God he apparently believed. It was late autumn of 1942.
Then we returned to Leningrad, from Ukraine came, grandma came to live with us (grandpa nick had already died). I don’t go to Church and don’t go… there I go, crying myself have cant soar with the spirit, doing the middle ages, consider themselves terribly religious, romantic dream of all of those princes on white horses. About traditional Church think all this is nonsense, and I’ve already surpassed… in short, are as silly – a sort of romanticism of the intellectuals of the nineteenth century.
So went my entire University period. I read a lot, knew a lot about Western faith, but, as our Western friends, “not practiced”, that is not communed and is not confession. That is believed that I have nothing to repent… And I still swear neophytes, with such a past: a girl who is thirteen years of age went to Church – and so suddenly!
In 18-20 years, I fell in love, felt that love – above all else. Love, as usual, was miserable, my dearie were married. But I believed that love is above all these conditions, marriage and so on. It saw me even my old French teacher and asked, “Natalie, you’re in the Church go? As Marya Petrovna (grandmother) allowing this to happen?”. I said, “What’s the difference, go or not go, Marya Petrovna never asks.” And Marya Petrovna, very tired, lost her husband, to adapt to the fact that it just lives in our family – she didn’t push me. Apparently, just prayed and waited.
And then began the “struggle against cosmopolitanism.” Put my friends. I got a job in graduate school as I wanted, but it has already become clear that on the receipt there may not be considered. I just got a job at the Institute. And before that I was a whirlwind: I, like many then, confessed, that the intelligentsia was to blame for the people. Therefore, it is planted to my friends, I thought that this “inherent penalty” that we are all guilty before the people and now no what should not complain. Of course, to describe all that was done I got in the shower, in the head and in other places I can’t.
And then it happened. I’m out of work, and with wild shame, the story came out absolutely Kafkaesque – despite the fact that a lot of good people pitied me and helped me. Both believers and unbelievers. Grandma prayed about me. And in the winter after I was kicked out (when I was 22), icy town where already half the people don’t communicate with us, where tomorrow can put the Pope as “cosmopolitan” – that’s when I returned to Church, and believed as then, in six years. Grandma was very pleased, and the parents… well what can I say? To break the fifth commandment does not want to, I love them very much… but we have them were very large discrepancies. Dad, while you were very busy, didn’t pay much attention to my religion. Well, a growing daughter, crazy – okay. But mom was worried – she told dad that daughter’s crazy so that must have something to do. But dad seriously not bothered by this, he was so broken up about what is happening, and I must say that the last six years of his long life – he lived for 89 years he spent as sufferings of job. Torn clothes, talked about how fearful he lived, very deeply repented.
But back in those years. When I was 25 years old, my mother went on a decisive step. She brought the wolf messing, I have to wean from the Church. We then moved to Moscow, and mom somehow tracked down the girl invited him to visit us. It was almost impossible but she did it. My mother, she was very energetic and knew how to achieve their goals. The last effort she saved her daughter anyway, as she sincerely believed.
And here, I came to us I sit pray, trembling. And I said to my mother: “first, it’s impossible, and secondly, if it were possible, I would never do it.”
Well, after everything was going as it went on, what is there to tell? A normal religious life, but it’s a very lonely – very few believers then were in Moscow, although he was.
Now the answer to the question of how I took that day, June 22, when they announced the war. For me this day every year is special, I’m off of all, pray. And then, in the 41st year, I have experienced absolute horror. And he continued to do for two years. But on the first day, that fear was absolutely inhuman. And fear for all. I was already selfish enough greenhouse girl who sat with books, some verses got – but then, that day, I have a split heart. Still for me this is a forbidden topic to me even the word “war” hard to say.
So I remember 9 may 45-go year. May 8, mother was the actor Cherkasov – she was friends with him and his wife (I must say that later, during the “fight against cosmopolitanism” they were wonderful, very helpful father), and night called home by some Western radio Cherkasov heard, if you’ve already signed the papers of surrender of Germany. I didn’t sleep, then we spent the whole day walking around the city with University friends in a state of full, Sunny happiness.
About languages and translation
From interview “to the Russian magazine”
– Do you read in Spanish, English, French, German, Portuguese… Where did you learn all these languages?
– In the childhood I was teacher of French and German. Mom believed that I should be brought up in the same way as it was raised. At the age of 11 I realized that if my favorite books (“Little women,“ “the Little Princess“), written in English, then I’ll read them in the original. And since I already knew French and German, read in English and to 16 easy on it read. And taught it. For some time I could not get purely English diploma in order to teach at the school because I was not given the Anglo-Saxon. (When I was in University, I wanted to become a Medievalist.) Then at University I became interested in Spanish, we taught him from scratch. But my favorite language is English.
‘Do you remember the moment when I first thought, “Yes, I’m a translator!”?
– In the third year, so I thought. I felt like I was flying, but this flight clearly I imagined. Then I translated a lot of authors up to the Yates and were drunken with him.
– Now, if you look back, what works you have succeeded as a translator?
I like to translate, but I’m never completely satisfied with his work.
– Who are your favorite authors? Or this is a wrong question because tastes change over time?
Recently in Oxford I said, “If you don’t have to earn money, who would you have translated?”… Well, in that case I would translate only the Wodehouse and Chesterton. This is my favorite authors.
– What do you think, are there untranslatable works?
– Probably not. Just need to find a translator that is able to reproduce a similar individual style within a language. Another question is to look for such a person for very long. Until 1989, I thought Woodhouse untranslatable. (In Russian were available then castrated Woodhouse is a translation, done in 20 years.) Slang like “guys”, “cool” or “you” in reference to the servant would look simply vulgar… in Reading Chesterton , even in a bad translation, not always true, but I see that this writer thinks something is good. And Woodhouse in addition to the language nothing. He all woven from different shades of words… But at the end of 1989 I took a cycle about Lord Emsworth and his pig. Translating the short story “Lord Emsworth and the girlfriend”, I realized that, firstly, work with the works of Wodehouse is for me a great joy, and, secondly, it’s my pleasure to write and speak for the characters. And what comes out of it – to the reader to judge.
– Do we have many published works, ruined Russian translation?
– Very much, and this is due to low-level interpreters. Now the translated works often poorly constructed and syntactically weak sentences, a mixture of kantselyarita with Fenya… Well, nothing. Present state of literature in translation – the price we have to pay for freedom.
From an interview with Thomas
– When You began to translate Lewis?
– On Trinity Sunday 1972 I was at Moscow, in the New Village, in the temple, where he served as father Alexander Men. After the Liturgy, I approached father Sergius Zheludkov, gave a little English book called “The problem of pain” (which, as it turned out, he gave Nadezhda Yakovlevna Mandelstam) and asked to see it – is it worth it to translate and run in samizdat. Such requests about foreign Christian literature to me periodically applied. Moreover, in most cases it was purely a special book, interesting only to a few.
I picked up this book. About the author, I knew absolutely nothing except that he was friends with Tolkien – it told me Vladimir Ants, the first with Andrei Andreyevich Kistiakowsky translated “Lord of the Rings”. In the train I started to read and at the end he was ecstatic. A few months later I finished the translation and gave “Suffering” (as we called the book) to the samizdat. Since then I began to put foreign publications Lewis, and I was translating. Even the standards set in year one book or fifteen or twenty essays.
– How did You know who C. S. Lewis?
– From Vladimir Muravyov. He then worked in the Library for foreign literature, the international Department, and he had ample opportunity to get acquainted with the works of Western writers.
– And how did the fate of translations of Lewis?
– Over time, and others began to translate it into Russian. Basically, in “samizdat” format. For example, were translations of Tatyana Shaposhnikova – it was she, incidentally, has translated “the Screwtape Letters”, and the name “troublemaker” she came up with (although, in my opinion, not too good, “Gnosis” is really a godsend). And in the 70-ies in Leningrad came the first part “Chronicles of Narnia” “the lion, the witch and the wardrobe” in Galina Ostrovskaya Arsenievna. The publisher just did not think that it is a religious tale.
But the real issue Lewis we have only started in the late 80-ies. In 1988 I was called by Vyacheslav Ivanovich Kuraev (father of deacon Andrei Kuraev) – he headed the editorial Board of philosophy in the “Politizdat”, which is then transformed into a publishing house “Republic” and asked permission to print Lewis and Chesterton, two volumes. Then just removed the “ban on religion” and allowed to print all… How could he know about Lewis? Most likely from his son.
Two years I was engaged in preparing a translation for publication. I must say, it was not so easy – in the samizdat translations revealed many inaccuracies, mistakes, discrepancies, and drafting the plan called for a very tight deadline, and we had to stay up all night. But we nevertheless produced a volume that included “mere Christianity” and several essays by Lewis, and also a volume of Chesterton – “the Eternal man”.
Since in Russia there were many different editions of the Lewis. But the most complete and most verified – is the eight-volume collected works, the first volume of which was published in 1998, the centenary of the author, and the last eighth in 2004. Now preparing for the publication of his “Allegory of love” – scientific work, considered a classic of English Philology.
– Natalia Leonidovna, and changed Your perception of Lewis? And if so, in what direction?
– Of course, varied. More and more I realized that he is struggling with a witness with a mentor. And mentor too often wins. At first I didn’t notice it, it seemed to me that he is primarily a witness to the truth of Christ, that through his books people has changed dramatically. And then I saw: it’s not so simple. People read Lewis, I repeat it, the build is primitive, if theological, brilliant, if purely apologetic, transferring through the door of faith or the supply to it… Repeat… And the rest of them remains as it was. And it turns out that serving two masters is very comfortable and even pleasant… At least, Lewis does not prevent it. And here, for example, Chesterton is a hindrance. But this is my personal rating, and its unconditional correctness I do not insist.
Don’t get me so that reading it is not necessary. Just better to start with others. A reading of Lewis to understand that this is not all. Lewis affects the mind, but the impact on the heart much stronger.
From the magazine “neprikosnovennyi zapas”
– Natalia Leonidovna, you were the first translator, who opened for the Russian reader “the other” by Chesterton, a Christian writer and thinker. A you yourself when I met with the Chesterton?
– When in the autumn of 1944 we returned from evacuation to Peter, I just rushed to learn English. I gave lessons in fluent English Communist. My father in the library was a lot of English detective stories, and my teacher Rinaldo read them. But I detectives Chesterton liked much less than the novels of Agatha Christie or Nao March, for example. In 1945 Rinaldo planted. A in 1946, I took in the Publichka “the Return of don Quixote” Chesterton and absolutely fell in love with this book and its author. When I was eighteen and I was friends with a boy, now he’s a respected Professor, a student of Olga Mikhailovna Freidenberg. Now, we’ve been playing the heroes of the book by Chesterton. We agreed that he, Michael Faure, and I was Olivia. This is very similar. There’s a Prim young lady with a love for the old days. And I adored the middle Ages, was going to be medievistiki, and he was involved in the antiquity, the culture of the Maya. We really fell in love with Chesterton, but, of course, did not understand that he is a Christian writer. His books helped me through a terrible Zhdanov decree. I remember crying, reading the newspaper with the text of the resolution, but after a day I calmed down, because we played again in don Quixote. At that time the atmosphere in St. Petersburg had some of the Oxford-Sorbonne. It was a feeling that the whole nightmare is happening somewhere far away.