“Nowadays there’s a shortfall of proletariat” – Translating "The Foundation Pit". Gabriele Leupold in Conversation with Christiane Körner
Platonov Readings I
Reading in Russian: Eugene Ostashevsky
Anyone who reads Platonov in the original is unable to withstand the appeal of this unusual literary idiom: it is a highly complex, innovative, almost “foreign” sounding Russian, an amalgam of the speech of ordinary people, party jargon and propaganda and a language enriched with philosophical and religious terms. It is characterised by the intertwining of the speech of the narrator and the figures. An unusual syntax, irregular grammar, a skewed lexis – Platonov reshapes the language and turns it into an instrument of discovery.
Any translation must involve intensive philological research and the linguistic repertoire of German literature since the expressionist period. Many works throw a new light onto the texts, be it the analysis of Platonov’s grammatical boldness or the “compaction” as a peculiarity of his narration. Christiane Körner, translator and publicist, talks to her colleague about the daring achievement of rendering such a work into German.