Institute of Scientific Information for Social Sciences
of the Russian Academy of Sciences
The Journal of Literary History and Theory
Peer-reviewed Academic Journal


Соколова Е.В.


Written during the period of national socialism in Germany, the poem “Turin” by Gottfried Benn (1889–1956) is inseparable from the sense of disaster. In addition to the personal disaster of Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900), who irretrievably lost his mind and spiritual strength in winter of 1889 at the end of his last stay in Turin (extremely prosperous and productive, according to his own statements), the poem also recreates the sense of catastrophe by the lyrical subject himself. In perception of Benn (a psychiatrist well acquainted with psychoanalysis) collapse, catastrophe is closely connected with the experience of duality, phenomena of doppelgangers, motifs of the Mask (Freud) and the Shadow (Jung), and his poem “Turin” symbolizes and reproduces such a tragic duality both through its content and its form. In the Russian translation by V.B. Mikushevich (the classic of translation of German-language poetry into Russian, whose own personality and work are distinguished by undoubted inner integrity) the problematic duality of the original poem is completely left behind the scenes. And some features of the original and translated texts suggest that the translator’s choice of a simpler and more unambiguous interpretation of Benn’s poem in this case is not due to limitations of the poetic form (meter and rhyme), but is rooted in the fundamental difference between the personalities of the translator and the poet, in a completely different direction of the translator’s own creativity – his invariable inner desire to integrate opposites into a new wholeness.


the 20 th century German literature; poetry translation; the problem of translatability; “Turin” by Gottfried Benn; Friedrich Nietzsche.

For citation

Sokolova, E.V. “‘Irreversible changes’: ‘Turin’ by Gottfried Benn and Its Russian Translation”. Literaturovedcheskii zhurnal, no. 3(61), 2023, pp. 160–174. (In Russ.) DOI: 10.31249/litzhur/2023.61.10

DOI: 10.31249/litzhur/2023.61.10

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