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MASOLIT or LITMOS? - Impressions and Expressions of Ijon
July 2nd, 2001
11:41 am

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MASOLIT or LITMOS?
Well, here's one difference between the old Hebrew translation of Master and Margarita and the new one. The new one (by Kriksonov) gives the name of the literary association headed by Misha Berlioz as MASOLIT, explaining it is a contraction of Moscow and Literature, in Russian. The old translation (by A. R.) renders it LITMOS.

What is the original Russian name, and what do you (O speakers of that tongue) think about these two translations, on this point?

Current Mood: Actually troubled by this
Current Music: Georges Brassens

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From:lbyf
Date:July 2nd, 2001 02:01 am (UTC)
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Well, it's MASSOLIT () in Russian, and I always thought it's M for "of Moscow", ASSO for "association" and LIT for "literary (men)". You may also notice, that MASSO is the beginning of the word "massovyi" (לאססמגי) - "popular". So it hints at the quality of this literature, I guess.
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From:ijon
Date:July 2nd, 2001 02:10 am (UTC)

Insight!

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Thanks for the insightful explanation! I now recall that Kriksonov explains this in his annotation. I'm reading the older translation now, and my copy of the new one is unfortunately lent out, so I can't crack it open to check these things.

I'll have you know it's quite frustrating to be unable to read your journal, nor cmm's, nor avva's.
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From:cmm
Date:July 2nd, 2001 02:24 am (UTC)

the secret language of birds

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the idea of creating an LJ community where we could read each other's deep thoughts in English had, indeed, crossed my mind. but then I thought that it would resemble a mailing list. and there already is one, and an under-used one at that...

you could try writing in Latin, maybe it'll make you feel better. ;)
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From:lbyf
Date:July 2nd, 2001 02:32 am (UTC)

Re:

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I'm thinking of posting in English for "a group of friends", meaning - for you and Gaal so far, but unfortunatly I can't double-post everything. It's a pity really, and I'm feeling guilty for this "language barrier" as they say in Russian. :(

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From:ijon
Date:July 2nd, 2001 02:47 am (UTC)

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They say "language barrier" in English and in Hebrew, as well.

I'll suggest to you what I'd suggested to Toly -- cook up a "weekly digest" sort of thing in English. That way we'll be able to read your interesting thoughts and ideas too, and soil them with our bland and shallow comments. :)
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From:khatul
Date:July 2nd, 2001 06:45 am (UTC)

In defense of polyglottism

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I would vote for learning Russian. It is exceedingly difficult to express "Russian thoughts" in English - or vice versa (insert any two languages here, it makes no difference). It takes the skill of a true translator to transplant the subtle texture of thought woven in one language to another. I have, with great strain and toil, done it with a degree of success - but never to my own poems or stories. It seems to me near impossible to re-think myself again in another tongue.

On a personal note, I paid additional attention to this fact when mikhael told me that poetic texts I write in different languages are quite dissimilar.

This is one of the reasons I started my own LJ in Hebrew: I feared losing the chance to daily think in written, lapidary style - in the language I hold dearer than all others.

Welcome to LJ, Asaf, and kudos for http://benyehuda.org !
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From:ijon
Date:July 2nd, 2001 07:39 am (UTC)

Re: In defense of polyglottism

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Your vote is met with unanimous agreement here. I fully intend to pick up Russian, but probably not in the coming five years, alas.

Until then, I'm interested in reaching an informed conclusion about the two translations of M&M into Hebrew. I'll keep all of you posted as I progress.
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From:lbyf
Date:July 2nd, 2001 07:46 am (UTC)

Thanks, Eli

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I thought that's obvious: if I write some "weekly digest" in my "English-which-is-under-construction", it'll be totally different from my charming Russian posts :). But I'll think what I can do about it.
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From:gaal
Date:July 2nd, 2001 08:35 am (UTC)

Re: Thanks, Eli

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May I propose, not as a rejection of polyglotism but as an immediate solution for those of us who want a common language, Cat as an alternative Esperanto. We all seem to know some of that language, even if we're not fluent in it.

Brushing up one's Cat is very likely to improve one's domestic life. At the very least, it will make the carpet grow less furry.
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From:ijon
Date:January 10th, 2002 07:27 am (UTC)

Re: Thanks, Eli

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So, do you have an English digest journal?
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From:lbyf
Date:January 10th, 2002 12:49 pm (UTC)

Re: Thanks, Eli

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No...unfortunately, I'm too lazy for that. I'm not even updating my Russian LJ every day.
But if I decide to have such a thing, you will know. Promise.
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From:avva
Date:July 2nd, 2001 06:43 am (UTC)
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Hmm, I haven't thought of that. Maybe.

By the way, ijon, note that maccolit (c is s in Cyrillic) is a rather well-known contemporary Russian writer Zhitinskyi.
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From:khatul
Date:July 2nd, 2001 07:16 am (UTC)

MASSOLIT

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The rendering of Massolit as Moskovskaja ASSOciacija LITeratorov (translated just as in lbyf's comment above) is, AFAIR, explicitly given by Bulgakov himself. The "Mass" connotation (in the sense of "mass culture") is quite well programmed into this word, as several slogans acronyms in post-Revolutionary Russian used the term "masses" (Russian massy) to indicate the common people.

Note that the "Black Mass" connotation, natural to an English speaker in a Satanic context, cannot be made in a Russian-language framework; "mass" as a Catholic prayer is, in Russian, "messa" rather than "massa". I confess that the first time this idea occurred to me is just now, while thinking of Bulgakov in English (for the sake of this comment).

Hebrew translations: the old one is quite unreadable, clumsy and has all the qualities of the Classical, Canonical, First Ever, Heroically Made, BAD translation. I have yet to read the new one, but, judging by fragments, rumours and what I know of Kriksounov, it has little choice but to be good.

By the way, just a month ago I encountered an Esperanto translation of the Master and Margarita. It is simply astonishing in quality! One of the most perfect translations I've seen!
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