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Blake Among the Slavs: A Checklist

In the summer of 1973, when work took me to Åbo,[e] Finland, I paused to relish the bizarre neo-classical splendors of Leningrad, and while I was there I went to the enormous M. E. Saltykov-Shchedrin State Public Library, where Lenin had worked. It is an enormous building, housing, it is said, some 20,000,000 works, and is rather difficult of access, partly because the entrance is hard to find. Inside, one is asked for a pass—or at least I assumed that is what we were asked for. My daughter, who speaks some Russian, managed to get us in touch with Miss Fanny Barnofsky, who very kindly took us up to the catalogues. I had hoped to look up Blake, but I was prevented by my total ignorance of the Russian alphabet from even finding the correct drawer.11 | 1b | 1 Note that the question of how to transliterate is sometimes a difficult one and that, for example, the same letter may apparently be transliterated as “B” or “V”—or at least it was by my learned friends. I was about to give up in self-disgust, when the head of the catalogue department came up to help me and, on finding that I just wanted to discover what non-English works they had on William Blake, very generously said that he would have such a list compiled for me. On my protesting (not very convincingly, I fear) that I couldn’t possibly allow him to undertake so much labor on my behalf, he told me patiently that this was a normal service of the library and that, if I would simply leave my address, the list would be sent to me. I acquiesced joyfully (having no fruitful alternative) and went off to be shown the extraordinary riches of the library in loving detail by Miss Barnofsky.

In due course, a long list of works in the Saltykov-Shchedrin Library followed me to Toronto. I had intended to use the titles to amplify the revised Blake bibliography, but many of the titles proved to be irrelevant for that purpose—being transliterations of single poems, reviews, and the like. However, it appeared to me that most of the titles were quite unknown to Western Blake scholars (or at least to me) and that such a collection of Blake studies in Russian and other Slavic languages might be very difficult for a Western scholar to reproduce by other means, as I can testify from repeated attempts to do so.

I am, of course, only the instigator of the information here. The bibliography was apparently compiled by M. V. Brestkina (Bibliographer of the Saltykov-Shchedrin Library), approved by P. S. Bogomolova (Head of the Bibliography Department), sent to me by I. F. Grigorieva (Chief of Foreign Acquisitions & International Exchange), transliterated1 and translated in Toronto by Lisa Schneider (and a little by Sarah Bentley), and the whole put into sensible order (so far as the Slavic parts are concerned) by my friend and colleague Professor Orest Rudzik.2 2 With further friendly assistance by and through Professor Thomas Minnick. In particular, the Slavic conventions for representing titles, identifying journal volume-numbers, etc., are considerably different from those in the West (or at least in English), and often I could not distinguish between a publisher and a journal title, or between a volume-number and the number of pages in an article. For all such details I have depended upon my learned friends, though doubtless my misunderstanding of their patient explanations has created some needless confusions. For all this help I am profoundly grateful. The most extraordinary generosity seems to me to be that shown by the staff of the Saltykov-Shchedrin Library.

In the following list, the primary organization is by language, the sub-headings being Translations and Criticism. Under these sub-headings, the order is chronological. Note that almost all essays published in 1957 were probably bicentennial in inspiration. Naturally all the information has been transliterated. Because some of these languages may be as puzzling to others as they are to me, the titles have often been translated within square brackets as well.

In terms of historical development, the Saltykov-Shchedrin Blake collection in Slavic languages reveals very clear patterns.3 3 I was subsequently sent a List of Literature on William Blake’s Life and Work Published in the Russian Language after 1917 in the Lenin State Library of the U.S.S.R. (Moscow) compiled by Kushnereva and forwarded by Kopylova of the Department of Bibliographical Information. The Moscow list contains three translations (1900-1965) and twenty-one works of criticism (1929-1970); all these are duplicates of works listed in the Saltykov-Shchedrin Library in Leningrad except for a new edition of one work (the 1908 Balmont translation) and a new encyclopedia entry(1962). I am deeply grateful to the authorities of the Lenin State Library for their generosity in sending me this information. There are eight Russian works in the pre-Communist era (mostly 1896-1917), five in the Stalin years (1929-1945), a sudden dozen in the bicentennial year (1957), and thereafter a small but steady stream (thirty), including three books devoted entirely to Blake. The most prolific translator of Blake into Russian is clearly S. I. Marshak, and the most productive Blake scholars are T. N. Vasil’eva, A. A. Elistratova, and E. A. Nekrasova.4 4 “The basic organization unit within all Soviet repositories is the fond, a type of archival grouping which, in name and concept, derives from the practice in some European archives. All documents or manuscripts in archives and other repositories are now divided into fonds (or in the Russian plural fondy) and assigned permanent fond numbers. Individual archival fonds bear a direct and logical relationship to their provenance, i.e., the source or originating agency of the materials. The papers of large governmental units such as ministries, for example, are normally divided into many different fonds....” —P. K. Grimsted, Archives and Manuscript Repositories in the U.S.S.R.: Moscow and Leningrad (Princeton, 1972), pp. 64-65.

In other Slavic languages (Belorussian, Czech, Polish and Ukrainian) plus Estonian, Georgian, Latvian, Lithuanian, and Rumanian, the first Blake publications come in 1957-58 (nineteen), with a trickle thereafter (four). Of course, for these languages, especially Czech, Polish, and Rumanian, the Saltykov-Shchedrin is likely to be less comprehensive and representative in its holdings than for Russian works; it is notable that Estonia and Lithuania, with five or six works each, are republics near Leningrad, whereas all the other languages have only one or two.

These lists of Blake works in the Saltykov-Shchedrin State Public Library suggest to me that there are probably numerous writings about Blake published in the Communist world which are unknown to Western Blake scholars but that many of them are probably somewhat ephemeral, translations of individual poems, bicentennial esays, and the like. I should welcome more information about such works and exchanges of information with scholars in Russia.

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The M. E. Saltykov-Shchedrin State Public Library REFERENCE AND BIBLIOGRAPHICAL DIVISION

William Blake

A List of Translations of his Poetry, and Critical Literature, in the Languages of the U.S.S.R. and Foreign Languages (English, French and German Excepted), a Fond4 of the Public Library.

Leningrad, 1973


A. Translations

“[Cradle Song.]” Tr. K. Balmont. Detskoe Chtenie [Children’s Literature], (May, 1900), pp. 222-223.

“[The Tyger”, “Mockeries.]” Tr. K. Balmont. Ezhemesiatnie Sochinenie [Monthly Review], XI (1900), 246-247.

“Radost’-Ditia [Infant Joy]”, “Malen’kii mal’chik potoriavshiisia [The Little Boy Lost]”, “Malen’kii mel-chik naidennyi [The Little Boy Found]”, “Kolybel-naia pesnia [Cradle Song]”, “Noch [Night]”, “Taina liubvi” [? The Secret of Love], “Tigr [The Tyger]”, “Kniga Tel[e] [The Book of Thel]. Tr. K. D. Balmont. Iz chuzhecemnykh poetov [From Foreign Poets], (1908), 4-22; (1909), 4-22.

“[The Little Vagabond.]” Tr. S. I. Marshak. Argus, III (1917), 89.

[Song of the Flower, from Milton.] Tr. S. I. Marshak. Russkaia Mysl’, Books 3-6 (1918), 135-136.

“[To See a World in a Grain of Sand.]” Tr. S. I. Marshak. Znamia, XI-XII (1943), 146.

“[The Poison Tree.]” Tr. S. I. Marshak. Britanskii Soiuznik [British Ally], XXXV (1944), 8.

[Poems.] [English Ballads and Songs.] Tr. S. I. Marshak. (Moscow, 1944.) Pp. 109-119.

“[From William Blake.]” Tr. S. I. Marshak. Inostrannaia Literatura [Foreign Literature], X (1957), 193-206.

Includes “Life and Death [?]”, “Infant Joy”, “The Fly”, “The Poison Tree”, “The Tyger”, “Gwin King of Norway”, “Introduction” (to Innocence), “To Evening”, “The Wild Flower’s Song” [? from Milton], “A Dream”, “Holy Thursday” (from Innocence), “Holy Thursday” (from Experience), “The Chimney Sweeper”, “The Little Vagabond”, “The Garden of Love”, fragments from The Marriage, excerpts from “Auguries of Innocence”, “The Crystal Cabinet”, excerpts from “the Everlasting Gospel”.

“[From William Blake, 1757-1827.]” Tr. S. I. Marshak, with an Afterword by N. Balashov. Ogoniek, L (1957), 31.

Includes “Laughing Song”, “The LIttle Black Boy”, epigrams.

“[The School Boy.]” Tr. S. I. Marshak. Literaturnaia Gazeta [Literary Gazette], (3 July 1965).

[Songs of Innocence: “Laughing Song”, “On Another’s Sorrow”, “Spring”; Songs of Experience: “A Little Boy Lost”, “The Human Abstract”; poems of 1793-1811 (from the Notebook); (Pickering MS:) “Mary”, “Long John Brown and Little Mary Bell”; excerpts from “Auguries of Innocence”.] Tr. S. I. Marshak, with a preface by V. Zhirmunskii. Novyi Mir, VI (1965), 157-167.

Apparently reprinted in the next work.

Izbrannoe [Selections]. Tr. S. I. Marshak. Preface by V. Zhirmunskii. Moscow: Khudozhestvannaia Literatura, 1965. 182 pp., portrait.

Includes V. Zhirmunskii, “[William Blake (1757-1827)]”, pp. 5-34. The poems are from Poetical Sketches, Songs of Innocence and of Experience, the Prophecies, and aphorisms. Evidently first printed in the previous work.

“[The Fly.]” Tr. G. Kapronov. Komsomolete Tatarii, (26 Feb 1967).

“[The Tyger” and “To See a World in a Grain of Sand.]” Tr. S. I. Marshak. [Masters of Russian Poetical Translation]. (Leningrad, 1968.) Vol. II, pp. 285-286.

“[A Cradle Song” and “The Tyger.]” Tr. K. D. Balmont. [Poems.] (Leningrad, 1969.) Pp. 497-498.

“[William Blake.]” Tr. S. I. Marshk in [Collected Works]. (Moscow, 1969.) Vol. III, pp. 511-608.

[Songs of Innocence: “Introduction”, “The Lamb”, “Laughing Song”, “Night”, “A Cradle Song”, “Infant Joy”, “On Another’s Sorrow”; Songs of Experience: “Holy Thursday”, “The Fly”, “The Tyger”, “The Little Vagabond”, “London”, “The Human Abstract”, “The Poison Tree”, “A Little Boy Lost”; and excerpts from the Notebook, the Pickering MS, The Marriage, and Milton.] Tr. S. I. Marshak. [The Tree of Freedom]. (Moscow, 1972.) Pp. 48-82.

B. Criticism

[“Artist, Poet and Madman: The Life of William Blake.”] Tr. from the English [of Allan Cunningham, Lives of British Artists]. [Telescope], (1834), Chapter 22, pp. 67-97.

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Bengerova, Z. “Rodonachal’nik angliiskogo simvolizma” [“Forefather of English Symbolism”]. Severnyi Vestnik [Northern Messenger], IX (1896), 81-99.

A brief biographical sketch and criticism, based on Ellis and Yeats.

Bengerova, Z. “William Blake.” [Literary Characteristics], I (1897), 153-182.

Balmont, K. D. “[The Father of Contemporary Symbolists (William Blake 1757-1827).]” [Mountain Tops], I ([Moscow], 1904), 43-48.

Abukh, S. B. “Blake, William.” Literaturnaia Entsiklopedia [Literary Encyclopedia]. (Moscow, 1929.) Vol. I, p. 521.

With a bibliography.

Gutner, M. N. “Blake.” Istoriia angliiskoi Literatury [A History of English Literature]....B. Second Edition. (Moscow, Leningrad, 1945.) Vol. I, pp. 613-622.

Anon. “Blake, William (1757-1827).” Bol’shaia Sovetskaia entsiklopediia [The Great Soviet Encyclopedia]. Ed. S. I. Vavilov....B. Second Edition. (Moscow, 1950.) Vol. V, pp. 292-293.

This is the only Russian work on Blake known to GEB that is not on the Saltykov-Shchedrin list.

Lapidus, N. “[William Blake—Poet and Artist].” Sovetskaia Belorussia, (28 November 1957).

Nekrasova, E. “V. Bleik: K 200-letiiu so knia roshdeniia [W. Blake: For the Bicentenary of his Birth].” Sovetskaia Kul’tura [Soviet Culture], (28 November 1957).

Paaling, V. “William Blake.” Sovetskaia Estoniia [Soviet Estonia], (28 November 1957).

Shaginian, M. “V. Bleik: K 200-letiiu so dnia roshdeniia [W. Blake: For the Bicentenary of his Birth].” Izvestiia, (28 November 1957).

Zubkova, S. “William Blake.” Uchitel’skaia Gazeta [Teachers’ Gazette], (28 November 1957).

*Anon. “[The Drawings of Famous Writers: William Blake in the World of Vision].” Kur’er Iunesko, VIII (1957), 52 pp.

*Elistratova, A. A. William Blake, 1757-1827. (Moscow: Znanie, 1957.) Vsesoiuznoe obshchestvo po rasprostraneniiu politicheskikh i nauchnyeikh znanii [All-Union Society for the Development of Political and Scholarly Studies], Series VI, No.21. 28 pp., 2 illustrations.

*Elistratova, A. “Bleik (K 200-letiiu so dnia rozhdeniia) [Blake (For the Bicentenary of his Birth)].” Inostrannaia Literatura [Foreign Literature], X (1957), 189-192.

With a portrait.

Nekrasova, E. “William Blake.” Isskustvo, VIII (1957), 58-59.

*Rogov, V. “William Blake.” Kul’tura i Zhisn’ [Culture and Life], XII (1957), 76-77.

For the bicentenary of his birth, with a portrait.

Elistratova, A. “[A Collection of Works on the Bicentennial Jubilee of William Blake].” Voprosy Literatury [Literary Issues], XII (1959), 222-231.

A review of literature on the work of the poet.

Vasil’eva, T. N. “Lirika Vil’iama Bleika [The Lyrics of William Blake].” Uchenye zapiski Kishinevskogo Universiteta [Scholarly Notes of Kishinev University], XXXVI (1959), 97-117.

Elistratova, A. A. “Blake.” Nasledie angliiskogo pomantizma i sovremennosti [The Legacy of English Romanticism and the Present]. (Moscow, 1960.) Pp. 45-106.

Vasil’eva, T. N. “V. Bleik i frantsuzskaia revoliutsiia, 1789-1793 [W. Blake and the French Revolution, 1789-1793].” Uchenye zapiski Kishinevskogo Universiteta [Scholarly Notes of Kishinev University], LI (1960), 101-112.

*Nekrasova, E. A. [William Blake, 1757-1827]. (Moscow: Iskustvo, 1960.) 72 pp., with 1 illustration.

A bibliography is on pp. 67-68.

Nekrasova, E. “[The History of English Book Illustration (William Blake)]” in [The Art of the Book.] . . . B. Second Edition (1961). Pp. 229-234.

“Blake, William.” Iskusstvo stran i narodov mira. Kratkaia khudozhestvennaia entsiklopediia [Art of the Countries and Peoples of the World. Short Encyclopedia of Art]. (Moscow, 1962). Vol. I, p. 348.

Gilenson, B. A. “Blake, William.” Kratkaia literaturnaia entsiklopediia [A Short Literary Encyclopedia]. (Moscow, 1962). Vol. I, pp. 639-640.

With a bibliography.

Vasil’eva, T. N. “Poema V. Bleika ‘Mil’ton’ [Milton, The Poem by William Blake].” Literaturovedch Literary Studies, LX (1962), 137-161.

Vasil’eva, T. N. “V. Bleik: Prorocheskie knigi 90kh godov [W. Blake: The Prophetic Books of the ’90s].” Uchenye zapiski Kishinevskogo Universiteta [Scholarly Notes of Kishinev University], XLVII (1962), 167-190.

*Nekrasova, E. A. Tvorchestvo Bleika [The Works of William Blake]. (Moscow: Moscow University Press, 1962). 182 pp., 25 illustrations.

A bibliography is on pp. 177-182.

Shaginian, M. S. “William Blake.” Inostrannaia Literatura [Foreign Literature]. (Moscow, 1964.) . . . C. Third Edition. (Moscow, 1971). Pp. 214-216.

Vasil’eva, T. N. “Satira Bleika ‘Ostrova na Lune’ [Blake’s Satire An Island in the Moon].” Literaturovedch [Literary Studies], LXXXVI (1964), 95-190.

Vasil’eva, T. N. “[The Late Poems of William Blake: Brothers of Heaven, ‘The Everlasting Gospel’].” [1964 Papers of the Faculty and Associates of the State University of Kishinev]. (Kishinev, 1965). Pp. 298-300.

Sarnov, B. “[Each Time is an Exception].” Literaturnaia Gazeta [Literary Gazette], LXI (26 May 1966).

On the mastery of S. I. Marshak, the translator of Blake’s poetry.

Vasil’eva, T. N. “Epigrammy Vil’iama Bleika [The Epigrams of William Blake].” Literaturovedch [Literary Studies], LXXXVIII (1967), 103-114.

Osetrov, G. and R. Trusov. “[William Blake in the Monographs of a Kishinev Student].” Sovetskaia Moldaviia [Soviet Moldavia], (21 July 1968).

On the work of T. N. Vasil’eva, dedicated to the poems of Blake.

Vasil’eva, T. N. “Poema V. Bleika (‘Prorocheski kniga’ XVIII-XIXvv) [The Poems of W. Blake (Prophetic Books of the XVIII-XIXth Centuries)].” Uchenye zapiski Kishinevskogo Universiteta [Scholarly Notes of Kishinev University], CVIII (1969), 26-316.

With a chronological table of the life and work of Blake.

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Kolesnikov, B. I. “[The Works of Robert Burns and Early English Romanticism (William Blake)]” in [Tradition and Innovation in Scottish Poetry, 14th-18th Centuries]. (Moscow, 1970). Pp. 190-206.

Vasil’eva, T. N. “[Blake in Correspondence with his Friends and Contemporaries].” [Problems in Romanticism and Realism in Foreign Literatures of the 18th-20th Centuries]. (Kishinev, 1972). Pp. 3-51.


A. Translations

“[Excerpts from ‘Auguries of Innocence’ and Songs of Experience.]” Tr. I. Semishen. Literatura i Mastatstva [a newspaper], (30 November 1957).

B. Criticism

Faktorovich, D. “William Blake.” Zviazda [a newspaper], ([Minsk], 28 November 1957).


B. Criticism

*Marek, F. “William Blake neboli realismus obraznosti.” Nový život, XI (Prague, 1957), 1208-1212.


A. Translations

“[‘Lafayette,’ With notes on the author by the publishers.]” Tr. R. Sepp. Noorte Khiaia [The Voice of Youth], (28 November 1957).

“[London].” Tr. L. Metsar. Edasi [Forward], (1 December 1957).

“[(The Husbandry of) Urizen, ‘This city and this country has brought forth many mayors’, ‘Laughing Song’, ‘The Fly’, ‘The Tyger’].” Tr. R. Sepp. [Looming], XII (1957), 1867-1869.

“[The Chimney Sweeper].” Tr. R. Sepp. Nooruss [Youth], VI (1958), 31.

B. Criticism

Metsar, L. “William Blake.” Edasi [Forward], (1 December 1957).


A. Translations

“[‘Laughing Song’, ‘The Secret of Love’].” Tr. I. Kenchoshvili. Pirveli-Tskhivi [The First Ray], (1958), Books V-VI, pp. 398-399.

B. Criticism

Kenchoshvili, I. “William Blake.” Mnatobi [Light], III, (1958), 163-165.


B. Criticism

Babchina, T. “William Blake.” Literatura un Maksla [Literature and Art], (30 November 1957).

Dzene, L. “[The Joyful and Anxious Artist.]” Cina [Battle], (28 November 1957).


A. Translations

“[‘Night’ (from Innocence), ‘Holy Thursday’ (from Experience)].” Tr. K. Puras. Komjaunimo Tiesa [Komsomol Truth], (29 November 1957), [news-paper].

“[The Tyger.]” Tr. A. Churinas. Literatura ir Menas [Literature and Art], (30 November 1957).

“[One word cannot express....]” Tr. A. Churginas.

“[Sword and Sickle.]” Tr. A. Churginas. Jaunimo Gretos, IX (1960), 10.

“[Song of the Flower (? from Milton)].” Tr. A. Churginas. Literatura ir Menas [Literature and Art], (10 August 1968), 9.

B. Criticism

Puras, K. “[The Poet-Artist.]” Komjaunimo Tiesa [Komsomol Truth], (29 November 1957).


B. Criticism

Juszcak, W. “‘Laokoon’ Williama Blake’a [William Blake’s ‘Laocoon’].” Miesiecznik Literacki, XI ([Warsaw] 1970), 58-67.


B. Criticism

Cancenian, L. “William Blake (1757-1827).” Studii şi cercetări de istorie literară şi folclor, III-IV ([Bucharest] 1958), 471-489.

Philippide, A. “Insemnâri despre William Blake.” Studii si portrete literare. (Bucharest: Ed. pentru ĺit., 1963.) Pp. 116-139.

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A. Translations

“[Sword and Sickle, ‘The Tyger.’]” Tr. V. Koptilov. Literaturnaia Gazeta Kyiv [Kiev Literary Gazette], (29 November 1957).

B. Criticism

Koptilov, V. “[The Poetry of Anger and Protest.]” Literaturnaia Gazeta Kyiv [Kiev Literary Gazette], (29 November 1957).

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