17 September 2006

Ode to Stalin

Since reading the AKWN article about the Astronautilia — a modern, sci-fi poem by Czech author Jan Křesadlo in Homeric Greek — I've been trying to find a copy. No luck so far. But in searching for it I found an article from this year about Křesadlo which has a small image of "Óda na Stalina" - an "Ode to Stalin" I presume. [Article] [Image]

The image is a bit small, so it's sometimes hard to be clear on some of the letters, though the basic tone is pretty clear:

Στᾶλιν, ἄναξ, ἄγαμαί σε. σὺ λευκολίθῳ ἐνὶ Κρέμλῳ
ἑζόμενος κρατέεις πάντας Ῥώσσας Τατάρους τε...

Stalin, lord, I revere you. You rule all Russia (?) and the
Tatars while sitting in the white-stoned Kremlin...


The image ends with the line “Πάντες δειδίοτες (sic) κινέουσι ποδάς τε πυγήν τε,” "everyone afraid moves (their) feet and butt." There doesn't seem to be punctuation at the end of that line, so it may be there's more after that.

I don't know when Křesadlo wrote this. The language of this ode is filled with Epic morphology and phrasing, λευκολίθῳ ἐνὶ Κρέμλῳ, but it also contains a number of eccentricities in accenting and scansion, which, with the subject matter, make me suspect this is an early work. If anyone can read Czech, I'd love to know if the article makes mention of when this fragment was composed.

7 comments:

Plausible Alias said...

An off-topic query:

On your old blog, there was a post called "the Stilsuit of Elendil" that I enjoyed very much. Your old blog seems to have disappeared. Is that post available anywhere?

vzjp said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
vzjp said...

The Ode to Stalin is the main plot device of Jan Křesadlo's (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Kresadlo) prizewinning first novel, Mrchopěvci, (GraveLarks.) The plot is centered on a sexual blackmailer, as a metaphor for totalitarian opression i.e. being made to acquiesce to something weird/unpleasant being done to you. The Ode is the item in the blackmailer's posession...

http://www.kresadlo.cz/ode.gif

BTW I am the webmaster of that website and the author's son. Nice discovering your blog :)

Wm Annis said...

Plausible Alias, I have reconstructed the old blog. That got messed up during a database transition, so much of the Greek is a muddle now, but the post you refer to is perfectly readable. I've disabled all new commenting.

vzjp — thanks so much for the link to the full poem! It looks like your father pronounced ancient Greek in the modern fashion.

Andrew said...

is that "of all the Russias" or "of all Rus'?" It looks plural to me and it's a stock phrase...

Also, I wish I'd found out about this a decade ago when I was studying both Czech and (well, Ionic) Greek at undergrad...

Wm said...

Andrew, you're right, the plural reading is better. Kresadlo's modern "Ancient" Greek sometimes flusters me into funny errors.

earthtopus said...

well, now I'm mortified, since this is seven years old, and yet somehow it bubbled to the top of my RSS feed!

Anyway, thanks for the introduction to the work! Any thoughts on where to drag down a copy? I was in the Czech Republic just last November, too...