Balmont Konstantin

K. Balmont

Balmont  Konstantin (1867-1942), Russian poet. One of the first Russian symbolists. He was born in the village of Gumnishchi in the Vladimirskaya Province, Russia. As an aftermath of publishing his poetic cycle Songs of the Avenger (1907, Paris), wich sympathized with the 1905 Russian Revolution, he was banished from Russia. He traveled world over; from 1920 he lived in France. In 1913 K. Balmont read The Man in Panther’s Skin translated into English by Marjory Wardrop and delighted by Rustaveli’s epic poem, appraised it as ‘the rainbow of love, the fiery bridge that links the heaven and the earth’. To fully appreciate the world of Rustaveli’s epic poem, K. Balmot set out to study Georgian language. He paid three visits to Georgia. His first arrival (1914) turned into the triumph in Tbilisi and Kutaisi. Outstanding Georgian poet Akaki Tseretili greeted him with a welcoming speech. For the second time he visited Georgia in October of 1915. In the hall of the Artistic Society he read out his Russian translation of the introduction and several chapters of The Man in Panther’s Skin. On his third arrival on June, 16, 1917, he delivered a lecture on Shota Rustaveli.

In 1915 – 1917 he completed the translation of Rustaveli’s poem. It was the first comprehensive poetic translation of The Man in Panther’s Skin into Russian. Its fragments were published in Moscow in 1917; The full translation of the epic poem was published in 1933 in Paris and later, it was republished in Moscow in 1935, 1936 and 1937. In Georgia, the friends of K. Balmont were the poets, who made up the ‘Blue Drinking Horn’ circle. N. Marr, T. Tabidze, G. Kartvelishvili, A. Kancheli provided him with relevant materials and consultations that were essential for the translation of Rustaveli’s poem.

K. Balmont was burried at the cemetary of Noisy-le-Grand, near Paris.