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The problem of the historical and cultural ties (the Irish question in translations of M. K. Tsebrikova)
Chernyavskaya Natalia Edvinovna,
Belgorod State Institute of Arts and Culture,
Associate Professor, Candidate of Pedagogical Sciences
Kulish Zhanetta Vasilyevna,
Belgorod State University,
Associate Professor, Candidate of Pedagogical Sciences
The problem of the historical and cultural ties (the Irish
question in translations of M. K. Tsebrikova)
Abstract: The article considers the problems of establishment of Ireland in the second half of the 19th century.
The Irish issue is characterized by extreme complexity and uniqueness. For a long time Ireland has often witnessed
serious social and national contradictions, which attracted the attention of political and social circles in many countries of the world, including Russia.
Keywords: civil rights, independence, politics, liberation movement, progressive ideas, journalism, social contradictions.
Throughout its history, Ireland has been famous for its
ambition for independence. The period considered in the
article, the second half of XIX century, was the time when
the planned movement for human rights continued in spite
of hard consequences of the Great Famine in 1845–1849 for
the Irish people and systematic robbery of the Irish peasants.
Fenians, small bourgeois revolutionaries, who expressed the
protest of the Irish peasants against the deprivation of land
in their requirements, started playing a noticeable role in the
political life of the country and tried to achieve the independence of Ireland by way of a plot. The rebellion of fenians in
1867 was suppressed and further 49 years were a new stage
of the peaceful constitutional struggle, which was especially
pronounced in the struggle for Home Rule, self-management
within the British Empire.
The progressive-minded people in Russia of this time had
a big sympathy and followed the struggle of the Irish for their
independence from the British Empire with understanding.
The national press published not only news, but also works
related to the history of the Irish freedom movement.
Numerous publications in the Russian papers
«Otechestvennye zapiski», «Iskra», «Nedelya» etc. certify
about the sympathy for the struggle of Ireland for its rights
and absolute condemnation of the English government
persecuting the Irish public figures. The «Otechestvennye
zapiski» publishes the poems of T. Moore translated by A.
Plescheev «From the Irish Melodies» [1], «To Ireland»
[2], the stories of M. Laffan «The Irish Revenge» [3], «In
the streets of Dublin» [4], «Dublin slums» [5], articles of
N.N. Firsov «The Irish Question» [6]. A big interest in the
disastrous condition of the Irish population was expressed
by M.E. Saltykov-Schedrin. In 1875 the jubilee (100 years)
of the national Irish hero O’Connell was widely celebrated
in his motherland and the journal «Nedelya» informed the
Russian readers about it [7].
M.K. Tsebrikova, a literary critic and publicist known to a
progressive reader of that time, teacher, publisher, an employee of Nekrasov’s «Otechestvennye zapiski» and other famous
Russian journals, editor of one of the best pedagogical journals «Upbringing and Education» [9], translated the novel
of J. McCarthy «A beautiful Samsonian» offering the editorial of «Otechestvennye zapiski» the name «For freedom»,
which renders the idea of the work more precisely. Out of
the censor considerations, the novel was called «The descendent of the Tairons». The novel was placed in the Enclosures
№№ 1-4. A year earlier, in 1873, M.K. Tsebrikova translated
and published the notes of W. Stewart Trench as a separate
book and named them «Sketches of the Irish life» [10]. The
works selected by M.K. Tsebrikova that undoubtedly were in
keeping with the spirit of the time were dedicated to the Irish
questions. She referred to them at the time when the struggle
of the Irish for the independence of their motherland became
strained again. Both works were provided with wide prefaces
and comments of the translator, in which she expressed her
understanding of the Irish question, with connection to the
Russian life. This similarity was noted by many progressive
public figures of Russia. Thus, N.K. Mikhailovsky wrote in
«Literary and journal notes» about the book of W. Stewart
Trench: «In this book, the reader will see what it means to
be a landless owner. It is interesting as itself, but also with
regard to us, the citizens of the country of farmers and land
owners» [11. P. 149.]. There is a direct «analogy between
the Irish sept and the Russian peace» in one of the articles of
«Slovo» journal [12. P. 3.]. In the books of W.S. Trench and
J. McCarthy about Ireland translated by M.K. Tsebrikova, a
question of extremely disastrous condition of the Irish people
and the painful search of ways of its struggle for independence
is raised in her prefaces and comments.
W. Stewart Trench, the author of the notes about Ireland,
served as a manager at landlords’ estates in Ireland. In spite of
Section 2. History and archaeology
some conservation of social and political believes, he felt sorry
for the Irish deprived of the human conditions of existence
and tried his best to help them. The author of translations addresses the author of the notes with respect, because she can
see that «… Mr. Trench can put aside the views of a landlord’s
agent and take a wider look at the position of the Irish people»
[12. P. 3.]. N. Mikhailovsky also referred to the book of W.S.
Trench as a sincere and trustworthy work. Sympathetic attitude of «hard worker Trench» towards the suffering people
was noted by F. Engels: «Trench says to a liberal signore that
if he was an Irish peasant, he would also become a ribbonist»
[13. P. 300.].
The translation of J. McCarthy’s novel «The descendant
of the Tairons» by M.K. Tsebrikova acquaints us with another
form of struggle of the Irish for independence – fenianism.
The fenianism had a narrow nature; fenians stuck to a plot
tactic. The academician E. Tarle characterized the program
and methods of the fenians as a manifestation of small bourgeois insurgency movement. The notion of a deserving Irish
national character is completed with the protagonists of John
McCarthy’s novel «The descendant of the Tairons». Unlike
W.S. Trench, who introduced the readers to hard-working
farmers, J. McCarthy acquaints them with simple people and
the descendants from the Irish aristocracy.
The protagonist of his novel Tairon is s descendant of an
ancient Irish family. He obtained good education and occupies
a solid social position; he has love and trust of people, who
elect him a representative of Ireland to the English parliament.
He has a reputation of an honest, decent and incorrupt man.
Tairon meets the requirements of that part of the fenians, who wanted to render lands and power to ancient Irish
families exiling the landlords. Their struggle for restoration
of the Irish oligarchy is combined with a desire to get rid of
Protestantism imposed by the conquerors and establish the
religion of their ancestors – Catholicism.
Invited to a meeting of plotters, Tairon, who they would
want to see a leader of the Irish movement, mildly refuses the
flattering offer. Moreover, he goes to Ireland with an intention
to talk the fenians out of rebellion as he understands that it will
be suppressed and bring futile victims and a disgrace of defeat.
The agreement would provide him with an eminent role of
a leader as a descendent of an ancient family, who would be
treated with awe by the Irish, but he considered it a crime to
exploit this feeling of people who adored and believed in him
and lead them towards inevitable death.
When the government finds out that Tairon kept the fenians from the rebellion, they offer him a favorable position out
of gratefulness, which he refuses, because he cherishes his independence and makes a decision to step down from politics.
Brought up on the stories of irreconcilable national feud,
he managed to overcome this feeling and found courage to
confront the commonly accepted norms of the majority.
J. McCarthy shows the way of painful searches of an
appropriate form of struggle for his protagonist. His strong
mind is uncomfortable in the narrow frames of the national
feud, as the author notes. His protagonist starts understanding that «the path of every public figure aware of their tasks
does not go where there is blood and fire of the national
feud» [15. P. 33].
Being a Member of Parliament, Tairon saw those feeling
sorry for the Irish people and wishing the freedom of Ireland
among the Englishmen. With all its drawbacks, contemplates
Tairon, the English parliament has people who want justice for
the Irish people as they do for their own. They are the minority, but their number will increase with time and gradually
they will achieve the adherence to their requirements.
Tairon decides to achieve the independence of Ireland
by way of a parliamentary struggle. It was a position that
the national hero of Ireland O’Connell stuck to, who cultivated the understanding of an advantage of wide campaign
instead of plots and rebellions in the consciousness of the
Irish. The protagonist of the novel was right foreseeing
the suppression of the rebellion, but it didn’t disturb his
belief in the eventual victory of the Irish. Understanding
the wrongness of the position of the fenians, Tairon detaches himself from their movement. National fanaticism
and revolutionary feud will not lead to an expected result.
Intending to fight for freedom and against the violence of
both peoples, Irish and English, Tairon is convinced that
time should pass before both peoples will give a hand to
one another. It is evidenced by the fact that the working
class of England followed the freedom fight of the Irish
people with sympathy and angrily protested the violent
politics of the English colonizers in Ireland.
Relying upon the translations of the works of W.S. Trench
and J. McCarthy, M.K. Tsebrikova demonstratively proved
that the reason of unrests in Ireland was an unbearable condition of the people, which it was put in by the conquerors.
Going through a long and hard path of struggle, from a spontaneous unrest of terrorism by ribbon men and plot tactic of
the fenians, the people of Ireland will come to recognition
of the parliamentary form of struggle and achieve independence and self-determination. The history of Ireland helped
understand the nature of struggle of its people for independence and drew attention of the Russian readers to different
forms of struggle with despotism in Russia. Political guess of
M.K. Tsebrikova about the importance of the Irish problem,
soberness of assessment of the Irish events, political resume
in prefaces are absolutely proved by the history of peace and
further national freedom movement in Ireland. Translations
of the preface and remarks of M.K. Tsebrikova are not only
historical documents. In the context of modern times, they are
perceived as live political wisdoms and moral values, which
have continued importance.
1. Otechestvennye zapiski. №6, 8. 1875.
The problem of the historical and cultural ties (the Irish question in translations of M. K. Tsebrikova)
Otechestvennye zapiski. №12. 1871.
Otechestvennye zapiski. №12. 1871.
Otechestvennye zapiski. №10. 1881.
Otechestvennye zapiski. №5. 1880.
Otechestvennye zapiski. №6. 1881.
Otechestvennye zapiski. №7, 8, 9. 1881.
Nedelya. №32, p. 1035.
Kulish Zh.V., M.K. Tsebrikova Social and literary critical activity / Zh.V. Kulish. – Voronezh: Published by Voronezh University, 1988. – 188 p.
10. Chernyavskaya N.E. Tsebrikova M.K. Pedagogical views (monograph) / N.E. Chernyavskaya. – Belgorod: BGIKI, 2010.
– 112 p.
11. Sketches of the Irish life. From the notes of W. Stewart Trench. Translated from English by M. Tsebrikova / SPb., 1873.
12. Otechestvennye zapiski. №1. 1873.
13. «England and Ireland»/ A.R. Slovo, 1878, №7.
14. Marx K., Engels F. Essays, 2nd edition. V. 32. 1955.
15. McCarthy J. The descendant of the Tairons Потомок. Novel in 3 parts (translation and preface by M. Tsebrikova) /
Otechestvennye zapiski, 1874, № 12. Enclosure. №1.
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