Classic Polish Novel Translated into Esperanto
An Esperanto translation of The Doll by Bolesław Prus has been released by the Library of Podlasie and the Białystok Esperanto Association. The work was translated by Tomasz Chmielik.
The book is entitled La Pupo (‘The Doll’ in Esperanto) and has over 700 pages. Elżbieta Karczewska, the long-time director of the Białystok Esperanto Society, explained that the publication includes pictures of places associated with the 1890 book, as well as explanatory notes for international readers.
Karczewska said Chmielik translated the novel in the 1980s, but due to lack of funding for its release, it has – until now – sat on the shelf. In 2015, when Prus’s novel was the focus of the National Reading campaign, the Esperanto Association contacted Chmielik with a request for him to translate even a single chapter of the novel. It turns out, he had translated it all.
Circulation of the translation numbers at several hundred copies. The Esperanto edition of the novel was co-financed by the city of Białystok. The project was promoted at the Library of Podlasie earlier this month and will presented during the 101st World Congress of Esperanto, which will begin in Slovakia on 27 July 2016.
This is not the first book translated into Esperanto by lovers of the language in the hometown of its creator, Ludwik Zamenhof. Last year, a translation of poems by Wisława Szymborska was released and earlier projects include translations of the works of Sokrat Yanovich, Lidia Ligęza, and Jan Leónczuk. In 2009 an anthology of works by Podlasie poets was released in connection with the World Esperanto Congress in Białystok.
Ludwik Zamenhof (1859-1917)
Ludwik Zamenhof – the creator of Esperanto – was born in Białystok, where he also spent his childhood. It was then a town of thirty-thousand and culturally and ethnically diverse. Living in this environment, young Zamenhof decided to lay a foundation for an international language that would help foster understanding among nationalities and eliminate national and religious conflict.
After moving to Warsaw, he continued work on his language – Esperanto. Under the pseudonym Dr. Esperanto (‘he who hopes’), Zamenhof published a handbook to the international language, which was based on existing languages. He died in Warsaw on 14 April 1917.
Białystok remains an important place for lovers of Esperanto in Poland. In 2009, the city hosted the 94th World Congress of Esperanto. The celebration coincided with the 150th anniversary of Zamenhof’s birth. It saw the creation of the Ludwik Zamenhof Centre, which organises projects that highlight and promote the region’s cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity.
The city is also home to the Esperanto library ‘Esperanto-Libro’ (a branch of the Library of Podlasie). The library has more than three-thousand books and magazines. They include Esperanto textbooks, dictionaries, books for children and young adults, and comics.
Esperantists estimate that there are more than a thousand places worldwide named for Zamenhof or in Esperanto. The number of Esperanto speakers around the world is unknown, but is often reported to be in the hundreds of thousands.
Sources: PAP; ed: az, 19.07.2016; trans: aga, 26.07.2016