Analysis of Two Lines from The Man in the Panther’s Skin by Shota Rustveli against the Background of Its English Translated Versions

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Salome Sanikidze


Studying the text of The Man in the Panther’s Skin by Shota Rustveli means the interpretation of its content as adequately as possible. Alongside with the scholarly analysis to understand the essence of the text, its translated version represents the fact of interpretation that requires critical analysis. Translations of “The Man in the Panther’s Skin” are mainly based on those academic findings and data that Rustvelology had achieved and obtained by the time of their renderings in English.

According to the first Rustvelologist – Vakhtang VI, there had been many attempts of either “translating” or clarifying the poem, i. e. providing its ethical and philosophic interpretation. Respectively, before reviewing the poem concerning renderings, it is of high significance to determine the issues that Rustvelologists attempted to define and clarify through the researches conducted during centuries. The definition of adequacy of a rendering of the poem is possible, based on determining the significance or clarification of the Georgian text only.

The present article provides an analysis of a reflection of NeoPlatonism in the poem, based on one stanza. The teaching of NeoPlatonism about world unity meant the identity of God and the human being and acknowledgement of the absence of Evil as the substance, representing the main idea of the text to be analyzed.

The lines containing the above - referenced content are given under the Stanza #1492 (according to the edition by A. Baramidze, K. Kekelidze and A. Shanidze, Tb., 1957) as compared with all its translated English versions.

„ამ საქმესა დაფარულსა ბრძენი დივნოს გააცხადებს:
ღმერთი კარგსა მოავლინებს და ბოროტსა არ დაბადებს...“

English translations of the poem were made by M. Wardrop (1912), V. Urushadze (1968), R. Stevenson (1977), K. Vivian (1977) and L. Coffin (2015). K. Vivian offered the shortened rendering of the poem, under which the Stanza #1492 is omitted.

Reviewing of the stanza to be analyzed in the context of its English renderings aims at determining how the philosophic idea of Neo-Platonism was reflected in the translation. This is of high significance for defining the adequacy of renderings of the specific extract from the text.


Divnos (Dionysius the Areopagite), Neo-Platonism, The Man in the Panther’s Skin, English translations of Rustvelis’ Poem
Published: Aug 30, 2020

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Studies: Georgian Literature