Markelova Ol'ga

Can Atlantis be «the glorious past» of the Faroe Islands? The classical tradition in the poetry of J. H. O. Djurhuus

Markelova Ol'ga (2016) "Can Atlantis be «the glorious past» of the Faroe Islands? The classical tradition in the poetry of J. H. O. Djurhuus ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia III : Filologiia, 2016, vol. 46, pp. 79-92 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturIII201646.79-92


J. H. O. Djurhuus (1881‒1948), the most signifi cant figure in the history of the Faroese literature, often appealed to the classical heritage in his works. The ways of using it can be as follows: translations of Ancient Greek authors (Plato, Homer, Sapho and others) into Faroese; ancient subjects in original poems; particular ancient motives and topoi in original poems; ancient verse and genres in original poems (as a rule, these are epitaphs). During the time of J. H. O. Djurhuus’ life, classical heritage was not an active part of the Faroese culture (nor is it nowadays). In the beginning of the 20th century, the Faroese language has newly acquired a written form, so the fact that Ancient Greek (and Latin) authors have been translated into it, was of great significance, as it made Faroese equal to the languages of great cultures. Such translating also stimulated the development of the Faroese vocabulary (e.g., translating Plato’s dialogues required philosophical vocabulary, which was absent in the Faroese language by that time). Both in translations and in original poems, antiquity always gets some Faroese colour. Often the ancient and the Faroese realia, concepts, mythological fi gures can occur in the same poem. In many of them, realia from several mythologies can be mixed together: e.g. in the text Hugskot eitt stjørnuklárt oktoberkvøld 1928, Zion, Orion and the Muse of the Faroe Islands (songdís Føroyalands) occur in the same strophe. The striking example of this «faroisation of antiquity» is the poem Atlantis (1917), where the ancient legend, that first has been mentioned in Plato’s dialogues, gets a curious continuation: according to Djurhuus, the Faroe Islands are situated at the same place, where this sunken land once has been, and «the priestess of Atlantis», the main figure of this poem, can still be met at the sea. By means of appealing to the classical realia in Faroese poetry, the Faroe Islands receive a sort of «glorious past», which is of great importance to any young nation during a national-building process. After the national building in the Faroes has come to its end, stressing the continuity with the great cultures of the past was no longer necessary.


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Markelova Ol'ga