Korolenko’s 1886 novel “The Blind Musician” still fascinates Persian readers

October 2, 2021 - 18:34

TEHRAN – The seventh edition of the Persian translation of Ukrainian writer Vladimir Korolenko’s 1886 novel “The Blind Musician” has been published. 

Released by the Elmi Farhangi Publishing Company, the book has been translated into Persian by Jahangir Afkari. The first edition of the Persian translation was published in 1967.

The book is a psychological study, in which the inner life of the blind is analyzed, with a view of their trials resulting from their lack of sight. 

The subjects for the study are a blind girl whom the author knew as a child; a boy, a pupil who was gradually losing his sight; and a professional musician, blind from his birth, of superior intellect, scholarship and refinement. 

Anagnos, director of the Massachusetts School for the Blind, who, after praising its literary and artistic merits, pronounces it true to the conditions of the intellectual and physical development of this class of unfortunates.

Arguably his most acclaimed and best-known work, “The Blind Musician” caused controversy in its time and was subjected to severe criticism from the Moscow University’s private docent A.M. Shcherbina, who had lost sight at the age of two and considered Korolenko’s theories regarding blind people’s “intrinsic longing for light” totally groundless. 

"To create a creditable treatise on blind man’s psychology has never been my objective,” Korolenko explained in a letter to Arkady Gornfeld on January 10, 1917.

“The idea was, rather, to bring to closer examination man’s longing for all things unattainable, for this ever missing fullness of life,” he wrote.
 
Originally serialized on February 2 and April 13, 1886 by Russkiye Vedomosti, the novel then appeared in a considerably altered version in the July 1886 issue of Russkaya Mysl and a year later came out as a separate edition, again revised by the author. 

Korolenko stopped editing the text only after the book’s sixth edition came out in 1898.

Photo: Front cover of the Persian translation of Vladimir Korolenko’s novel “The Blind Musician”.

MMS/YAW
 

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