Here we make available three early Russian translations of Whitman, Konstantin Balʹmont's Pobegi Travy (1911), a translation of Whitman's "Pioneers! O Pioneers!" (1918), and Kornei Chukovsky's Uot Uitmen: Poeziia Gradushchei Demokratii (1919). Balʹmont's work was initially contributed to the literary journal Vesy; he later published Pobegi Travy as the first book-length translation of Whitman's poems into Russian. The rare chapbook edition of Pionery—translated by an individual known only by the initials "S. M."—illustrates the avant-garde mixed-media experimentation that was a hallmark of post-revolutionary Russian culture. Chukovsky's Uot Uitmen was first published in 1907. Like Leaves of Grass itself, Chukovsky's translation went through several revisions and editions (the Archive makes available the fourth edition), and these versions were vital in establishing Whitman's reputation in Russia.
To provide broad perspective on Russian translations, we offer both Stephen Stepanchev's chapter "Whitman in Russia" from Walt Whitman and the World, ed. Gay Wilson Allen and Ed Folsom (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1995), pp. 300-338, and a translation from the Russian of Elena Evich's article, "Walt Whitman in Russian Translations: Whitman's 'Footprint' in Russian Poetry." To introduce individual Russian texts by Balʹmont and Chukovsky, we include Martin Bidney's article "Leviathan, Yggdrasil, Earth Titan, Eagle: Balʹmont's Reimagining of Walt Whitman," reproduced with permission, and Irwin Weil's "Memories of Chukovsky, as an Extraordinary Man and as a Poetic Translator," which was written specifically for the Whitman Archive.