The Pattern-Book of Grief, Pity and Affection. Tadeusz Różewicz’s „Mother Departs” and Its English Translation
Tadeusz Różewicz’s Mother Departs is a late work of one of Poland’s most important writers — a polyphonic elegy dedicated to his mother, who died in 1957. The articles discusses the possible reasons of Różewicz’s relative absence in the English-speaking world and proceeds to analyze the importance of Mother Departs in his oeuvre. This award-winning book, which testifies to the impossibility of overcoming the grieving of loss, is composed of a variety of textual fragments, including documentary material, such as diaries, notebooks and letters, as well as literary works by the poet’s brother and the poet himself. Różewicz moves between the documentary and the lyrical, between the historical and the personal, between memory and grief, while merging the elegy for his mother with his own farewell, which stems from the sense of the poet’s own imminent departure. The English translator of the work had to deal with such problems as the rendering of culture specific items and emotionally charged passages of grief and tenderness, often expressed in diminutives which have no equivalents in English.