Is there is any professional English translation of "I will not see the famous Phaedra" (Я не увижу знаменитой «Федры») by Osip Mandelstam. Can anyone provide a link where it can be found.

  • What do you mean by "professional English translation"?
    – Peter Shor
    Oct 20, 2020 at 0:36
  • 2
    I mean by human. It is easy to get it by google translate, but I do not like the quality, even though English is not my native.
    – mkatkov
    Oct 20, 2020 at 0:37
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    There is a translation here that looks okay to me (let me note that human translations aren't a good guarantee of quality; some human translations of French poetry you find on the internet are absolutely terrible). However, since I don't read any Russian, I can't judge it myself.
    – Peter Shor
    Oct 20, 2020 at 0:41
  • Put it as answer I will accept it. It is better than Google translate. I feel this particular poem is difficult to translate. Do you feel "And the diction, inflamed by indignation, Strikes a mournful temper" is the normal English or it would be hard to remember. In Russian its equivalent is hard to remember.
    – mkatkov
    Oct 20, 2020 at 1:02
  • It's not everyday English ... I would say it's poetic language.
    – Peter Shor
    Oct 20, 2020 at 1:27

1 Answer 1


There is a translation here, in the book Mandelstam, Blok, and the boundaries of mythopoetic symbolism by Stuart Goldberg, that looks okay to me (although I can't say for sure, since I don't read Russian). It starts:

I will not see the celebrated Phèdre
In a venerable, many-tiered theater,
From the high, soot-smoked gallery,
By the light of guttering candles.

  • 1
    Congrats on 5k reputation and the final beta-site privilege level :-)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Oct 20, 2020 at 11:27

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