Georgia's Knight in the Panther's Skin in German

Malkhaz Tsulukiani, exclusively for Vestnik Kavkaza
Georgia's Knight in the Panther's Skin in German

The Germanpublishing house Galiani Berlin with the support of the Georgian National Book Center published The Knight in the Panther's Skin (Vepkhistqaosani) by Georgia's poet Shota Rustaveli in Goethe's language for the first time. The German edition was prepared by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung journalist, Tilman Spreckelsen. With illustrations by Kat Menshik. It's not a poetic or interlinear translation of a medieval poem, but its prose version.

Prior to the first edition of the poem in German, the delegation of Galiani Berlin visited Georgia within the framework of the project 'In the footsteps of Rustaveli trail'. The German guests, together with their Georgian counterparts, examined and studied geographical locations, folklore and ethnographic materials in Georgia's southern region Samtskhe-Javakheti, where, according to legend, Shota Rustaveli lived. The collected materials were studied and revised by the author together with other employees of the publishing house.

The book will be presented at the Frankfurt Book Fair-2018 together with other books published with the support of the Georgian National Book Center.

Until now, the most significant editions of The Knight in the Panther's Skin were the translation of English writer Marjory Wardrop, who worked on the book with her brother, diplomat Sir Oliver Wardrop, as well as Shalva Nutsubidze's famous poetic translation into Russian.

There is a legend in Georgia that Stalin personally edited Nutsubidze's translation and even offered the author his version of one of the verses, after which none of the Georgian experts on Rustaveli dared to criticize Shalva Nutsubidze's translation, fearing that they may incur the anger, because no one knows which part of the poem was translated by the leader.