Two editions of Martyrolog — an informal comparison

Andrei Tarkovsky's diaries Martyrolog have been published for the first time in 1991 as Time Within Time — for several years the only edition available to Tarkovsky scholars. Other editions followed, notably the expanded Polish edition Dzienniki of 1998. This was followed in 2003 by the publication of Martirologio in Italy, designated as a complete and critical edition. In 2004 a French translation of the Italian version appeared as Journal 1970–1986, édition définitive (éditions Cahiers du cinéma). The French translation also added a few fragments from Tarkovsky's letters. Oddly, there is still no Russian edition of Martyrolog although it has been in planning for several years. The latest tentative publication date is set for late 2006.
In this article we compare the French édition définitive and the Polish 1998 edition as they represent two significant — and different — expansions of the original versions.

We use the following abbreviations to make cross-referencing easier:
F – the French édition définitive (Journal),
P – the Polish edition (Dzienniki),
E – the English edition (Time Within Time).

One very attractive aspect of F is the inclusion of high quality reproductions of family photographs. We are especially impressed by the beautiful images taken by Lev Gornung (a family friend) in the 1930s. These were the photographs used to reconstruct the exterior and the interior of the house shown in Mirror. See this photograph of Tarkovsky's mother, for example.

A comparison of the text

The most interesting feature of F (and the Italian edition on which F is based) is the inclusion of diary entries covering the second half of 1982. These were not available previously in any edition. Tarkovsky mentions Brezhnev's death there and correctly predicts Andropov as his successor. Another somewhat amusing note concerns his reflections upon reviewing Mirror. Tarkovsky writes that the actors are not bad "actually" ("en fait"), that the scene with the cock was "not bad" (Surprise! He doesn't like it in Sculpting in Time) and finally... "Le reste est exécrable"(!)

Another welcome addition to F is marking the places where each diary notebook begins.

On the other hand, F omits certain entries, or in some cases what seem to be thematic groups of entries, which are present in P (on which the Martyrolog fragments on this web site are based). The themes that tend to be missing in F:

  • certain screenplay details for The Witch, Hamlet, and The Sacrifice,
  • Tarkovsky's stay at Prof. Werner's anthroposophic clinic in Baden-Baden (this is where Michal Leszczylowski visits him in his remembrance),
  • most of the details covering the Tarkovskys' settling in Italy (finding and furnishing homes and the like),
  • some of the letters to his son and some (very positive) remarks about him.
An example of such missing screenplay detail is the entry for 11 August 1983 hereF only lists the entries for 6 and 17 August (also shortened by several paragraphs).

One possible reason for the omissions is that perhaps these fragments were never a part of the diary proper but merely loose notes Tarkovsky inserted there in order not to forget something. But then why does Larissa Tarkovskaya read a fragment of this very entry straight out of the diary in Leszczylowski's documentary Regi Andrej Tarkovskij? (This is where the English subtitles somewhat amusingly mistranslate the word "hieratic" as "heretic".) Thus F finds itself in a strange position of claiming to be the definitive edition while a quote not found in it is read in a documentary film. Such omissions — if deemed necessary — should have been marked with the "[...]" sign in F.

Another important omission from F are the entries for 24 December 1985 and 1, 2, 3 January 1986.

Besides these thematic omissions there are countless instances of smaller annoying differences within entries as well as differences in their dating. These differences include the following:

  • entries in P marked with dates including day of the week while the corresponding entries in F do not show the day of the week,
  • portions of (identical) text are assigned to entries corresponding to different dates in P and F,
  • Different translations (rare). Example: "Climb a mountain with a woman" (P, E) vs. "Climb a mountain with a lighted candle (F), 22 July 1979 on this page,
  • missing detached phrases in F, e.g. "God, save us!" just before the first entry in 1979. This is plainly visible on the reproduction of the corresponding diary page on p. 190 in F.
We are not sure why there is so much variation between editions. It appears likely that the basis for these editions was not the original manuscript but a series of not very accurate transcripts (Tarkovsky's sometimes messy handwriting would certainly make transcripts very tempting to any editor!) This can be seen quite clearly on the last page of the diaries. Its facsimile is shown on p. 560 of F, we reproduce it here. Look at the word "Hamlet?" (underlined, in the middle of the page, followed by the question mark). Both F and P render it as "Hamlet!...". It seems extremely unlikely for two editors to independently come up with replacing the "?" with "!" followed by an ellipsis!

The same page also contains three sentences near the bottom which no edition we know of bothers to translate. One of them mentions Baryshnikov whose name doesn't appear anywhere in F or P.

Summing up, we would hesitate to call the Italian or the French (F) editions "definitive", let alone "critical". The first thing a critical edition needs is an accurate transcript of the original as the foundation. This seems to be currently nonexistent. Secondly, care must be taken not to smooth out the text — when Tarkovsky sets a paragraph aside to accompany a drawing, for example, the paragraph must be shown together with the illustration, otherwise the context is lost. We were able to get around this problem when writing our Diaries section only because the original pages were reproduced in E, see the entries for 5 January 1979 here and the entry for 5 February 1977 here.

We conclude with a list of differences between F and P in terms of missing entries keyed by dates (but keep in mind dates are only half of the story):

(year) F P
1974   18, 22, 23 December
1977 24 June  
1980 20 March 12, 19 June
16, 23, 28, 29 July
1981 11 May [The Witch] 9, 11, 12, 14, 15, 25, 30, 31 January
10, 18, 19, 21 March
3 April
10, 11, 13, 15, 17, 20-22, 24, 28, 30 June
5-7, 11-14, 17, 24, 25 July
3, 4, 19, 24, 26,, 29, 31 August
5, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15, 19-22, 30 September
13, 17, 20, 24, 26, 29, 30 October
2, 4, 5, 11, 13, 16, 18, 24, 25, 27, 29, 30 November
1-4, 22 December
1982 21 February 25 January
2, 4, 14, 16-20, 25, 26 February
1, 2, 4, 11, 12, 14, 16, 17, 23, 25, 27 March
11, 22, 26 April
everything following 4 May is missing
1983 8 March
28 June
2, 7, 11, 13, 14, 28 August
28 November
all January entries
4, 8, 13, 15-17 19, 20, 22-25, 27 February
4-7, 11, 14, 20, 21, 23-26, 31 March
3-5, 7, 18 April
2, 3, 8 May
all July entries
1984 7 January [The Sacrifice]
24, 28 October
11 November [letters to son]
26 January
21 February
1985 10 June
28 September [the Florence flat]
24 December
17 January
29 September
1986 1-3 January
13 April (almost all)
18, 20, 23 May
11 June
6, 20 July [departure to Baden-Baden]
7, 15-17, 25, 28 August
7, 13, 15, 20, 26, 27 September
2, 16, 20 29 October
3, 20, 30 November
9 December
9 February
1 March
6 May
3, 8, 9, 29 June
4 November

 end block

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