She came to filfak 16 times. It did not take – took only for the seventeenth time. The young country Soviets children of doctors, lawyers, teachers in the intellectual professions were not needed. But Eleanor Halperin knew what she wanted, and persistently sought to his goal.

She was the daughter of an “enemy of the people”, a Jew, lover Boris Pasternak, Arthur Rimbaud and Omar Khayyam. It was a brilliant editor, translator, writer. Few, except for philologists and editors, know today, the name of Nora Gaal, but probably not in the person of our country, who has not read it translated, “Little Prince”.

Strong-willed and uncompromising

Nora Gal in 1927

Nora Gal was born in 1912 in Odessa in the family physician (doctor was male) and lawyer (mother). In 1929, she graduated from high school, and, probably, from that moment began its “eternal fight” when “peace can only dream of.” It has successfully passed examinations, but it was not accepted to college. This unequal struggle with the system lasted for four years, and in the end she achieved her. She was generally tend to pursue their own, if she believed that doing the right thing. For example, she did not give to publish his translation of “The Little Prince”, when the publisher wanted to use a new illustration and not those painted Saint-Exupery. She would not let your friends lose heart. And do not let the course of mediocrity and negligence in the word.

In 1937, the girl’s father was arrested, and she qualified for admission to any order of the NKVD, although his father left the family long ago. Chin did not help her father (who was serving a sentence for more than ten years), but it would not destroy: told to leave and forget the way to his office. It would seem that there was supposed to end the biography of Eleanor Halperin but no consequences for a visit to the NKVD did not result. She graduated from the Institute, write and defend a thesis on the works of Rimbaud, married …


In 1938, Nora began working in the editorial office of the magazine “International Literature”. the magazine, according to the most Gal, was “something of a cave of” Thousand and One Nights “… we did not know, that in our time, you can write.” It seems that life is getting better, in the editorial work of passionate, experienced people, and Nora told the magazine about French books that have not yet been translated into Russian.

With her husband, Boris Kuzmin. Mid 30s.

But the war, her husband was killed, and Nora was left alone with a small daughter. A short time she had spent in Kazan, then returned to Moscow and began to struggle with the bureaucracy and with themselves. Fight the system helped her friends, but to fight with him did not have to get used to. She always save work and did not change themselves, even in the most difficult years: beginning to read foreign literature course at the institute and conduct a seminar on the twentieth century. Students recalled that since her arrival at the institute started a new life – they saw hitherto unknown to it approach to literature, it is very personal. Acute interest to the students, to their opinion – is bribed and inspired, and Nora Gal has become one of the favorite teachers.


There was a war, a book from occupied France did not reach, and a friend, boss, critic and translator, BA Pesis said, once we get only the British but Americans, go-ka in English! He gave a novelty – “Pied Piper,” published in 1942. “Review and Critique.”

As she wrote to Nora Gal, “about the English, I had no idea, but working 18 hours a day, then it was not unusual, not getting out of the dictionary, I’m two weeks, these 315 English pages read and translated.” Three hundred and fifteen pages for two weeks! Not knowing the language! It will be exciting. Without the Internet, almost no electricity (there is a war!), Something like eating, taking care of five daughters. “Pied Piper” “vegetating” in the closet translator forty long years, but it has become another starting point in the works of Nora Gaal.


All her life she worked tirelessly: translated, edited, and helped those who needed help. Helped activity: someone with money, someone advice. Once the doctors have found a young translator who lived far from the capital, and then supported his work and the most challenging endeavors. She brought up the daughter – a brilliant editor. The daughter later recalled, it seemed as if only the mother and sits at the typewriter from morning till night on translations … But how much it is time to read my poems! And how we played in the word .. The endless efforts for the good of all – and not care less about her daughter. Living in a communal, extensive correspondence, the response to every word – the living and the dead.

Calibrated proofs, Nora Gaal is not just proofread – she listened to the texts, asking friends to read it, “recruiting

companions”: I think that to see how the text sounds (just reading it out loud!) – Is necessary. Now, almost none of the editors do not use this technique: not enough time, others do not know. And Proofreading allows you to “catch” the phonetic irregularities that would hinder readability, interfere with, and sometimes annoying, saves from unnecessary punctuation from the awkwardness.

Interpreter Saint-Exupery

It sought to give, give, give – and so came “The Little Prince”. She read a story in French, and the tale has captured her heart sounded. Close friends did not know French, and Nora Y. translated the book for them. Then he wanted to publish – rejected a magazine, the other – a total of six in a row. Then the “Little Prince” published and republished (and who could count how many times?), And the interpreter always reread, corrected, refined. The tale is easy to read at any age, but how much work put into this apparent ease Nora Gal! That’s just one of the problems were, which had to deal with a translator: “In French, la fleur feminine. And in Russian – male! And to say ahead of time, “Rose” can not, because the prince for a long time did not know the name of his flower. And not just for the beginning there were tales of the right words – unknown guest, beautiful … “.

Convinced opponent literal translation, Nora Y. became the herald of creative and professional approach to the text. The daughter of a close friend Nora Gaal says: “Almost immediately rose to a standstill in front of the phrase” Words bring you together “. Words are driving you? Word unites you? Boring somehow. And NY said: “Why not write a” Word – as the thread between you in all difficult situations, when you search for the translation of a phrase, a verbal construction Nora Gal “never thought for a long time: all the” candidates “were at it?” ” at hand. And not some clumsy, and one better than the other. “
The word of the language

All his brilliant experience, his talent and his concern for the relationship to language Nora Gal invested in the book “The Word of the living and the dead.” Sadly notes daughter Nora Jakovlevny Ed: “And in other programs, like radeyuschie about the Russian language, the name of Nora Gaal never sounded. Her book, in contrast to the geologists, none of the experts does not seem to know. ” And the very author of the book (in response to the controversy about the “damage” and “neporche” Russian language) clearly says: “Someone wrote: our language, no innovations are not terrible, everything useful, he learned too much garbage, over the centuries, nothing sickened its clear waters, do not stir up further. But in the centuries there were a million copies of newspapers and books … And there was no radio, television, new information sources – and, alas, are often sources of corruption of language. And now they are daily and hourly strike us waterfalls, avalanche reports, news – and … the same kantselyarizmov. With such a flood is not so easy to handle. During the current decade, the industry can pollute the river is stronger than for the past thousand years. It is the same with language. ”

“The word of the living and the dead” reprinted more than ten times, and always Nora Gal, and then her daughter corrected, added, have modified. This book is not obsolete and remains the desktop of all who work with the word. How not to become obsolete and brilliant translations Nora Gaal: “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Pied Piper”, “Stranger” … And, of course, “The Little Prince”, whose artless and sincere intonation – “All roads lead to the people” – caught sensitively Nora Gal.