Last modified on March 15, 2018, at 21:35

Marjory Wardrop

Marjory Scott Wardrop (1869–1909) English traveler who became a pioneering scholar and translator of the literature of Georgia in Eastern Europe. She was fluent in seven languages altogether.

Her interest in the country began when her elder brother, Sir Oliver Wardrop, traveled there and learned the language before studying at Oxford and embarking on a diplomatic career. As a Victorian woman, Marjory was unable to do likewise and lamented this, in this letter of 1894 to her brother: ‘I have got to stay at home just doing nothing when I ought to be living, learning and working’. Despite the restrictions, she taught herself Georgian, and eventually traveled there, in 1894-1896.

She translated and published Georgian Folk Tales (London, 1894), The Hermit by Ilia Chavchavadze (London, 1895), and The Life of St. Nino (Oxford, 1900).

Her most complex and important translation was The Man in the Panther’s Skin, from an epic poem written in the 12th century by Shota Rustaveli. She worked on it during her travels, consulting her own personal copy. She underlined a favorite verse: the lion’s cubs are equal, whether male or female. Wardrop refused to publish her translation during her lifetime, insisting it was not fit for publication. After her early death, it was finally published in an edition prepared by her brother, and remains the standard against which other English translations of it are judged.

Marjorie Wardrop remained immersed in Georgian culture until her death, continuing to study and translate its texts and to be involved in its politics. Her cultural and political work for Georgia won her many friends and allies, including a number of women for whom she served as a role model as they campaigned for political rights. She was revered in the country for her scholarship and for her crucial role in bringing Georgia and Georgian culture to a wider international audience.

After Marjory's death her brother created the Marjory Wardrop Fund at Oxford University to encourage the learning of Georgian language and culture. [1]

A statue of Marjory Wardrop and her brother Oliver, stands in the park behind the Parliament building in Tbilisi, capital of Georgia. [2] [3] [4]