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Translating poetic metaphor: explorations of the processes of translating

By Mary M. Y. Fung


This thesis aims to explore the processes of translating by focusing on the translating of poetic metaphor. The methodology used is the application of George Lakoff's theory of conceptual metaphor to two case studies, in which problems of translating will be identified, and a theoretical conclusion will be formulated.\ud \ud The Introduction sets out the author's basic assumptions on the process of translating, the cognitive approach to metaphor, and the adoption of Lakoff's cognitive models of metaphor in the following case studies.\ud \ud Part I deals with the translating of metaphors of sickness in Shakespeare's Hamlet. Chapter one attempts to construct cognitive models of sickness as seen in contemporary English against which concepts of sickness in the Elizabethan age are compared. Chapter two undertakes a detailed examination of selected Chinese translations of metaphors of sickness in Hamlet organized in accordance with the cognitive models identified earlier. Chapter three draws preliminary conclusions on the translatability of basic metaphors common to English and Chinese and the difficulties encountered in others, which can be traced to cosmological differences between the two cultures.\ud \ud Part II studies metaphors of love in Sylvia Plath's poetry. Chapter four presents Plath's model of love on the basis of Zoltán Kövecses' model, and discusses its conflicts with traditional Chinese concepts of love. Chapter five analyses problems involved in Chinese translations, mainly of the 'perverted' model of love in Plath's poetry. A preliminary conclusion reached in chapter six points to cultural incoherence as the main obstacle in the translating of her innovative metaphors.\ud \ud After reviewing current opinions on the translation of metaphor, the author proposes a model of the translating of poetic metaphor in the hope that the findings from the case studies may contribute towards a general theory

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