Publication details [#4377]

Erickson, Marianne T.C. 1999. Toward a cognitive poetics of translation. Saint Louis, Missouri. 235 pp.
Publication type
Ph.D dissertation
Publication language


The cognitive sciences have been offering multidisciplinary ways of understanding the mind and cognition since the 1970s, making cognitive linguistics, along with the other cognitive sciences, a new conceptual approach for learning about how the mind works and, more specifically in the context of this project, how the mind processes literature. Still in its developmental stages, "Cognitive Poetics" is a new approach to literature and language that uses tools and concepts from cognitive linguistics such as mapping conceptual blending, and domain structure to give us a new look at the way we use words and language and provide a viable as well as valuable framework for the study of literature in translation and more importantly, of the translation process itself. In a move toward applying recent discoveries in cognitive linguistics to the practice of translation, this dissertation begins with a brief synopsis of Descriptive Translation Studies, followed by an outline of major paradigm shifts in translation theory and practice from the time of Wilhelm von Humboldt to the present. Chapters II through IV provide practical analyses of translated poems selected from the works of Emily Dickinson, Rainer Maria Rilke, Czeslaw Milosz, and Habib Bektas, progressing from methods for translating poetic techniques such as alliteration, assonance, consonance, rhyme, and meter in Chapter II to a discussion of translating metaphor, an examination of cultural views and anachronistic terminology and how to translate them, and the cognitive turn in translation in Chapter III. The chapter on the works of the two contemporary poets, Czeslaw Milosz and Habib Bektas, depicts the situation of the exile poet and how their works are translated by the poets themselves and by other translators. Each section draws upon recent (within 100 years) translation theories to illustrate the practice of translation in historical/cultural flux. Chapter V provides summary remarks and a formal description of cognitive poetics, still in its developmental stage, as it stands today, and what this might signify for the future of translation studies. (Marianne Erickson)