Publication details [#53323]
Poupard, Duncan. 2023. In defense of Ezra Pound’s “graphological” translations. The Translator 29 (1) : 67–75.
Article in jnl/bk
Person as a subject
Manchester: St. Jerome
The Chinese translations of Ezra Pound, particularly those which feature his method of deconstructing individual Chinese characters, have frequently been criticised by scholars of sinology, and his translations have as such been classified as something ‘other’ within translation studies. This paper attempts to reclaim Ezra Pound’s ‘etymographic’ translations as translation proper, at the same time widening the scope of the near-defunct term ‘graphological translation’. It will be shown that graphological translation can be performed when visual semantics are given priority over lexical semantics, and as such graphological translation cannot be judged by the successful (or otherwise) transfer of lexical meaning. It is easiest to approach Pound’s treatment of Chinese (as a semantically charged ‘motivated’ writing system) using his previously ignored translations out of the highly visual Naxi script, a minority writing of southwest Chinese, that can be seen in his late poetry notebooks. Pound treats both character scripts as essentially ideographic and in translation highlights the graphological semantics of the source writing.
Source : Based on abstract in journal