Towards a poetics of immersion in lyric translation: Aesthetic illusion and the translator as immersive reader in English translations of classical Chinese ci poetry

Min Zhou
Hong Kong

This study, with reference to a variety of English translations of Chinese ci poetry (詞), sets out to demonstrate a mental state of ‘aesthetic illusion’, in which the translator-as-reader gets immersed into (an) imaginary world(s) triggered by the original poems and imaginatively experiences the world(s) “in analogous ways to real-life experience” (Wolf 2013a, 11–12). It argues that the translator-as-reader’s imaginary experience of the world(s) ‘from within’ activates a variety of manifestations and implementations of narrativity, and affects the interplay between the lyric and narrative modes in the translated lyric poems. Drawing on analytical concepts and methods from cognitive narratology, aesthetic illusion, and reading psychology, this study aims at foregrounding the translator’s role as an immersive reader, a “side-participant” (Gerrig 1993) in the represented worlds, and at giving an enriched account of what the translator’s reading of the original poems involve.

Publication history
Table of contents

Truth becomes fiction when the fiction’s true;

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