Emotion and Cultural Responses to a Poem: Looking through Translations in Three Different Languages

Chesnokova, Anna and Zyngier, Sonia and Viana, Vander and Jandre, Juliana and Ribeiro, Fernanda and Rumbesht, Anna (2017) Emotion and Cultural Responses to a Poem: Looking through Translations in Three Different Languages In: ''(E)motion. Cultural Literacy in Europe'' Second Biennial Conference, 10–12 May 2017, The Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

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Literature is one of the most suitable means for verbalizing affectivity. According to Widdowson (1998), it expresses the inexpressible and, we add, the most basic human emotions, such as fear, anger, or love. As language is deeply embedded in culture, we question how far different linguistic renderings of the same poem of a canonical author may move readers in two different cultural settings: Brazilian and Ukrainian. To this purpose, we compare three translations of Poe’s “The Lake” into Portuguese, Russian and Ukrainian and check whether the reactions previously obtained from the respondents in these two national settings (see Chesnokova et al. 2016) can be linked to what each translator decided to foreground in the translated version. As indicated by Chesnokova et al. (2016), the reactions of Brazilian and Ukrainian readers to the original English version differed: the former group perceived it under a more negative light than the latter. For instance, Brazilians believed the poem to be darker, lonelier, more mysterious and more solitary than Ukrainians. The responses to the translated versions of the poem in the respondents’ first language also proved to be culture-specific. Brazilian readers reacted to the translation into Portuguese rather negatively when compared with readers of Ukrainian and Russian versions. They found the text darker, more nostalgic and less exciting. The most positive response was elicited by Ukrainian participants who have Russian as their first language: they saw the Russian version as less sad and less melancholic. In contrast, the Ukrainian version read by participants who have this language as their L1 aroused rather negative feelings. These respondents found the translation darker, more mystical and less dreamy when compared to the other versions. The affective differences in reactions were then matched against the translators’ stylistic choices, and we believe that these differences could be attributed to the way language has been used. For example, the Russian version is the only one out of four in which exclamatory sentences have been used three times, thus making the text sound more emotional and positive. On the metaphoric level, in this version, the translator creates the image of night as a queen of dreams that enhances the positive romantic flavour. Unlike the other two translations, the Ukrainian version stands out as having a more negative tone: the original subject (the narrator) is replaced by the word “terror”; the wind mentioned in the original version becomes abrupt and ominous in the translation, and death is personified and literally ‘waits’ for the narrator. These and other stylistic differences will be detailed, supporting the argument that there seems to be a link between the respondents’ reactions and the language in which they read the poem.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Keynote)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Poetry; Poe; cross-cultural research; poetry reading;
Subjects: Це архівна тематика Київського університету імені Бориса Грінченка > Наукові конференції > Міжнародні
Divisions: Це архівні підрозділи Київського університету імені Бориса Грінченка > Кафедра англійської філології
Depositing User: Анна Вадимовна Чеснокова
Date Deposited: 15 May 2017 10:39
Last Modified: 15 May 2017 10:39
URI: https://elibrary.kubg.edu.ua/id/eprint/19554

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