Landscape representation in Wang Wei's poetry and its translation : with reference to poetry-painting affinity

王維詩中的山水呈現及英譯 : 基於詩畫相似性的研究

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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  • Chengzhi JIANG


Awarding Institution
Award date14 Feb 2014


The present thesis is aimed at providing through a cognitive stylistic approach a new interpretation about the issue of poetry-painting affinity, with reference to the interpretation and translation of the verbal landscape representation in Wang Wei's poetry. In Asian and Anglo-American scholarship, Wang Wei's (701-761, or 698-759) poetry has been repetitively translated and widely discussed. Some scholarly discussions have touched upon the affinity between poetry and the visual arts (i.e. Chinese landscape painting), a central issue in Wang Wei studies. However, previous studies do not cover how the verbal elements in a poem, or in a collection of poems, reveal the speaker's mental-spiritual self through activating (an) imaginary landscape painting(s). A scholarly effort to fill this gap, therefore, can offer a special perspective to further explore the phenomenon of poetrypainting affinity. This thesis will mainly draw on Heidegger's theory, and also consult theories of Bachlard, Arnheim, Benjamin, and Berman, to outline a conceptual framework through explicating several epistemological issues. Then, it will present an imagebased cognitive stylistic investigation of mountain images in Wang's poetry, with special reference to the imagery networks in which the images encounter each other as Daseins (beings-in-the-world). After the prototypical patterns of how the mountain-image induces the perception of landscape in Wang's poetry are investigated, the research will propose a cognitive stylistic operational model for analyzing the cognitive and stylistic features of individual poems. Finally, a case study will be provided to show how the conceptual framework and the cognitive stylistic methodology can shed light on the poetry-painting affinity. As this research observes the issue of poetry-painting affinity from a perspective of inter-semiotic or multi-modal translation, it will, hopefully, bring about insights in three aspects: poetry-painting affinity, poetry interpretation and translation, and interpretation of individual poems by Wang Wei. So its major arguments include: (1) In line of my conceptual framework, the concept of "representation" in translation studies implies a speaking-and-listening-to relationship, which unconceals the truth hidden behind the text of the original artwork; (2) The two-level methodology upgrades the existing word-based cognitive stylistic investigation/analysis into an image-based one; (3) The poetrypainting affinity in Chinese poetry as a frequent phenomenon implies the conceptual distinction between you 有 "being/presence" (or shi 實 "fullness") and wu 無 "non-being/absence" (or xu 空/虛 "emptiness"), the distinction that may lead to the revelation of the speaker's spiritual pursuit, i.e. self-transcendence.

    Research areas

  • Poetry, Ut pictura poesis (Aesthetics), Landscape painting, Chinese, Landscapes, Chinese poetry, Wang, Wei, 701-761, Translating into English, History and criticism, China, Translations into English, Criticism and interpretation