Yearbook of the German Cognitive Linguistics Association
Editor-in-Chief: Stefanowitsch, Anatol / Schoenefeld, Doris
1 Issue per year
Three ways to view a sonnet: Metaphor and poetic structure in three translations of Shakespeare’s sonnet XC
Shakespeare’s works have been translated many times throughout different historical eras, and these translations vary considerably both in their poetic form and in their cognitive underpinnings. This paper investigates the cognitive and poetic differences between three translations of Shakespeare’s sonnet XC: a 19th-century translation by F. A. Gelbcke (Gelbcke 1867), a translation by Paul Celan (Celan 1967) and a translation by A. Thalmayr (Thalmayr 1985). In particular, the use of conceptual metaphor across all versions is compared, and it is established that primary conceptual metaphors tend to remain intact across translations whereas complex conceptual metaphors tend to be replaced by different complex metaphors specific to the era and cultural background of the respective translators. This observation has broader implications for metaphor theory in general: Cross-linguistic studies of literary translations may be useable as a metric for the basic-ness or universality of metaphors. The poetic form variation found in the translations reflects the variation in metaphor material, and the mechanisms of foregrounding and parallelism postulated for poetic language by formalist poetics are shown to be useful for investigating the phenomenon of translation.