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On the Translation of Imagery in Wang Wei’s Farewell Poems: An Analysis of Five Poems
Farewell poetry plays an essential role in Chinese literature, and flourished during the Tang Dynasty (唐朝; 618-907 CE). Tang poets combined emotions with nature, creating the poetic beauty of farewell poems of this time. Among famous poets of the Tang dynasty, Wang Wei (王維; 692-761 or 699-759 CE) was best known for his ability of producing picturesque poems. More than one fifth of his poems still known today contained the theme of farewell. Wang Wei often used imagery to convey his ideas; such images include those of color, auditory, the seasons, animals, and plants. These images are combined to represent the emotions and sentiments of the poet and the atmosphere of the poem, which then fills the mind of the reader to recreate the scenario or sentiment the writer wished to convey. Due to differences in culture and connotations, an image can be translated in many ways. Therefore, the selection of the translated word or sentence is very important in conveying the meaning and emotions of the original writer. Through the introduction of farewell poems, farewell imagery, and translation analysis of the five selected farewell poems by Wang Wei from the Three Hundred Tang Poems (〈送綦毋潛落第還鄉〉, 〈送元二使安西〉, 〈山中送別〉, 〈送別〉, and 〈送梓州李使君〉), this thesis hopes to aid translators tasked with the challenge of translating images in poetry, especially those with a farewell theme.
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