Translating Indian poetry in the Colonial Period in Korea

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This paper focuses on how, via English as relay language, Koreans under Japanese rule turned to translations of Indian poetry, inspired by Indians’ anticolonial struggles and interest in how these poets transmitted Asian emotions and spiritual outlook. Translations of Rabindranath Tagore’s works were linked to concerns such as the merits of free vs. literal translation, the importance of translating from the original, the perceived need to overcome the limits of the Korean language, and the importance of enriching Korean literature through imports. Translations contributed to the development of a new writing style and the establishment of children’s literature. Translations of poems by Sarojini Naidu were fewer in number than those of Tagore, but they acted as a model of women’s participation in national renewal.


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