Volume 66, Issue 4-5
  • ISSN 0521-9744
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9668
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



Spatiality in literature has been explored in depth in recent years, but there are still few applications in literary translation studies. With space cognitively defined and the trichotomy of iconic signs adopted, we argue that the written text of a poem has its visual poetic spaces – the scene properties of linguistic signs (letters, character parts, words, lineation etc.) and relational reference of linguistic signs (distance, sequence etc.) – and that these poetic spaces are imagically and diagrammatically iconic. Our analysis of the English-Chinese and Chinese-English translation of poems’ iconic letters, lineation, distance, and sequence reveals that some translators have successfully reproduced the source text’s visual spatiality in the target text, but some have simply ignored or neglected the rendering; visual poetic spaces are semantically important and translatable, and the translation techniques involve direct reproduction and complementary renderings. We argue that, in addition to portraying the linguistic and cultural information found in poems, translators should pay more attention to visual poetic spatiality in their work in order to ensure an accurate portrayal of the original author’s work.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Bian, Zhilin
    1996A Chinese Selection of English Poetry with the Original Texts. Beijing: The Commercial Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Giles, Herbert A.
    1873The San Tzǔ Ching or Three Character Classic and the Ch’ien. Tsǔ. Wên or Thousand Character Essay. Shanghai: A. H. DE Carvalho, Printer & Stationer.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Hiraga, Masako K.
    1994 “Diagrams and Metaphors: Iconic Aspects in Language”. Journal of Pragmatics22: 5–21. 10.1016/0378‑2166(94)90053‑1
    https://doi.org/10.1016/0378-2166(94)90053-1 [Google Scholar]
  4. Levinson, Stephen. C.
    2003Space in Language and Cognition: Exploration in Cognitive Diversity. Cambridge: Cambridge CUP. 10.1017/CBO9780511613609
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511613609 [Google Scholar]
  5. Mitchell, W. J. T.
    1980 “Spatial Form in Literature: Toward a General Theory”. Critical Inquiry6: 539–567. 10.1086/448064
    https://doi.org/10.1086/448064 [Google Scholar]
  6. Nänny, Max
    1986 “Iconicity in Literature”. Word & Image: A Journal of Verbal/Visual. Enquiry2: 199–208. 10.1080/02666286.1986.10435344
    https://doi.org/10.1080/02666286.1986.10435344 [Google Scholar]
  7. Ni, Zhijuan
    2010 “玛丽·奥利弗 的 天空” (mǎlì · àolìfú de tiānkōng, Mary Oliver’s Sky). Poetic Exploration2: 135–136.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Peirce, Charles. S.
    1932Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce, ed. by Hartshore, Charles ; and Paul Weiss . Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Reichenbach, Hans
    1958The Philosophy of Space and Time. New York: Dover.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Tally, Robert
    2013Spatiality. London: Routledge. 
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Tu An
    2007英国 历代 诗歌 选 (下册) (yīngguó lìdài shīgē xuǎn (xiàcè), Selected Poems by British Poets in History (The 2nd Volume)). Nanjing: Yilin Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Tversky, Barbara
    2006 “Psychology of Spatial Cognition: Introductory Article”. InEncyclopaedia of Cognitive Science, ed. by Lynn Nadel . 1–6. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. 10.1002/0470018860.s00623
    https://doi.org/10.1002/0470018860.s00623 [Google Scholar]
  13. Waller, David ; and Lynn Nadel
    2013 “Introduction: Frameworks for Understanding Spatial. Thought (or Wrapping Our Heads Around Space)”. InHandbook of Spatial Cognition, ed. by Waller, David ; and Lynn Nadel . 3–11. Washington, D. C. (WA): American Psychological Association. 10.1037/13936‑000
    https://doi.org/10.1037/13936-000 [Google Scholar]
  14. Zhao, Yanchun
    2014The Exegesis of the Three Word Primer Translations. Beijing: Guangming Daily Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Zhou, Xiangqin
    (translated); and Xingting Yu (annotated) 2011英汉 诗歌 比较 鉴赏 (yīnghàn shīgē bǐjiào jiànshǎng, Comparative Appreciation of English and Chinese Poems). Suzhou: Suzhou University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Zhu, Manhua
    2013中国 历代 诗词 英译 集锦 (zhōngguó lìdài shīcí yīngyì jíjǐn, Chinese Famous Poetry Translated by Manfield Zhu). Beijing: Commercial Press International Ltd.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Zou, Zhongzhi
    2016卡明斯 诗 选 (kǎmíngsī shī xuǎn, Selected Poems by E. E. Cummings). Shanghai: Shanghai Translation Publishing House.
    [Google Scholar]
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error