This essay examines Chinese translations of Emily Dickinson’s poetry in the period from 1984 to 2011 by twelve key translators who have published their translations in book form and four other major translators whose translations appear in monographs or anthologies. It includes the translators’ general concern for thematic subjects, challenges they encounter, and their translation efforts in disclosing the essence of her poetry and representing what she says. Examples are analyzed to display the challenges translators encounter in representing imagery, puns, polysemes, homonyms, and metaphorical words that look simple but prove rich in connotation. A close analysis is given to the translations of “I like a look of Agony” (Fr339), which has received considerable attention; writing style, punctuation marks, tricky words and word order, and elusive ideas can all be obstacles for translation. Despite inaccuracies and misinterpretations that occur at times, translations of her poetry into Chinese on the whole have brought to light a glowing image of the poet and provided a tube through which readers of Chinese can have a panoramic view of the world of Emily Dickinson and recognize her as a serious thinker, whose thought penetrates all fields of life and finds expression in insights on various subjects.


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pp. 107-127
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