A Stealth Transmitter: How Does Ezra Pound Riddle the English Text?

Guoxiang WU


An attempt is made to explore how Chinese character riddles are embedded into the English text by Ezra Pound. In the Chinese-speaking context, the character riddle is a kind of cultural practice with a problem and a solution as its two major components, which in turn basically correspond to the lexicogrammatical description of a character and the character under description. The rule is not abstruse: Players of such a language game are supposed to get at the solution on a given problematic basis. Just as one tends to construe experience through language, so does Pound construe his own experience of the character through the English language. His representation of such experience is evident throughout his translation of the Chinese classics, e.g., Confucian Analects. He describes the character in terms of the English lexicogrammar and then adapts the description into the English text with necessary configurations. In this sense, Pound is not only a translator but also a transmitter who stealthily introduces the character riddle into the English text, since every reader of his translation works has to come into play. He leaves the legacy of the riddle problem for his English readers to find their way out to guess the solution.


Functional analysis; Chinese-English translation; Character riddle; Ezra Pound

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/n


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