Art, Science, and Ste. Emilie's Sunsets: A Haj-Inspired Cognitive Approach to Translating an Emily Dickinson Poem into Japanese

By Freeman, Margaret H.; Takeda, Masako | Style, Spring-Summer 2006 | Go to article overview

Art, Science, and Ste. Emilie's Sunsets: A Haj-Inspired Cognitive Approach to Translating an Emily Dickinson Poem into Japanese


Freeman, Margaret H., Takeda, Masako, Style


In the spring semester of 1983, each Wednesday would see Haj taking a late morning flight from Logan to La Guardia, where I would meet him to drive out to the State University of New York College at Old Westbury, where I was teaching at the time. As a nontraditional college founded by Nelson Rockefeller in the 1960s to be the social sciences sister to SUNY/Purchase's arts focus, SUNY/COW did not have formal departments. I taught in a program called Comparative History, Ideas, and Cultures (CHIC), and, in the spring of 1983, we were fortunately able to find funding to bring Haj to the college each week for a seminar course called Art and Science in a Society at the Turning Point, loosely based on Fritjof Capra's recently published book on that subject. In addition to the regular seminars, three public lectures were offered--"Science in Search of Humanity," "Language in Search of Meaning," and "Poetry and the Power of Words." While students were able to take the course for credit, all the lectures and seminar sessions were open to the public and the college community without charge. The three-hour long seminars started at 7:30 p.m. and drew upwards of forty people each week, students, faculty, and staff alike.

Accompanying Haj on his weekly visits was his beloved carpetbag, crammed with manuscripts, articles, and juggling balls. Students, faculty, and staff learned to find Haj on his arrival at Old Westbury by the CHIC Xerox machine, where they could engage him in conversation while he ran off innumerable copies of all kinds of material that be thought everyone should know about. The seminars themselves were magical, as all Haj's friends would suppose: the room was large enough to seat everyone in a circle, and halfway through, Haj would produce enough juggling balls from his bag of tricks for everyone to stand and stretch and juggle. As the lecture titles indicate, seminar topics focused on Haj's interests and concerns on the nature of linguistics, art, humanity, science, and poetry, and the increasing influence of Eastern on Western thought, all of which still engage him and us to this day. Haj's energy was prodigious. After the seminar, we would drive home to Brooklyn for a late supper and talk into the early morning hours with my husband Don, who had known Haj since their days at MIT in the 1960s. I would then drop Haj off at La Guardia for his return trip to Cambridge on my way to the college the next morning. An indelible memory in my brain is the sight of sandy-haired Haj and his carpetbag on the sidewalk at La Guardia each Wednesday morning, as I arrived to pick him up.

Many years later, I find myself engaged in a natural development from these seminar exchanges and Haj's influence in my work with an Emily Dickinson colleague, Masako Takeda, from Osaka, Japan, who has translated many of Dickinson's poems into Japanese. We are collaborating on her translation of a short poem by Dickinson, whom Haj invariably refers to as "Saint Emily" or "Ste. Emilie" (either a nod to what he thinks is my attitude or a reflection of his own--or perhaps both). One manuscript text (there are three) is accompanied by a note that says: "Please accept a sunset--." What follows are my comments on how a cognitive analysis could possibly help in translation, together with Masako's discussion of the poem as she has translated it.

Dickinson's poetry, as all who read her know, is challenging in its obscurity, an obscurity compounded by the complexities of her language. If Dickinson's poetry is difficult for the native speaker to understand, how much more so is it to translate her poetry into another language? Whatever theoretical stance a translator takes, whether that of Nabokov's literal (word-for-word) translation, von Humboldt's theory of adequate equivalencies, or the reception theory of twentieth-century approaches, the translator is still very much seen as one who first and foremost must deal with "experiencing and defining the boundaries of meanings and associations surrounding each word" (Biguenet and Schulte xiii). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Art, Science, and Ste. Emilie's Sunsets: A Haj-Inspired Cognitive Approach to Translating an Emily Dickinson Poem into Japanese
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.