Mao Zedong(1893-1976), who led the Chinese people to have obtained liberation and independence and established their own country, is a great leader, a distinguished statesman, a prominent thinker and a famous strategist. He is loved and respected by the Chinese people. However, at the same time, his fame as a poet is incontrovertible. Willis Barnstone, Professor of Comparative Literature at Indiana University in Bloomington, considers Mao Zedong 'an original master, one of China's most important poets' (He Qixin, 1992:8). His poems, a crystallization of politics, history, military affairs, philosophy and art, upholds and represents the advanced Chinese culture. And his poems are cherished as a gleaming gem in Chinese contemporary literature. Zang Kejia once commented on Mao's poems like this, "His poems open up a new realm for Chinese classical poetry and reach the peak of modern poetry."(Lv Zuyin, 2007)
Considering the highly artistic, idealistic and cultural value of Mao's poetry, it is of great significance to work on its translation and the study of existing translations so as to improve their quality, guide future translation and expand the influence of Chinese poetry and culture.
However, in fact, the study of English translation of Mao's poetry has lagged far behind the study of Mao's poetry itself. And these studies have mainly focused on the roles of the translator and the translated versions from the perspective of deconstruction. The former study analyzes the translator's roles as a reader, a decision-maker and as a writer in the process of translation, and as a cultural mediator in cultural turn. It demonstrates the significance of translator's roles more clearly and forcefully. The latter analyzes the ideological content in different English versions of Mao Zedong's poems. It reveals that translation is a dynamic rather than a static process under the constant influence of different ideologies.
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Until recent years, under the free atmosphere in the academic study, great changes have taken place in the study of Mao Zedong's poetry. The aesthetic study has achieved a great many results from the multi-level or multi-angle aspects, moreover, the linguistic features or the aesthetic features have been covered as well as the humanistic study. However, the aesthetic study of Mao Zedong's poetry has less referred from the formal and the rhetoric perspective, thus this thesis is just an attempt to the field.
To present a clear account of this research, here is the outline of this thesis: The introduction briefs the writing motive of this thesis; Chapter Two reviews Reception Aesthetics theory and its core concepts, as well as feasibility studies for the translations of Mao Zedong's poems with RA; Chapter Three reproduces formal beauty and rhetorical beauty of Mao Zedong's poems; Chapter Four is a comparative study of how the construction, rhymes, rhythms and rhetoric of Mao's poems are reproduced and refreshed in the four English versions (Oxford version, The official version, Zhao Zhentao's version and Xu Yuanchong's version); Chapter Five makes a summary of the comparison and discusses the losses and gains in Mao's poetry translation and analyzes the reasons. The conclusion sums up the whole thesis.
Chapter One Introduction to Mao's Poetry and Its Four Selected English Versions
1.1 Introduction to Mao Zedong's Poetry
In Mao's lifetime, he wrote 67 poems altogether. Among them, 42 poems were revised and agreed by him to publish finally during his life. While another 25 poems were released to the public after his death. The writing of Mao's poetry is closely related with his living background, as well as the modern history of China and the world. So, only carefully study the history background and the concrete processes of many great events, as well as Mao's experience, thoughts, character and mentality, we can reveal the rich and deep connotation of Mao's poems.
Style of poetry refers to poem's characteristics and personality of some poet. All good poems have their own styles, and all poems by famous poets have their own styles, so do Mao's poems. Just as Mao Anqing had commented his father "Father is a man of affectionate nature. When his emotions exalt to poems, his poems find their lives. No matter grief and joy, or vulgarism and elegance, all rest his feelings on poeple. So, to read his poems is to know him." (Xu Yuanchong, 1993:3). Thus Mao composed his poems with his whole heart and the living background. Besides, Mao likes reading and studying classical Chinese poetry, discussing about poems and arts with poets and scholars, and enjoys summarizing his poem creative experience to form his unique characteristics.
1.1.1 Profound Ideological Contents
As mentioned above, the number of Mao's poems is small. But each of them is full of luxuriant imagery, profound meaning and philosophy. Meanwhile, covering various themes like nature, society and life, these poems are rich in epochal character and combativeness, and always encourage people to pursuit higher target.
In order to study, the 42 poems can be divided into four groups according to diachronic: The first group has 4 poems created from the founding of the Chinese Communist Party to First Great Revolution (April 1918-July 1927). "Changsha, tune: 'Spring in a Pleasure Garden'"(ã€Šæ²å›æ˜¥·é•¿æ²™ã€‹) is a good example. These poems are Mao's youth work, which are slightly inferior to later ones. But they are also very inspiring for their lofty spirits and soaring determinations.
The second group has 16 poems created from the Agrarian Revolution and the Anti-Japanese War ( August 1927-August 1945), like "The Autumn Harvest Uprising, Tune: 'the Moon over the West River'" (ã€Šè¥¿æ±Ÿæœˆ·ç‹æ”¶èµ·ä¹‰ã€‹), "Mount Jinggang, Tune: 'the Moon over the West River'" (ã€Šè¥¿æ±Ÿæœˆ·äº•å†ˆå±±ã€‹)etc. This period is a prolific period in Mao's life. Recording the most difficult historical period of the Chinese revolution, the poems are ingeniously conceived with great subjetcs and full of lofty revolutionary heroism and optimistic spirits.
The third group has 2 poems created during the War of Liberation (September 1945- September 1949), like "Capture of Nanjing by the People's Liberation Army"(ã€Šä¸ƒå¾‹·äººæ°‘è£æ”¾å†›å é¢†å-äº¬ã€‹) etc. Though the number of poems is small, they were written before the victory of the Chinese revolution, with strong actuality, magnificent style and clear attitude.
The last group has 20 poems created with the perspective in Mao's poems from revolution to socialist transformation and construction, after the founding of People's Republic of China in 1949, like "Swimming, Tune: 'Prelude to the Melody of Water'" (ã€Šæ°´è°ƒæŒå¤´·æ¸¸æ³³ã€‹) and so on. The poems have quite a new approach to the subjects with enterprising spirit, more allusions and humorous language, which are rich in romantic color and high artistry.
However, according to synchronism, Mao's poems can be divided into three groups: The first group concentrates to describe natural scenery, such as "Changsha, tune: 'Spring in a Pleasure Garden'"(ã€Šæ²å›æ˜¥·é•¿æ²™ã€‹), "the Yellow Crane Tower, Tune: 'Buddhist Dancers'" (ã€Šè©è¨è›®·é»„é¹¤æ¥¼ã€‹) etc. These poems exhibit magnificence of natural scenes and extol the life of nature.
The second group mainly describes society and history, such as "Mount Jinggang, Tune: 'the Moon over the West River'" (ã€Šè¥¿æ±Ÿæœˆ·äº•å†ˆå±±ã€‹) and two tunes of "Pride of Fishermen"(ã€Šæ¸”å®¶å‚²ã€‹) and so on. These poems pay attention to describe the fighting of people's army and the historical changes of whole society.
And the last group mainly describes life and love, such as "Seeing Luo Zhanglong off to Japan"(ã€Šä¸ƒå¤·é€çºµå®‡ä¸€éƒŽä¸œè¡Œã€‹). These poems show the poet has the experience of death and parting, and even loneliness as normal people.
In a word, no matter how classify, no matter how length it is, Mao's poems create an absorbing poetic imagery with wonderful design, rich ideas and sentiments, and are good at expressing the complicated historical causes with terse language.
Distinct Artistic Style
Style is the unique spiritual temperament and creative personality showed in writers' own works by themselves. It runs through all works of a writer, as well as every writing's theme which composes the work, such as rhyme, rhythm, diction, rhetorical devices, and text structure and so on. Therefore, "style is the writer" (Buffon¼Œ1753). Mao's poetry is full of candid and vigorous artistic style.
First, from the internality of poetry, Mao likes Li Bai, Li He and Li Shangyin (known as "Three Li") very much, and is in especial love of poetry by Cao Cao. Their poems are full of broad minds and high aspirations, which strike a chord in Mao Zedong, for passion is the emotional characteristic in Mao's life. Mao also said "only writing out the writer's own bosom and sentiment in poems, it can strike a responsive chord in readers and make them excited." (åˆ˜æ±‰æ°‘¼Œ2002:19). Second, from the styles of poetry, Mao pursuits the styles of diligence, fortitude, largeness and boldness. He once said "I prefer Cao Cao's poems, with powerful spirits and grieving feelings, which shows him a true man." (æ˜“åŸé†‡¼Œæ˜“ç»´¼Œ2003¼š67). Mao also said "Li Bai's poems are unconstrained and imaginable, which make people relaxed and happy. So, reading Li Bai's poems more could make readers open their minds." (åˆ˜æ±‰æ°‘¼Œ2002:191). In all, the spirits of vigor, perseverance and self-reliance in these poems tally with Mao's poetic features well. Third, from the expressions of poetry, Mao likes romantic works with rich imagination and usages of exaggeration and personification. So, Mao admires the famous poet Su Dongpo of powerful and free school in Song Dynasty very much, as well as the famous poetess Li Qingzhao of subtle and concise school. Therefore, Mao's poems have characteristics of the two schools, just as he criticized himself "I has a bias in favor of the style of boldness, but never totally ignore the style of gracefulness" (å¾æ¶›¼Œ1955:413).
1.1.3 Magnificent Imagery
Just like other classical Chinese poems, Mao's poems are tending to use various images. Mao even showed his attitude toward poetry creation in a letter to Chen Yi that poetry conveys ideas by means of images.
First, on images, Mao usually expresses feelings by nature, which makes the image great and magnificent. The most used word in his poems is "å¤©"(sky), such as "å¤©è‹¥æœ‰æƒ…å¤©äº¦è€", "ä¸‡ç±»éœœå¤©ç«žè‡ªç”±", "ä¸‡æœ¨éœœå¤©çº¢çƒ‚æ¼«" and so on. "å±±"(mountain) and "é£Ž"(wind) are second, like "è¸éé’å±±äººæœªè€", "å±±¼Œå¿«é©¬åŠ éžæœªä¸‹éž", "ä¸‡æ°´åƒå±±åªç‰é-²", "èç‘Ÿç‹é£Žä»Šåˆæ˜¯¼Œæ¢äº†äººé-´". "æ±Ÿ"(river), "æ°´"(water) and "æµ·"(sea) are third. Consequently, Mao prefers things with imposing vigor, but never uses "ä¸˜å£‘"(hill), "å°æºª"(stream), "å°æ²³"(creek). Besides, Mao also prefers snow, rain, wind and frost in nature. According to statistics, there are 12 "é›¨"(rain), 13 "é›ª"(snow) and 8 "éœœ"(frost) in Mao's poems. In term of "å¤©"(sky), Mao's usage is different from the ancients. "å¤©"(sky) in classical Chinese poetry mostly mapped a gloomy and mournful image, for example, "å¤©é•¿åœ°è¿œé‚é£žè‹¦¼Œè’™æ··ä¸åˆ°å…³å±±éš¾", "æˆ‘åŠå¤©å…¬é‡æŠ-æ“ž", "é›é£žæ®‹æœˆå¤©", "å¤šå°‘æš-æ„å¯†æ„¼Œå”¯æœ‰å¤©çŸ¥" or "ä¸‰åä¸‰å¤©¼Œç¦»æ¨å¤©æœ€é«˜" etc. instead, "å¤©"(sky) in Mao's poems shows a strong revolution will, and is often used to describe the glories and the foibles of man, such as "å¤©ç¿»åœ°è¦†æ…¨è€Œæ…·", "å›½é™…æ‚²æŒæŒä¸€æ›²¼Œç‹‚é£™ä¸ºæˆ‘ä»Žå¤©è½", "ä¸€å”±é›„é¸¡å¤©ä¸‹ç™½", "ä¸ºæœ‰ç‰ºç‰²å¤šå£®å¿-¼Œæ•¢å«æ-¥æœˆæ¢æ-°å¤©", "é£žèµ·çŽ‰é¾™ä¸‰ç™¾ä¸‡¼Œæ…å¾-å‘¨å¤©å¯’å½»" and so on, which obviously represent Mao's heroic character and broad mind.
Second, Mao's images in his poems are colorful. Among various colors, Mao likes red best. For example, "ä¸çˆ±çº¢è£…çˆ±æ¦è£…", "çœ‹ä¸‡å±±çº¢é", "é£Žå±•çº¢æ--å¦‚ç”»" etc. While, in "èµ¤æ©™é»„ç»¿é’è“ç´«¼Œè°æŒå½©ç»ƒå½“ç©ºèˆž", metonymy is vividly used to describe rainbow's magnificence with seven basic colors.
At last, Mao is good at using creative and impassioned verbs to present a dynamic and exultant picture of nature. Just like "é¹°å‡»é•¿ç©º¼Œé±¼ç¿”æµ…åº•", "å‡»"(cleave) is more forceful than "é£ž"(fly), while "ç¿”"(glide) is quicker than "æ¸¸"(swim). A comparatively still object will move in Mao's poems. Take "å±±"(mountain) for example, "æ¨ªç©ºå‡ºä¸-¼ŒèŽ½æ˜†ä»‘", "ä¸€å±±é£žå³™å¤æ±Ÿè¾¹¼Œè·ƒä¸Šè‘±èŒå››ç™¾æ-‹", "å±±èˆžé“¶è›‡". "å±±"(mountain) in Mao's poems is not stable and silent, but could dance, fly, walk and even run, in all, with kinds of ways to move. (æ›¾çŽ²çŽ²¼Œ2005)
Therefore, images of Mao's poems are magnificent, glorious, moving and bright colors. These not only show his heroic bearing as a giant of Chinese revolution, but produce unique rich images of classical Chinese poetry. When translating Mao's poems, translators should pay attention to these characteristics.
1.2 Introduction to Four Selected English Versions
According to incomplete statistics, domestic versions of Mao's poetry have come to more than 200 now, including Chinese versions, minority versions, foreign versions, as well as handwriting versions, copybook versions and melodization versions and so on. Among them, the most influential ones are Mao Tze-tung: Nineteen Poems, Mao Zedong Poems (37 pieces), Collection of Mao Zedong's Poem (50 pieces) published by People's Literature Publishing House and Collection of Mao Zedong's Poem (67 pieces) by Central Committee Documents Publishing House. Various versions of Mao' poems not only make a profound and lasting influence in poetry circle, but lay a foundation for the further research.
Since rhetorical devices translation in four English versions of Mao's poems will be studied in this thesis. it is indispensable to know about the four selected English versions. This part will give an overall introduction to these versions; the basic information about each version will be presented in the table below:
Basic publishing information about the four selected English versions
Michael Bullock&Jerome Ch'en
Yuan Shuipai, Ye Junjian, Adler etc.
Mao and the Chinese Revolutio: with Thirty-Seven Poems by Mao Tse-tung
Mao Tse-tung Poems
Mao Zedong Poems
Selected Poems of Mao Zedong
Oxford University Press
Foreign Languages Press
Hunan Normal University Press
China Translation Press Company
New York; London;
Among the four versions, the former one is translated by foreigners and the latter three by Chinese. The former one is in the form of prose and the latter three are in the form of poetry with rhyme and rhythm.
In the following part, more detailed information about the translator and the format and general characteristics of each version will be provided respectively for comprehensive and better understanding of their translations.
1.2.1 Oxford's Version
It is the translation that doesn't come from Chinese translators, but sinologists aboard. Among these translations, the translators' special position decides "there never occurs any anxiety and fear, and there also has no need to bow in worship before the original author." For the subjects of translating will appear in the horizons of readers from the English-speaking world first as a literature works, the translators consider more needs of that kinds of readers when they translate. Also, it is easy to find that the translating activities by foreign scholars mainly happened in 1960s-1970s, so there will be more chance to have commons among these translations for the short time-span.
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In 1965, the Chinese (-Born) American scholar Jerome Ch'en collaborated on Mao and the Chinese Revolution: with Thirty-seven Poems by Mao Tse-tung with American scholar Michael Bullock, and published it in London and New York by Oxford University Press. As a history professor, Jerome Ch'en studies Chinese movement of communism and knows much about China's revolution and has a relatively comprehensive and deep understanding of what Mao's poetry writes about. There is an introduction to Mao's poems before the translations. After each translated poem, notes including the writing background and explanations of some important Chinese cultural things are given to help English readers gain a relatively complete understanding of the poems.
1.2.2 The Official Version
The official translation is Mao Tse-tung poems published by Foreign Language Press in 1976. In this book, there is a photo of Mao Zedong and one of his calligraphy on the preface. The title of each poem was printed in red, while the subtitle and the lines of each poem were all printed in blank. After these translated poems, there is a "NOTE ON THE VERSE FORM" by translators to briefly explain the style of the poem.
Because the original author Mao Zedong was occupying the leader of the nation at that time, the translating activities was held by officials and became a serious political task under the guidance of leaders from country's most powerful office. The translation was completed by Mao Zedong poems translation group and issued by the government. All of these made the 1976 translation have great difference with others, no matter from contents or forms.
1.2.3 Zhao Zhentao's Version
The name of Zhao's version is Mao Zedond Poems with thirty-nine poems. It was published by by Hunan People's Publishing House in 1992. There are two prefaces in the version: one is written by Han Suyin and the other by the translator himself. The translator also wrote two articles about several issues in the translated versions of Mao's poetry. The two articles mainly point out the mistakes or something improper in the translated versions which show the translator's carefulness and earnestness on the understanding of Mao's poetry and his great faithfulness to the original especially in details. In this version, the translator adopts the form of Chinese-English contrast and provides the simple notes after each translated poem.
1.2.4 Xu Yuanchong's Version
This version is named Seletced Poems of Mao Zedong containing forty-seven poems and it is published by China Translation and Publishing Corporation in 1993 for the memory of the 100th anniversary of Mao's birth. In this version, there are English notes after each poem. Xu Yuanchong, the gifted and well-known poem translator, who is a professor of Beijing University and has achieved a lot in the field of translation, has idea of "translating poetry with poetry". With his translation theory of "three beauties", he thought the translated poem should be as beautiful as the original in sense, sound and form, and that among the three beauty, beauty in sense comes first, and beauty in sound second, and beauty in form third, and that if it is impossible to achieve all beauties at the same time, the resemblance in form will come first and then in sound as to achieve faithfulness and beauty in sense. (Xu Yuanchong, 1992)
In this version, there is a photo of Mao Zedong with Mao Anqing and Shao Hua on the first page and the short preface written by them. Besides these, there is the preface written by the translator himself in both Chinese and English about his translation views and principles, mainly about the application of Three Beauty Principle in translating Mao's poems. The translator also adopts the form of Chinese-English contrast and provides the English notes and some background information after each translated poem.
The above versions are short for Oxford's, the Official, Zhao's and Xu's separately in the following discussion.
Chapter Two Reception Aesthetic Theory Review
2.1 A Brief Introduction to Reception Aesthetic Theory
"Reception theory is neither a general study of essence of aesthetics nor a study of criticism about literary art theory. It is rather the system of methodology concerning the study of succession of factors and laws in readers' reception process, based on the theories of phenomenology and hermeneutics and aimed at readers' reception in the literary work." (Davis, Linell, 2001:33)
Reception aesthetics (or reception theory) was developed in German, arouse in the later of 1960s and matured in 1970s. Its main representatives are some professors from Constance University of south German, such as H.R.Jauss, W.Iser. RA broke through the traditional critical molds with "writer center" and "works center" and turned to the mold with "reader center", which opened up the sight of art criticism. No matter how great difference and divarication the inside of reception aesthetics exist, there is a common basic theory, which puts readers (or reception subjects) in the central position of literature activities. According to reception aesthetics, literature is a new communication activity and it must have certain condition and place. The artworks are a medium (or tool) for artists and readers to communicate. If the words written by writers haven't read by readers, they are just semi finished articles (i.e. text) and have the potential ability to be literature works, but not real ones; only read by receptionists (readers), they will be real literature works. According to this theory, writers must preset a reader (i.e. "implied reader" or "potential reader") when writing, "Literature works are regarded as a dynamic communication form between text and reader, but not a free thing." So, writing for writer is to communicate and make dialogues with his preset reader.
Reception Aesthetic theory challenges traditional author centered or text centered theories which ignore the function and status of readers as well as the interaction between readers and texts. Reception theory soon spreads all over the world, and becomes a very important theory of literature and criticism. Just as Holub said, "Virtually, every methodological perspective and area of literary endeavor has responded to the challenge that has raised by reception theory." (Houlb, 1984:15)
2.2 Core Concepts of Reception Aesthetics
2.2.1 Horizon of expectation
"Horizon of Expectation" is the core conception of reception aesthetics, which refers to receptor about oriental psychological structural schema. This directional emotion is transformed from the current life and aesthetics experience, and it is a mental foundation for aesthetics, including the education level of receptor, living experience, aesthetics and literature interest, as well as experience, knowledge and works expectation formed from the familiarity about various forms and skills, which have been gotten from the whilom aesthetics experience. Among these factors forming horizon of expectation, the times, nation, culture and class where readers are make radical influence on receptors' appreciation and interests.
"Horizon of Expectation" theory points, the literature participation of any reception subjects is just a process that their horizon of expectations seek to express. Only if the works must adapt for readers' horizon of expectation, they will arouse their interests and set up a channel for reception objects and subjects, then, get into the reception process. If works' horizon of expectation is far away from readers', the works will lose their attraction and the channel won't be built, at last, the works will fail to make receptors get into the reception process. Translation also takes readers as objects. The direct receptor of translation is the main body of reading---readers. If there are no readers, the meaning, connotation and expression forms cannot become the objects of aesthetics, and translation also cannot have a definite object in view when conveying its information. Therefore, in this theory, readers are regarded as an important part of translating to research.
2.2.2 Fusion of horizon
Since we have horizon of readers, it is not strange that horizon also includes the author's horizon and the translator's horizon. The author's horizon has effect on the creation of works, which means, with different backgrounds and experiences, different authors will create different styles of works. The reader's horizon mainly concerns about the process of reception. The translator, actually, has the function as a bridge. On one side, the translator is the reader who appreciates and understands the original works. On the other side, he or she is a translator. Because different translators have different background like personality, skill, education, interest, views to the world and so on. So, the translator's version and recognition about translation activity and original works will be diverse. In order to let the translated versions be accepted, the translator should develop his translation skills and strategies to cater to the reader's horizon. The activity of fusion of horizon happens between past experiences which are contained in the original works and present interests of its nowadays readers. It is a dynamic process.
2.2.3 Indeterminacy and blank of meaning
Iser mainly focuses on the gap or indeterminacy of the text. To Iser, the most important difference between a literary and a non-literary work is just the indeterminacies that have contained in the works. There are lots of indeterminacy that constitutes the most important elements for literary works, "Meaning is not contained in the text itself, but rather is generated during the reading process. It is neither purely textual nor totally subjective, but the result of an interaction between the two: the extent of our participation and the degree of the work's determinacy defines the type of text with which we are dealing" (Selden, 1986: 327-329).
It is the existence of these "blanks" and "gaps" that force and stimulate readers to recreate and concrete. Iser proposes that literary works have two poles: artistic pole and aesthetic pole, in which, the artistic pole just means the original text created by the author, the aesthetic pole is about the realization of meaning carried out by the readers.
The meaning of one certain work can only be realized through the activity that readers fill in the indeterminacy during reading. When readers read the works, they will commonly make prediction or pre-judgment. When encountered with blanks or gaps, they will fill them up actively from they own creativity, skills and so on. This process is the so called "concretization of reading". In the creation of literary works, the author usually describes the main features of the text fully and clearly, while at the same time, omits purposely some unimportant features or clues and leaves them to the reader for aesthetic effect and semantic function.
When Jauss was doing research on the role of literature in history, Iser decided to analyze and study the reading process and the role of readers. In Iser's mind, it is the reader who helps to form the meaning of text by filling in "blanks" or "gaps".
2.2.4 Implied reader
Maybe the most distinctive feature of reception aesthetics is its emphasis on the notion of readers. Different readers have different horizon of expectations before activity of reading. It is not strange that different understanding may occur toward the same literary work. To the theorists of reception theory, literary works are created for readers; readers help to realize the meaning of literary works to a large extent. It is the historical position of literary works. "Implied reader roots deeply in the textual structure, the emergence of textually and structurally anticipated acceptor and there is no need to define the acceptor." (Iser, 1971:19). Iser asks for an actual reader or empirical reader, but doesn't consider the expression of the reader.
The relationship of implied reader and the text is the central focus for Iser, "The implied reader embodies all those predispositions necessary for a literary work to exercise its effect predispositions laid down, not by an empirical outside reality, but by the text itself. Consequently, the implied reader as a concept has his roots firmly planted in the structure of the text; he is a construct and in no way to be identified with any real reader" (Zhu Gang, 1998:116).
Reception aesthetics believes that the process of literary creation is not a self completed task, it is not self-sufficient. The process is also an activity that helps to communicate thoughts, ideas, and emotions and so on to the other people. Literary works can only be seen as a possible existence before being read and understood. Only after the reception of readers can literary works' significance be realized. While during the process of reception, the receptive activity is not a passive one but an initiative one. The readers not just simply read the works, but he or she will fill in the "gaps" and "indeterminacies" with his or her own imagination, life experiences, interests, etc. Without participation of the reader, literary works are not true. The aesthetic sense and function of literary can be achieved only through the interaction with readers. It is the reader that creates the beauty and vitality of literary works persistent.
2.2.5 Appealing structure
The concept of "Appealing structure" is put forward firstly by Edmund Husserl's student Roman Ingarden. Iser has absorbed many ideas from Ingarden, among which, the concept of indeterminacy and blanks were Iser's focal point. It is the existence of indeterminacy which links the writers' ideas in the process of writing and the reader's reception ideas in the process of reading that make literary works lively and vital "â€¦only through readers' effort can the writer's ideas shown in the text be actualized or concretized in different ways and reappear in different looks in readers' mind. Indeterminacy of the text and vacancy of meaning urges readers to look for the meaning of the text; as a result, readers are given the right to participate in forming the meaning: the meaning is the result of an interaction between text and reader rather hides in the text to wait to be discovered. Thus an open text and its meaning blanks form the basic structure of the text, which is what we called 'appealing structure'." (Houlb, 1984:25).
In conclusion, reception aesthetics breaks through the traditional text-centered theories and establishes readers-centered viewpoint. It proposes that the meaning of literary works is depended on the readers. The dynamic interaction of the readers' previous experiences and the text gives birth to the concept of the readers' response. The readers' imagination and interpretation can be fully realized from the "indeterminacy" and "gaps" that are contained in the text. The appealing structure forces the readers to participate in the interaction with the text and to actualize the hidden meaning of the text. To reception theorist, literature's historical significance lies in the readers' pre-experience which joins literature to history. Different readers with different background, interests, education, aesthetic abilities and so on will interpret the same text differently.
Reception aesthetics is either important to literature theory or to criticism. Just as Jauss mentioned, "Reception Aesthetics opened a view the possibility of renewing literary history, exhausted and mired in positivism, by giving it the task of seeking a new understanding of the history of literature as a communication process between all three parties, namely, the author, t
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