UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A translation of eleven poems by John Keats and an introductory essay Miller, Hedwig


This thesis is composed of two parts. Part one is an essay on the theoretical aspects of translation, and part two is a translation into German of the following poems by John Keats: Ode to Apollo; Ode to Pan; Ode; Ode to Fanny; To—; Ode to Psyche; Ode on a Grecian Urn; Ode on Indolence; Ode on Melancholy; Ode to a Nightingale; To Autumn. The essay discusses the act, process and function of translation from both a general and a particular point of view. It states that translation is a subjective act which can have no definite guidelines. Its closeness to, or deviation from, the original depends on how the translator perceives his responsibility. His sense of responsibility will be determined by his notion as to the priorities of content and form which he acknowledges as the outward manifestation of an inner essence which he wishes to capture. Whatever his priorities or compromises may be, he must be free to choose as he pleases. For the sake of true communication, there is a need and place for every type of translation. For the sake of creativity, there is his need for personal discovery and growth. In the process of translating, he penetrates to a level of consciousness where his and the author's identities touch. There he receives the gift of 'essence' and brings back from their common meeting ground an intuition thereof. But the atmosphere through which he must pass—his subjectivity—colours the translation with its particular light. The translation can be only a personal and subjective rendering of the original. His subjectivity-should be accepted as inevitable. In his function, the translator is a communicator of ideas and beauty, and indirectly he is an interpreter and a man of letters. By becoming aware of literary and linguistic differences, he comes in touch with more universal questions which may lead him into other fields of inquiry. He is a practicing comparatist, and if he has the power and understanding, he may do much to integrate knowledge and contribute to its advancement. Primarily, however, he is a man of action. He learns to do by doing what he learns to do; but as a man of contemplation he also learns to know by learning how to think about his doings: the act, process and function of his actions.

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