SEMIOTIC INTERPRETATION OF CHINESE POETRY: TU MU'S POETRY AS EXAMPLE (CRITICISM).
AuthorHSIAO, CHING-SONG GENE.
KeywordsChinese poetry -- T'ang dynasty, 618-907 -- History and criticism.
Semiotics and literature -- History and criticism.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractTo interpret a poem is to comprehend a complete act of written communication. And to comprehend such an act, the reader must break the codes in which the communication is framed. Thus, poetic interpretation becomes the study of codes--or semiotics. Poetic codes exist at pragmatic, semantic, syntactic, and phonic levels. The decoding requires the reader's linguistic skills, literary competence, and personal experience. It involves an initial reading and a retroactive reading. At the first step, the reader attempts to supply elements missing in the text. Yet trying to interpret the text literally, he encounters problems in pragmatics, semantics, syntactics, or phonics, and is unable to grasp a coherent sense of the poem. Those problems give rise to a retroactive reading. At this step, the reader looks for a higher level of understanding where a unity of meaning can be identified. And by explaining the clues in the text according to his linguistic and literary competence, and revising his understanding on the basis of his new findings, he finally discovers a kernel concept, on which the whole text can be seen as a single unit, and every element, which first appeared to be puzzling, has a significative purpose. This semiotic model of interpretation has proven to be very fruitful in the explication of Tu Mu's poetry. It also enables the reader to appreciate the poetic discourse more thoroughly. Some of the ideas advocated by the model may also serve as principles for the translation of poetry. For example, in reading a poem, the model requires a search for unified pragmatic, semantic, syntactic, and phonic patterns, which convey the kernel concept. Thus, in translating a poem, the translator should also try to re-produce in the target language such unified patterns so that the reader may grasp the same kernel concept as contained in the original discourse. The model stresses implicities of poetry. Hence the rendition of a poem should preserve the implicities of the original text in order to invoke from the reader a response similar to what would be induced by the original poem.
Degree ProgramOriental Studies