Goldblatt's translated English version of Mo Yan's masterpiece Big Breasts and Wide Hips, which is abound in metaphorical expressions, has received both praise and criticism. But research to date can be found not to have paid enough attention to his transference of the abundant culturally loaded metaphors in the original. A systematic exploration of the transference of these metaphorical expressions may shed new light on the translator and his work. This article draws upon insights from Conceptual Metaphor Theory and Conceptual Blending Theory to examine three pervasive conceptual metaphor systems in the original novel, namely [BREAST], [ANIMAL], and [CELESTIAL BODY] as the target domains with [HUMAN BEING] as the source domain, and their translations in the English version. These conceptual metaphors, respectively, convey Mo Yan's views on women, the notion of a hometown, and the universe, and the choice of the source domain points to Mo Yan's tendency in conceptual blending to use his Chinese cultural frames. By contrast, in deciphering and representing these metaphors, Goldblatt, while appreciating most of Mo Yan's culturally loaded metaphorical expressions, in some cases provides source domains from his own Western cultural frames, demonstrating his tendency in conceptual blending which develops differently from that of Mo Yan. Besides the cognitive reason why Mo Yan and his translator Goldblatt differ in the manner of conceptual blending, there may be reasons more than misunderstanding of Chinese culture in Goldblatt's choice of translation, among which ideology and cognitive perspective can be said to work together in driving a translator to make choices as what he or she does.
Different Conceptual Blending with Different Cultural Frames: Goldblatt's (Mis-)Construal of Mo Yan's Metaphor in Big Breasts and Wide Hips
xiaohui liang is professor of English language and literature with English Department at University of International Relations, China. She is also council member of China Stylistics Association, executive member of the Council in China Cognitive Poetics Association, Editorial Board Member of Cognitive Poetics, principal investigator of National Social Science Foundation project, and title holder of Beijing Teaching Masters. Her articles appear in SSCI and A&HCI journals. Her research interests include stylistics, cognitive poetics, and literary theory.
Xiaohui Liang; Different Conceptual Blending with Different Cultural Frames: Goldblatt's (Mis-)Construal of Mo Yan's Metaphor in Big Breasts and Wide Hips. Comparative Literature Studies 15 December 2017; 54 (4): 771–794. doi: https://doi.org/10.5325/complitstudies.54.4.0771
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