In recent years, researchers have conducted empirical studies in reader response, which have either contested or confirmed earlier theories. Indeed, the 1970s and 1980s saw the shift from interpreting the page to looking into reading processes, but the studies remained on the level of abstraction. Our study follows the trend towards evidence-grounded investigations by examining real readers' reactions to poetry and innovates by looking into cross-cultural receptions of a poem in its original and translated versions. To verify whether responses to poetry are universal or culture specific, a rigorous method was adopted: 500 humanities undergraduate students from two different countries (Brazil and Ukraine) were asked to read Poe's “The Lake” and to gauge their reactions using a questionnaire with a fifteen-item semantic differential scale. Participants read either the original version in English (i.e., a foreign language to them) or its translation into their mother tongue (Portuguese, Russian, or Ukrainian). The results point to statistically significant differences within and between the groups. The findings indicate that first-hand responses to poetry are largely culture specific and that the translations also influence reactions.
Cross-Cultural Reader Response to Original and Translated Poetry: An Empirical Study in Four Languages
anna chesnokova holds an MA in English and French philology (Kyiv National Linguistic University, 1991) and a PhD in comparative literary studies (Taras Shevchenko Kyiv National University, 1999). She is the professor of English philology at Borys Grinchenko Kyiv University, Ukraine. She has published on stylistics and empirical studies of literature. Her publications include Acting & Connecting: Cultural Approaches to Language and Literature (coedited with S. Zyngier and V. Viana, LIT Verlag, 2007), Directions in Empirical Literary Studies (coedited with S. Zyngier, M. Bortolussi, and J. Auracher, John Benjamins, 2008), chapters for The International Reception of Emily Dickinson (Continuum Press, 2009), Cases on Distance Delivery and Learning Outcomes: Emerging Trends and Programs (with V. Viana, S. Zyngier and W. van Peer, IGI Global, 2009), Teaching Stylistics (with W. van Peer and S. Zyngier, Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) and Scientific Approaches to Literature in Learning Environments (John Benjamins, 2016).
sonia zyngier holds an MA in English literature (University of Liverpool, 1973) and a PhD in applied linguistics (University of Birmingham, 1994). She is adjunct professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, where she was also director of Cultural Affairs and Continuing Education for four years. A member of IGEL and PALA, she has been on the board of both associations. She has published widely on literary awareness, (pedagogical) stylistics and empirical studies of literature, contributing to the Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics with an article on pedagogical stylistics (Elsevier, 2006). In collaboration, she published Directions in Empirical Literary Studies (John Benjamins, 2008) and Literary Education and Digital Learning: Methods and Technologies for Humanities Studies (IGI Global, 2010). She has also coauthored Scientific Methods for the Humanities (John Benjamins, 2012). Currently, she coedits the Linguistic Approaches to Literature Series (John Benjamins).
vander viana holds an MA in language studies (Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, 2008) and a PhD in English language and linguistics (Queen's University Belfast, 2012). He is a lecturer in TESOL/applied linguistics and the program director of the PhD in TESOL Research, both in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Stirling. His research interests lie in corpus linguistics, TESOL, applied linguistics, and discourse analysis, and he has published extensively in these areas in international journals/books. He co-chairs the Corpus Linguistics in Scotland Network (http://www.stir.ac.uk/) and serves on the editorial board of a few international journals (e.g., TESOL Journal). Dr. Viana leads a number of funded projects, the most recent of which is “Quantitative language research: Exploring the potential of Corpus Linguistics in Education” (http://www.stir.ac.uk/clis/).
juliana jandre holds an MA in applied linguistics (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, 2010) and a PhD in education (Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, 2017). She teaches English at the pre-service teacher school of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. She has published articles on literary awareness, reader response, humor and English teachers' education.
anna rumbesht holds an MA in English and German philology (Kyiv National Linguistic University, 2006) and a PhD in English stylistics (Kyiv National Linguistic University, 2013). She is a senior lecturer in English philology at Borys Grinchenko Kyiv University, Ukraine. A member of PALA, she has presented at several international conferences (Huddersfield, UK; Joensuu, Finland; and Heidelberg, Germany). She also attended the Metaphor Lab School Metaphor Identification and Analysis at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (2012 and 2013). Her main research interest is metaphor with a specialism in conceptual metaphor.
fernanda ribeiro holds a BA in Portuguese and English languages and literatures (Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro, 2015) and is currently an MA student in linguistics at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, where she is a member of LINC (Group of Studies on Cognitive Linguistics). She has presented papers at different conferences and has published articles in Brazilian periodicals. Her research interest is cognitive linguistics.
Anna Chesnokova, Sonia Zyngier, Vander Viana, Juliana Jandre, Anna Rumbesht, Fernanda Ribeiro; Cross-Cultural Reader Response to Original and Translated Poetry: An Empirical Study in Four Languages. Comparative Literature Studies 15 December 2017; 54 (4): 824–849. doi: https://doi.org/10.5325/complitstudies.54.4.0824
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