Life as a Metaphor and Metaphor as a Foundation for Poetic Translation




metaphor, poetry, model, approximation, poetic translation, English, Russian


The first part of the article examines the phenomenon of metaphor in its ontological sense – as an integral part of the poetic worldview. Using the example of the famous extended metaphor in describing the ball in Nikolai Gogol’s novel “Dead Souls”, we discuss the extension of meanings that occurs at the level of aesthetics as a direct effect of the metaphor. In the second part of the article, the metaphor is considered as a supporting element of the poetic construction, which in a certain sense plays the role of an invariant in the process of poetic translation. Using my own translation activities as an example, I am trying to trace the transplantation of a poetic metaphor from English into Russian. Moreover, the metaphor, that terminologically means movement, a certain flow (and extension) of meaning, is analysed as a scientific model. In constructing this model, the author’s goal is not identification, but approximation, not blind similarity, not far-fetched comparison of the two phenomena (even if formally suitable), but the discovery of deep kinship. Moreover, as stated in the article, this kinship does not have to be conveyed by the totality of qualities – instead, it aesthetically follows from the main features. Using translations from 20th-century English poetry (Robert Frost and Wilfred Owen), specific poetic decisions made by me as a translator are discussed. At the same time, general issues that inevitably arise in translation are also addressed, in particular, on the choice of a poetic form depending on the cultural context and on both poetic traditions. In this case, our goal is to trace what happens with a metaphor in the process of translation, what transformations it undergoes.

Author Biography

Olga Tabachnikova, University of Central Lancashire

PhD, Reader in Russian, Subject Leader for Russian Studies,

The Director of The Vladimir Vysotsky Centre for Russian Studies

School of Humanities, Language and Global Studies

University of Central Lancashire

Adelphi Street, PR1 2HE, Preston, England


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How to Cite

Tabachnikova, O. “Life As a Metaphor and Metaphor As a Foundation for Poetic Translation”. Pitannâ lìteraturoznavstva, no. 101, July 2020, pp. 126-45, doi:10.31861/pytlit2020.101.126.



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