Redefining Approaches To Translation Of Biblical Intertexts In Whitman's "Leaves Of Grass"


Within the scope of this paper, possible approaches to translating biblical intertexts in Walt Whitman's poem "Leaves of Grass" are discussed. The effect of the Bible on Walt Whitman's works is impressive: scholars refer to over two hundred direct biblical quotes, allusions, and paraphrases in his poetic texts. However, speaking of the role of the Bible in Whitman's poem, one should bear in mind that its impact goes far beyond borrowed linguistic forms, images, or structural principles. Whitman conceived his poem as a new American Bible of Democracy. The case study of two pieces from his "Leaves of Grass" illustrates many challenges that translators may face and highlights skills that they need to master to be able to offer authentic translation. In order to render biblical intertexts abounding in the poem into Russian, it is crucial to take into account social, cultural, and historical aspects of the country of the target language, be aware of the depth at which Russian readers know and understand biblical texts, see internal links between intertexts in the poem and the text of the Bible, and (if necessary) resort to explication methods with due respect for the spirit, style, and air of the original work.

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31 March 2022

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Piven (Nikitina), I. V. (2022). Redefining Approaches To Translation Of Biblical Intertexts In Whitman's "Leaves Of Grass". In & I. Savchenko (Ed.), Freedom and Responsibility in Pivotal Times, vol 125. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 452-461). European Publisher.