Aesthetic and rhetorical qualities of allusions and allegories in translation
Aesthetic and rhetorical qualities of allusions and allegories in translation
(MA English Translation Student, Tabriz Azad University Science and research Branch-Olum Tahghighat)
Translators of the literary text in addition dealing with the difficulties of culture specific items and intertextuality, must consider the aesthetic features of a text, its beauties as well as stylistic devices or rhetorical techniques that may be intensely different from source language to target language.
One of the main issues for a translator is finding equivalents to produce and convey the same effects in translated texts as affective as those that the writer was looking for readers of the source text without omitting its dynamic elements or aesthetic qualities. Among the known literary devices and techniques to be used by poets a difficult problematic rendering of allusions and allegories may plunge translators more in to the depth of the ocean of contemplation.
I was concerned with the questing of reasons of skipping pages and lines when readers of literary text face allusive and allegorical expressions. When some translated poetries were read for some keen readers. They judged that these poems were boring, some other vote to them as cold nonsense translations .the proper allusive names or allegorical expressions , the words or phrases which seemed waste in their sight not only did not have any contribution in arising emotional sensory but also were the bore parts pushing them to leave the poem unfinished. this paper aims at evaluating the strategies of translation of aesthetic and thematic rhetorical qualities that delineate allusions and allegories in some couplets to find out how those strategies affect the both concepts and reader’s admiration of the poem. Through comparative and descriptive analysis not specifically for the faults of translators but I seek to show that how the translator’s choices result in a misunderstanding and loss of the thematic elements in allusive and allegorical literary texts. Alongside with the suggested choices prescribed by many theoreticians, I am seeking to evaluate the amount of their potential capability in arising reader’s emotion responses as well as conveying probable poet’s intended meanings.
The problems of literary translation are finding equivalents not just for syntax, lexicons or concepts, but also feature like macro structures, styles and genres and figurative languages or connotations, and historical stylistic aspects as well as cultural specific items and their values. Within this broad network of features translators would take a choice like deciding whether to preserve structural features or to keep the aesthetic rhetorical characteristics of the source text. Questions around these temptations like should translation be idiomatic and literal or communicative, should translators emphasize on content or form, dangle them among the lengthy extreme continuum of the choices. Unlike those allusive or allegorical texts that refer to universal concepts, translating texts that contains culture specific items is complicated because the readers of translation can not make much clear understanding out of allusion’s connotative meaning even if the origin of the terms be given. In addition to this problem, the matter of readership is another difficulty which must be considered .As the readers of translation especially poetry are not belong to a same homogeneous level, some may admire the way of additional clarification some other may be resentful if be given any extra additional information.
Approaches suggested by many experts also fluctuate among extremes; many emphasizing the authorial intend some other asserting reader’s interpretations. Awareness of the essence of literary texts which call both translators and readers to contemplate about hidden voices and non observational techniques or deliberate ambiguities, as the prevalent aesthetic characteristic that signals its difference from ordinary usage of language, is the initiate prerequisite criteria which helps translator to take proper decision, because not only the meaning and form but also those features that admire readers should be brought in to the consideration.
To make clear interconnection and confusion of rhetoric and literature it seems useful to mention their meaning and then evaluating of the affects of rhetoric devices in literary texts.
Rhetoric, the art of employment language to transfer a concept affectively, has its own devices to be applied by the aims of persuading or evoking the audience or reader’s emotional sensory. Many scholars as long a go the fifth century B.C have had debates about the domain of it. Some narrowed its scope to the specific argumentative political discourses and modern ones give broad liberations to it as much that contains every aspects of culture. Exploring its definition will guide us to its common confusion with two other terms, aesthetic and beauty. These two later terms stand for the value extent of genuine literary text. Beauty, as a characteristic of an object or idea, provides a perceptual experience of pleasure or meaning is studied as a part of aesthetic. The view of beauty in literature is not just based only on surface qualities but rather cultural specifics and individual’s interpretation. Depending on the comprehensions of the concepts of beauty persons extract from literary texts or artistic objects it is debating to assign fixed stable definition as Kant (2007) said …..If he says “canary wine is pleasant “another man may correct his expression and remind him that he ought to say “it is pleasant to me”. And this is the case not only as regards the test of tongue, the palate, and the throat, but for what ever is pleasant to every one‘s eyes and ears. To one violet color is soft and lovely, to another it is faded and dead. (, p34) that is to say that there are potentially multi-interpretations concerning the recognition of beauty. In other words political, religious or moral values in a person’s taste will affect judgments the readers individually make upon that literary works. A mutual relationship between those judgments and responses brings another related concept to discussion which is called dynamism in reader responses.
Review of literature
Although many disbelieved on translatability of poetry, as a start of this part, an expression said by Newmark (1998, 6) that “… every thing without exception is translatable; the translator can not afford the luxury of saying that something can not be translatable” i place initiation bricks of my research foundation. Soon I found that none of the translation approaches have elaborated the allusion specifically, except one. I set my effort to extract possible remedies out of other relevant close areas in my regarding.
Peter Newmark (1998) devoted a section of his book to these topics. He classed proper names in terms of people names, names of objects and geographical terms. He says that people’s first and surnames are normally transferred when these have no connotative meaning. He also exemplifies that in some cases a personal name may be translated as with popes,saints,and monarchs or names which have connotation in the literary text. He clarifies the way of translation in such cases by ordering couplet(translation and naturalization) when nationality and connotation are important .he says that names of objects like trademarks , brands and properties must be transferred. Names of geographical places, according to his approach, need to be checked for prevalent existing correspondent in similar source. (Newmark,p 70-73)
Cultural words as very common words to be used by poets or writers as literary devices have much relationship with the topic of my study. Peter Newmark(1998) classified them and proposes different translation procedures as follows:
1) Ecology: flora, fauna, hills, winds, plains
2) Material Culture: food, clothes, houses and towns, transport
3) Social Culture: work and leisure
4) Organizations Customs, Religious artistic Concepts:
5) Gestures and Habits
(1) Cultural equivalent: it means replacing a cultural word in the SL with a TL one.
(2) Descriptive equivalent: in this procedure the meaning of the CBT(culture-bound terms refer to concepts and institutions that are specific to the SL culture) is explained in several words
(3) Through-translation :( It can also be called Calque or Loan translation) it is the literal translation of common collocations, names of organizations and important institutions.
(4) Recognized translation: it occurs when the translator uses the official or the generally accepted translation of any institutional term.
(5) Translation Couplets: it occurs when the translator combines two different procedures.
(6) Translation triplets: it occurs when the translator combines literal, transcription and denotation
(7) Notes: footnotes are additional information in a translation
(8) Transpositions:(adoption, transfer and loan-word’s) it involves a change in the grammar from SL to TL
(9) Literal translation:”this is a ‘coincidental’procedure,used when the SL term is transparent or semantically motivated and is in standardized language.
(10) Translation label:” it is a near close approximate equivalent or new term, usually a collocation, for a feature peculiar to the SL culture.
(11) Naturalization:”the process of ‘anglicizing’foreign names,i.e. pronunciation of a word as an English word. In other word pronunciation of a world based on its original form.
(12) Deletion: a term of little importance in the TL culture may be deleted in translation.
Tarnocszi(1966) proposed that the most appropriate solution for translation of proper, geographical names and the titles of works of art is to mirror them into the target text which can be described as preserving the original form. He also advocates the explication, modulation and modification.
J.Soltesz(1967)with respect to the meaning, she made distinction among the functions of proper names in three main type’s captions:
A: Sign Names which have no descriptive or connotative meaning.
B: Word Names which have descriptive or connotative meaning.
C: Combination of A and B: it occurs when combination of sign names and elements from the common word classes.
Soltesz offers the following translation procedures:
For A type she suggests Substitution by correspondent name or transferring them into TL unchanged. For B and C types she offers partly or wholly translation or substitution.
Elman (1986) suggested to translators three techniques when they face proper names:
A: Transferring: he defines it as carrying over the names into the receptor language in the form of original
B: Translation: that is translation of names in the ordinary sense of the term.
C: Alternation or modification: it is substitution of the names by receptor language expression which is not correspondence with its original.
Schultze(1991) offered eight approaches dealing with personal names and titles which functions as parts of personal names:
1: Direct transfer and Transliteration: it occurs where the source language is kept in the translation
2: Adaption: it occurs where the name is adjusted to the spelling and pronunciation rules of the target language
3: Substitution: it occurs when the translation uses the target language equivalent of the name
4: Semantic translation: it occurs where translators render the denotative and connotative meaning of the original text in target language. It is partly translation in which one specific aspect of the meaning of the name is translated
5: Transfer of an artistic device: it is imitation of the device by which original name has been formed
Schultze stresses that choosing the given solution is closely related to the translator’s understanding of cultural transfer and cultural identity.
Helati and pinczes (1993) advices can be summarized as following:
1: generally names of streets and squares, institution, newspaper and magazines, companies, schools and universities are not translated.
2: aims of translator as a key factor affects decision making whether to translate or not to translate a name
3: the proper noun-part may be preserved in the original form, while the common noun-part may be kept, translated or left out.
4: a name may be supplemented in translation by adding elements or even be explained in a parenthetical note or otherwise.
Klaudy (1994) made distinctions based on the technical properties, the purpose of serving and the reason behind them as well as the linguistic level, grammatical and lexical operation at which they occur. She offers eleven solutions as follows:
1: concretization of meaning 2: generalization of meaning 3: contraction of meaning 4: splitting of meaning 5: lexical omission 6: lexical addition 7: transposition of meaning 8: substitution of meaning 9: antonymous translation 10: total transformation of meaning and 11: compensation for losses in translation.
Tellinger (1996) proposed three operations that translators can use in tackling proper names:
Under a caption of transcription, he says that personal names and some geographical names can be preserved in the original forms and other geographical along with names of restaurants and cafes and streets, squares and bridge can be translated, meanwhile for the names of newspaper and works of art translators must follow the current known existing title have been given in target language.
Leppihalme (1997) in her excellent book, Culture bump, cited by Mari Salo-oja(2004) , scrutinized the application of the allusions and makes a distinction between proper names allusions and key phrase allusion ,she propose the following strategies for translating of proper name allusions and key-phrase allusions:
Strategies for proper-name allusion:
(1): Retention of the name as its original form.
(2): Retention of the name with some additional description or guidance.
(3): Retention of the name with detailed explanations (footnotes.etc).
(4): Replacement of the name with another source language name.
(5): Replacement of the name with a target language name.
(6): Omission of the name, but conveying the sense through a common name.
(7): Omission of the name and allusion completely.
Strategies for key phrase allusion:
(1): Use of standard translation
(2): Minimum change or literal translation.
(3): Addition of extra allusive guidance.
(4): Footnotes and endnotes, forewords and other explanation outside the text itself
(5): Simulated familiarity, internal marking.
(6): Replacement by preformed existing target language item.
(7): Reduction to sense which is making the connotation overt but preserving the allusive word.
Mari Salo-oja(2004) in her study, Lost in Translation, found the following range of preferred strategies by translator in case novels.(28-29)
She sums up frequencies of the mentioned strategies for proper-name allusion as follows :( results for each type of allusion are presented in same hierarchical order with given above strategies)
Frequency of the Strategies for proper-name allusion in translation of the chosen novels:
(1): 72%, N: 65
(2): 18%, N: 16
(3):1%, N: 1
(4): 1%, N: 1
(6): 7%, N: 6
(7): 1%, N: 1
Frequency of the Strategies for key-phrase allusion in translation of the chosen novels:
(1): 18%, N: 6
(2): 30%, N: 16
(3):12%, N: 4
(9):18%, N: 6
(Other): 21%, N: 7
-All variants of strategies for proper-name allusions, except replacing a source language name with a target language name have been used at least once.
-most common strategy for proper name allusions has been that of retention without guidance.
She comes to a conclusion that translators tend to choose strategies of minimum change.
Vermes Albert Peter (2002) in her dissertation, chronologically summed up and cited approaches suggested by many other precursors for translation of proper names, Newmark’s view also as the forth ones has been referred too she reported the frequency of four translation operations in her two cases of study as following:
In the first case of study she finds the following results :( pp130-131.N: refers to the number of occurrences)
-Transferring 42.4%, N: 143
-Substitution 31.2%, N: 105
-Translation 16.3%, N: 55
-Modification 10.1%, N: 34
In the second case of study she finds the following results :( pp132-133)
-Transferring 16.5%, N: 28
-Substitution 18.5%, N: 32
-Translation 10%, N: 17
-Modification 54.7%, N: 93
Application of this article:
To be evoked, Readers of different cultures need to be familiar with connotative meanings of such culture specific items. The application of this expository comparative analysis, may serve as a basis for further contrastive studies leading to better understanding of the confusions of aesthetic rhetorical techniques and generating new strategies proper to tastes of people of different cultures and readers of different background knowledge. This present paper may encourage translators to examine other faithful strategies for uncovering CST (Culture specific terms) in their rendering and to clarify that the prevalent easy doing strategies, the footnote and transliteration, have not much capability to do what the evocative literary texts especially poems do in original language.
Materials and method:
To test the application and popularity of these strategies and the capability they have some translated couplets of English to Persian and vice versa as well as the frequencies of the taken strategies will be analyzed. The priorities is intended to be conducted to cover those poems which have employed the intensely confusion of literary devices specifically an allusion and allegory altogether.
Survey of the prevailed strategies reports that the modification and minimum change are the major operations have been preferred by translators:
- Modification, transfer and substitution are the major operations preferred by translator in translation of geographical names.
- Transfer, modification and substitution are the major operations preferred by translator in translation of personal names.
- Modification, translation, and substitution are the major operations preferred by translator in translation of institutional names.
- Translation and modification are the major operations preferred by translator in translation of titles.
- Modification, transfer and translation are the major operations preferred by translator in translation of brands.
- Substitution and modification are the major operations preferred by translator in translation of national names.
- Substitution and modification are the major operations preferred by translator in translation of abstract names.
Clarification of the Allusion, Symbol, metaphor and simile interrelationship:
Quality of aesthetic is what affects our emotional sensory and cause the reader responses whether to be evoked or bored. Although the overlapped domain of applications of this mentioned device with other literary devices is much broad to be scrutinized one by one a briefly indicating of the confusion of literature, rhetoric and aesthetic devices will be shown in the following figures. It is expected to apply such systematic overview upon literary texts and compare the extent of their translations capability mirroring such aesthetic qualities in L2 language.
Figure (a): Aesthetic aspect of a literary text
A presupposed figure of overlapping rhetorical and stylistic devices in literary texts
Figure (b):1: Allusion 2: Metaphor 3: simile 4: Symbol 5: Charactonym 6: Allegory
Proper names allusion or alluding words or phrases may function as symbols referring to the connotative meanings
Figure C simile may subject an allusion in comparison of two entities/objects/nouns. (Semi-allusive simile)
Allegory as an extended metaphor may employ allusive metaphoric symbol.
An allusion may be employed as explicit or implicit tenor or vehicle in a metaphoric expression
(Allusive symbol, Allusive metaphor, Allusive simile)
As was shown on the figure B and C, due to the confusion of rhetorical and stylistic devices, a meaning clarification must cover these features as much as possible. There have been thought a poet by means of such devices aims at connotative meanings like Allusive symbol, Allusive metaphor and Allusive simile. A value judgment to be made whether individually or universality depends on the understanding of such harmonious elements employed by writers or poets. As a result of some cultural, social or political circumstances a poet may prefer to utter his or her theme structurally overt or rhetorically covert .they may employ an allusion to refer to external world and as a tacit reference to allusive thematic utterance or concepts of other literary works. He or she also may bring a proper name as a symbol to convey specific meaning.
My particular interest lies in questions around which approaches crossed by translator or advised by experts will keep readers much enthusiastic or which approaches will evoke reader’s emotional sensory as well as conveying an acceptable closest meaning. I think that not only for the private aspect of the concept of beauty but also due to the cultural preference we can not make a fixed premise for the essence of beauty. For a culture an uncovering of a love -affaire may not be treated as taboo, for others clarification of such expression may label translator as hideous as a felon. May be it applicable to draw questionnaires in order to evaluate rising and falling points of the responses of cultures and individuals when translation of such element. What type of uncovering would get the hock of reader’s attention? In which ways allusions are translatable?
In fact answers to these questions will help us to translate poems reviving and evocative as same their original texts sound or stir their readers up. Ignoring the significance of such aesthetic qualities in translation not only lose the meaning of the poems but also can be considered as ingratitude behavior which piles blocks to the way of efforts made by poets who had aimed at contribution to the body of literature.
To understand and uncover the confusion of the rhetorical devices which sound the hidden manipulation of meanings I bring a couplet of Jalal al-Din Rumi which has been translated by Arberry and Nicholson(1968,1999)
کدام دلو فرو رفت و پر برون نامد
زچاه، یوسف جان را چرا فغان باشد
Kodam dalv foro raft o por boron n’amad
Ze chah,Yousuf jan ra chera afghan bashad
A translation by Arberry:(p 141)
What bucket ever went down and came not full? Why
This complaining of the well by the Joseph of the spirit?
A translation by Nicholson :( p 97)
What bucket was lowered but it came out brimful?
Why should the Joseph of the spirit complain of the well?
The connotative meanings behind this allusive metaphor can be uncovered in terms of tenor, vehicle and ground:
-Body is like a well.
–Spirit is like Joseph.
Ground: Spirit is incarcerated in to the body as Joseph has been confined in well. (See Shamisa, p85)
چو خورشید زد پنجه بر پشت گاو
ز هامون برآمد خروش چکاو
Cho khorshid zad panje bar poshte gav
Ze hamoon bar amad khorosh-e chakav
As the sun clawed on the bull’s back
Clamors of the larks got rise on the plain.
(Translation is of mine)
The sun is metaphoric word here that has been compared with lion. The cow refers to earth. The poet’s intended meaning of this couplet is that as the sun appeared,the battle was started . In Persian myths the sun is referred to Lion as a symbol of Borj Asad and Cow as a signifier of fertility in the earth. Shamisa says “the attack of lion to a cow can be seen in the antique paintings that has an allusive mythological sacred meaning referring to fertility and emerge of spring season” (1995.p84). The confusion of rhetorical devices was illustrated before. (See figures A, B and C)
چو برقی میجهد چیزی عجب آن دلستان باشد
از آن گوشه چه میتابد عجب آن لعل کان باشد
چیست از دور آن گوهر عجب ماهست یا اختر
که چون قندیل نورانی معلق ز آسمان باشد
عجب قندیل جان باشد درفش کاویان باشد
عجب آن شمع جان باشد که نورش بیکران باشد
(مولانا جلال الدین محمد بلخی)
Cho barghi mi-jehad chizi ajab an delsetan bashad
Az an goshe che mi-tabad ajab an l’ale kan bashad
Chist az door an gohar,ajab ma hast ya akhtar
Ke chon ghandil-e nourani mo’alagh ze aseman bashad
Ajab ghanidile jan bashad,Derafshe kavian bashad
Ajab an sham’e jan bashad ke nourish bi-karan bashad
O!What an amazing that is, like a candle of soul, as Kavian’s banner
O!What an amazing that is, like a candle of soul hath immense glare
(Translation is of mine)
In the above underlined couplet Rumi(1207-1273) makes senses of inside recognition of divine’s clue through some metaphors and similes. He compares the spark of inside recognition of faith with Kavian’s banner which has allusive meaning. DERAFŠ-E KĀVĪĀN which was used by Sasanian kings as their banner has the legendary meaning referring back to the Šāh-nāma. When Kāva revolted against the tyrant Żaḥḥāk, he draped his leather apron from a wooden spear as a standard. (See Iranica)
T.S.Eliot in his famous excellent poem, Waste Land, refers to many historical and legendary events, whatever I saw and read in the Persian translation out of it were based on literal translation and deletion or footnotes. Although translators may have not accessibility to the origin of the allusion been clued in the poem but s/he can not simply give a cold shoulder to the importance of the aesthetic, rhetorical aspects hidden in the poem, if it be so we can claim that machine translation will be able to translate the literary texts and poems easily.(see examples)
Here is Belladonna, the Lady of the Rocks,
The lady of situations.
Here is the man with three staves, and here the Wheel,
And here is the one-eyed merchant, and this card,
Which is blank, is something he carries on his back,
این هم بلا دونا*،شهبانوی صخره ها
شهبانوی مشکل گشا
آن مرد سه عصایی است و این هم چرخ
آن سودا گر یک چشمی
این ورق پوچ هم
باری که سوداگر یک چشم می کشد بر دوش
(دشت سترون،پرویز لشکری)
In the underlined above allusive expression Eliot makes a reference to Tiresias. He is a blind prophet of Thebes in Greek mythology whose gender was transformed to fully male and then fully female by Zeus. According to some tales in Greek mythology, prophecy was a gift given only to the priests and priestesses so he was gifted by Zeus and Hera the fully gift of male and female priestly prophecy. The fortune-telling of "The Burial of the Dead by the way of some symbolic clues such as Tarot cards and the use made by Madame Sosostris,and the matter of Tiresias’s gender transformation confirms that the probable meaning of the Lady Of Situation is referring back to Tiresias.Thus the possible meaning can be extracted fron the lady of situation is that such so lady can adopt her gender duality on any moods. But in its Persian translation by Lashkari there is neither given clue of this legendary tale nor other probable expository meaning.
What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock
دراین سنگستان پر زباله
چه ریشه هایی چنگ بند می کند
چه شاخه هایی می روید؟
آدمیزاد ترا حدس و پاسخی نیست
چون در این دشت که آفتابش گدازان و سوزان است
ترا تنها با توده ای از پیکرهای شکسته
روزگار دیرین سرو کارست
و نه درختهای مرده می دهندت پناهی
و نه سوسک تسکینی
و نه صخره خشک نشان از اوای آبی
تنها زیر این صخره سرخ سایه است
(دشت سترون ،پرویز لشکری)
Eliot who often used allusions drown from literature and sacred text to arouse his reader in this poem make too many allusions stemmed from Bible, (New Testament).he well know a given clue of each allusive phrase brings its origin in to the mind of readers. But how the readers of other religions perceive these connotative allusive meanings? Are they completely familiar with the sacred texts of Christianity? In the Lāshkari’s translation although there is manipulation of other aspects but he did not make a referential clue to the poet’s intended sacred origin and his translation remains at the level of surface structure. For this some connotative meanings have been distorted. The phrase of “Son of man” due to the literal translation not only does not convey its allusive origin but also remained at the level of denotative meaning. To clarify the significance of translator’s responsibility, it seems useful to bring each phrase’s reference thereby showing expository activity which is needed in any literary translation:
Son of Man: it refers to Ezekiel 2:3 “And he said unto me, Son of man,I sent thee to the children of Isreal,to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me even unto this every day.”
Broken images: it refers to Ezekiel 6:3”Behold I, even I, will bring a sword upon you, and I will destroy your high places. And your altars shall be desolate, and your images shall be broken; and I will cast your slain men before your idols.”
The cricket no relief: it refers to Ecclesiastes 12:5 where the preacher describes the desolation of old age:”Also they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets.”
There is shadow under this red rock: it refers to Isaiah 32:1, 2 that describes the blessing of Christ’s kingdom:”Behold a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. And a man shall be as a hiding place from the wind, and the wind, as a covert from the tempest; as a river of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.”
Unlike the romance or novel that both the authors and translators have much opportunities in advance to drop the readers clues for recognition of allusions and allegorical expressions, aesthetic qualities of the poems spark as rapidly as meteor those know to get its direction will keep their eyes and ears wide open and gain the aspects that this beautiful phenomena was built for ,the other will bring themselves back empty handed from the scene. Since to figure out these beautiful aspects or take photo at least, a translator of poetry must equip himself by binoculars of well understanding of SL language text and expository activities. In the most above contrastive analyses it was indicated that translators using transliteration and footnote strategies are generally unsuccessful to the images behind there and stir the reader sensory responses as well .As the result of the time elapse that footnote strategy is suffered from it is expected that readers will loose the time proper to see the beauty of sparkling as like as the readers presenting them with literal translation or transliteration that apathetic solidly show the twinkling allusive or allegorical expression they will page sky of poetry over and over each with nothing to look at.
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