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Studies in the Translations of Juan Ramón and Zenobia Jiménez


Charlotte Ward

The translations by Juan Ramón Jiménez, first resident of the Caribbean to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, have been neglected, likely because many of them were published under the name of his wife, Zenobia Camprubí Aymar, along with many of his poems. Close analysis of the style, along with personal letters and diaries, reveals his significant participation in these works. The translations were a crucial source of psychological and financial support during the long exile from Spain after the Civil War. Other elements in the process were the Nobel-winners Rabindranath Tagore, William Butler Yeats, and André Gide. Intertextual incorporations from Shakespeare, the King James Bible, Rubén Darío, and Ezra Pound are noteworthy, as Juan Ramón and Zenobia maneuvered between the Symbolist and Imagist poetic movements, experimenting with different theories of translation, from Dryden to Jakobson. As Jiménez constantly revised his own work, hitherto unpublished annotations prove important to understanding this journey.
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Chapter Three A Turning Point in Life and Art: Diario de un poeta recién casado


Chapter Three

A Turning Point in Life and Art

Diario de un poeta recién casado

A poem excised from the original publication of Diario de un poeta recién casado in 1916 reveals the dramatic horizons Juan Ramón’s marriage to Zenobia in 1916 would bring. It was written on the ship transporting him to New York for that ceremony. It fits the third type of translation introduced by Roman Jakobson in his article “On Linguistic Aspects of Translation,” On Translation, ed. Reuben Brower (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1959). After defining the usual “intralingual” between different versions within the same language and “interlingual” between two different languages, Jakobson broadened the scope of translation with “intersemiotic,” a transmutation of verbal into non-verbal sound systems.

Juan Ramón Jiménez practiced imitation in regard to a poem by his mentor Rúben Darío, who had invited him to Madrid to start a new poetic movement. The poem in mind is “Sinfonía en gris mayor”:

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