Wie man chinesisch dichtet, ohne chinesisch zu verstehen Deutsche Nach- und Umdichtungen chinesischer Lyrik von Rückert bis Ehrenstein

Translated title of the contribution: How one poetizes in Chinese without understanding Chinese: German free adaptations and reworks of Chinese poetry from Rückert to Ehrenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The starting point of the essay is the observation that a number of important German translations of Chinese poetry have been accomplished by poets who were neither able to speak nor read Chinese. The question that arises from this is: what could be considered to be the actual significance of these translations? Albert Ehrenstein's translation of Bo Juyi's poems (in Germany also known as Pe-lo-thien) might provide an answer to this question. This essay focuses on his idea of political motivated 'conceptual translation' and attempts to demonstrate the transition from indirect allusion to the political appeal.

Original languageGerman
Pages (from-to)98-115
Number of pages18
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Jun



  • 20th century German literature
  • China
  • Post-expressionism
  • Translation of Chinese poetry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory

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