Global Blake: Ramazan Saral

Ramazan Saral considers some of the additional challenges to translating Blake's Christian symbolism and literary references into Turkish.

William Blake’s symbolism could be baffling even for those who are acquainted with the sources he used. His take on the biblical as well as literary symbolism requires one to re-evaluate everything they have known and re-establish the taken for granted symbols in a new, Blakean light. The significance he attributes to the human and Imagination depend on the understanding of these symbols, and without them, understanding him would seem difficult. 

It is especially difficult to decipher these symbols in a non-Christian country, because most of Blake’s symbolism can be traced back to Christian symbols. When you miss this meaning, it becomes an even more discombobulating maze of symbols. The Turkish translations of Blake’s works, therefore, suffer from this loss of meaning. Christian symbolism is lost in translation and not many Turkish people know the literary sources Blake refers to either. The aim of this study is to study the many translations of Blake’s works and analyse how the loss of meaning affects the understanding of Blake’s message in the Turkish language and the role this loss plays in the reception of Blake in Turkey.

Ramazan Saral is a Ph.D. candidate at Ege University, Turkey writing his dissertation on Blake and Mythopoeia. He has been trying to clear his doors of perception since he met Blake.