From a “pornographic” book to a classic
Paratexts of Chinese translations of Lolita
This article aims to investigate the relationship between paratexts and the translation product with a case study of Lolita translations in China. Since Lolita has been one of the most frequently retranslated literary works in China over the past three decades, it can serve as a bellwether of the changes that have taken place in the translation field as well as those in the social, cultural and historical context. Therefore, a comparative study of the paratextual elements of Lolita translations acts as a reflection of the negotiations between the translation activity and the changing socio-political context. The analysis of paratexts locates translation as a social activity in which many agents are involved other than simply the translator and the source text. Through their organic integration with the translation products, the paratextual elements, functioning as genre indicators, work to promote the translation while potentially predicting its target readership. In the translation and retranslation of the same source text, a discussion of the paratexts may provide new insights into understanding the relationship between translations and retranslations as well as the evolution of the translation field in relation to Chinese society.
Keywords: paratext, Lolita translations in China, (re)translation and the market, target readership, genre indicator
Keywords: paratexte, traductions de Lolita en Chine, (re)traduction et marché, lectorat cible, indicateur de genre
Published online: 22 February 2019
Alvstad, C.; and Rosa, A.
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