Exporting Chinese literature under the People’s Republic of China (1949–1966)
Xiuhua Ni | School of Foreign Studies, Guangzhou University, China
The first seventeen years of the People’s Republic of China (PRC, 1949–1966) was a critical period for the newly established nation to gain international recognition. The period witnessed a unique translation activity, i.e. SL-generated translation of a large number of classical and modern Chinese literature into English and other foreign languages. These state-sponsored translations were mainly undertaken by teams of Chinese and foreign translators in the Foreign Languages Press (FLP) in Beijing. This paper aims to explore how literary translation was used for nation branding and promoting Chinese communism abroad. It reveals the political agenda behind the outward translation activity. It goes on to probe into the patronage of the FLP to disclose the relationship between the translating institution and the political discourse on the nation. Lastly, the study of the English translation of Linhai Xueyuan (林海雪原), i.e. Tracks in the Snowy Forest, a bestseller representative of the ‘revolutionary novel’ of the time, will show that the adaptations aim at recasting revolutionary characters as “perfect” heroes so as to project an ideal image of the modern Chinese nation. The paper concludes with a call to integrate outward translation into TS. Based on Luhmann’s sociology of communication it provides a preliminary observation on the reception of the PRC’s export enterprise, which, more often than not, turned out to be counterproductive.
2003Rewi Alley: An Autobiography. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press.
2003Friend of China, the Myth of Rewi Alley. London; New York: Routledge Curzon.
1996A Sociocritique of Translation. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
2005 “Unexpected Allies. How Latour’s Network Theory could Complement Bourdieusian Analyses in Translation studies.” In the Translator, 11(2): 193–218.
2006 “Independent Publisher in the Networks of Translation.” TTR: traduction, terminologie, rédaction 19 (1): 135–173.
Dai, Yannianet al.
eds.1999Zhongguo waiwenju wushinian dashiji [
The memorabilia of the China International Publishing Group (1949–1999)
]. Beijing: Xinxing Chubanshe [New Star Press].
2010 “Still Stuck in the Mud: Imagining World Literature during the Cold War in Indonesia and Vietnam”. In Cultures at War: The Cold War and Cultural Expression in Southeast Asia, eds. by Tony Day and Maya H. T. Liem, 131–169. SEAP Press, Cornell University.
1962 “Yuzhongxinchan tan waiyu xuexi: ji Chen Yi fu zhongli dui waiyu xuesheng de yici tanhua”. [Talking about learning foreign languages: an address to foreign languages learners by Vice-premier Chen Yi]. Waiyu jiaoxue yu yanjiu [Foreign Language Teaching and Research]11: 3–5.
ed.1993Zhongguo duiwai wenhua jiaoliu gailan [The Overview of Foreign Cultural Exchange in China]. Beijing: Guangming Ribao Chubanshe [Guangming Daily Press].
1997Paratexts: thresholds of interpretation. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press.
1997Poetics of Relation [orig. Poétique de la Relation]. Translated by Betsy Wing. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.
1958 “Tan Linhai Xueyuan” [On Tracks in Snowy Forest
]. In Hou Jinjinget al.Linhai xueyuan pingjia [Reviews on Linhai Xueyuan], 24–30. Beijing: The Writers Publishing House.
1999 “Towards a Sociology of Translation. Book Translations as a Cultural Word-System.” European Journal of Social Theory 2 (4): 429–444.
1985The Manipulation of Literature: Studies in Literary Translation. London: Croom Helm.
Homles, James S.
2000 “The Name and Nature of Translation Studies”. In Translation Studies Reader, ed. by Lawrence Venuti, 172–184. London: Routledge.
1958 “Yi Bu Yingrenzhumu de changpian xiaoshuo – du Linhai Xueyuan” [An Absorbing novel: on Linhai Xueyuan
). In Hou Jinjinget al.Linhai xueyuan pingjia [Reviews on Linhai Xueyuan], 1–23. Beijing: The Writers Publishing House.
ed.2005Bourdieu and the Sociology of Translation. Special issue of The Translator 11(2). St. Jerome Publishing.
2004Zhongguo xiandai changpian xiaoshuo banben mingzhu banben jiaoping [A Bibliographic Study of the Masterpieces of the Modern Chinese Novel]. Beijing: The People's Literature Press.
2006 “Translation and Cultural Exportation: A Case Study of Huang Chunming’s Short Stories”. In Translating Others (Vol. 21), ed. by Theo Hermans, 493–510. Manchester: St. Jerome.
Lau, S.M. Joseph
1995 “More than putting things together: The anthologizing of Chinese literature in translation”. In Translating Chinese literature, eds. by Eugene Eoyang and Lin Yao-fu, 221–230. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
2007Yang Xianyi Zhuan [Biography of Yang Xianyi]. Hong Kong: Mingbao Publishing House.
1996 “Pramoedya Ananta Toer and China: The transformation of a cultural intellectual”. Indonesia 611: 19–144.
2002White Tiger. Hong Kong: The Chinese University of Hong Kong.
2004 “Ideology and the formation of the canons of translation literature in 1950s and 1960s of the 20th century”. Comparative Literature in China 55 (2): 86–102.
2001 “Ideology, selection, norm and repertoire: a polysystemic view of literature translation in Mainland China from the 1950s to the 1970s”. Chung-wai Literature Monthly (3): 63–92.
2006 “Wushi Niandai De Meiyuan Wenhua Yu Xianggang Xiaoshuo”. [U.S.-financed culture and Hong Kong novels in ’50s]. Twenty-First Century (98): 87–96.
Zhou, Dongyuanet al.
eds.1999Zhongguo waiwenju wushinian: shiliao xuanbian (1) [Fifty years of the Chinese Foreign Languages Bureau: selected archives documents (1949–1999)(Vol.1)]. Beijing: Xinxing Chubanshe [New Star Press].
1958 “Wenyi zhanxianshang de yichang dabianlun” [A Great Debate on the Battle Lines of Literature and the Arts]. In People's Daily28February.
Cited by 5 other publications
Di Toro, Anna
2020. The Scholars, Chronique indiscrète or Neoficial’naja istorija? The Challenge of Translating Eighteenth-Century Chinese Irony and Grotesque for Contemporary Western Audiences. In The Palgrave Handbook of Humour, History, and Methodology, ► pp. 459 ff.
2021. Translation as cultural diplomacy: a Chinese perspective. International Journal of Cultural Policy 27:7 ► pp. 892 ff.
2019. Mondialisation de la littérature et littérature mondiale – Traduction d’une culture « mineure » vers une culture « centrale ». Lebende Sprachen 64:1 ► pp. 122 ff.
2021. Cold War Cultural Diplomacy in Outward State Translation of Chinese Literature in the PRC (1949–1966). Asian Studies Review► pp. 1 ff.
Valdeón, Roberto A. & Youbin Zhao
2020. Literary translation research in China. Perspectives 28:5 ► pp. 645 ff.
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 9 april 2022. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers.
Any errors therein should be reported to them.