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postgraduate thesis: On revolutionary road : translated modernity, underground reading movement and the reconstruction of subjectivity, 1970s

TitleOn revolutionary road : translated modernity, underground reading movement and the reconstruction of subjectivity, 1970s
Authors
Advisors
Advisor(s):Wang, A
Issue Date2013
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Yang, L. [楊露]. (2013). On revolutionary road : translated modernity, underground reading movement and the reconstruction of subjectivity, 1970s. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5153721
AbstractTranslating and reading western modernist literature played a vital role in forging contemporary Chinese literature and China’s mode of subjectivity, but little has been written about them, and even less about the interconnections between them. My PhD thesis aims to offer a comprehensive interpretation of the phenomenon of translating and reading modernist literature in Mao’s China, focusing particularly on translators’ and readers’ agency, and their collective construction of a multifaceted discourse of subjectivity. The central questions I try to answer in my thesis are: For what “practical” purposes or needs did the Chinese Communist Party order the translation and publication of these modernist texts which are clearly against the ideology of Mao’s China? What mark did translators from state controlled institutions leave in the intellectual history of China? Why did western modernist literature of 1950s cause such a strong response from the intellectual youth in the 1970s? In Mao’s China, there were a number of modernist literature texts that were translated and published. They were only intended to be available for a very limited readership consisting of high ranking party officials, but ended up being leaked, and eventually became extremely popular in the underground reading movement. I decided to focus on the three most widely read texts, which are On the Road (first translated into Chinese in 1962), Catcher in the Rye (first translated into Chinese in 1963), and Waiting for Godot (first translated into Chinese in 1965). By mapping the translation process and the underground reading of these texts into the context of the politics of China from the early 1960s to the late 1970s, my study provides three arguments which attempt to answer the three questions raised above: 1) Mao’s China encountered similar modernity situations so that western modernist literature after World War II was translated for internal circulation and criticism; 2) Thanks to the subjectivity of translators from state controlled institutions, their translations paved the way for the rising of the self, the end of revolution, and the individualization of Chinese society; 3) As early as in the 1960s to 1970s, the conscious reading of modernist literature brought alternative understandings of self and ways of being, and the sent-down Chinese youth have new self-projection by reading these texts. Few researchers have studied translation beyond analysis of target language text (TLT), while my methodological innovation is to connect three traditionally isolated subjects into a single continuing process of meaning giving activity: the source text and their role in forging western subjectivity; translators and their translations in Mao’s context; and Chinese underground reading of western literature from late 1960s to 1970s. This is a comparative and theoretical study of the three chosen texts in their historical contexts in order to reconsider the cultural significance of translating and reading modernist literature in Mao’s China. I hope it will modify our view of translation and reading history in Mao’s China, contributing to theories of subjectivity and the plurality of Chinese modernity discourse.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectAmerican literature - Translations into Chinese - History and criticism
French literature - Translations into Chinese - History and criticism
Dept/ProgramChinese
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/196020

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorWang, A-
dc.contributor.authorYang, Lu-
dc.contributor.author楊露-
dc.date.accessioned2014-03-21T03:50:05Z-
dc.date.available2014-03-21T03:50:05Z-
dc.date.issued2013-
dc.identifier.citationYang, L. [楊露]. (2013). On revolutionary road : translated modernity, underground reading movement and the reconstruction of subjectivity, 1970s. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5153721-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/196020-
dc.description.abstractTranslating and reading western modernist literature played a vital role in forging contemporary Chinese literature and China’s mode of subjectivity, but little has been written about them, and even less about the interconnections between them. My PhD thesis aims to offer a comprehensive interpretation of the phenomenon of translating and reading modernist literature in Mao’s China, focusing particularly on translators’ and readers’ agency, and their collective construction of a multifaceted discourse of subjectivity. The central questions I try to answer in my thesis are: For what “practical” purposes or needs did the Chinese Communist Party order the translation and publication of these modernist texts which are clearly against the ideology of Mao’s China? What mark did translators from state controlled institutions leave in the intellectual history of China? Why did western modernist literature of 1950s cause such a strong response from the intellectual youth in the 1970s? In Mao’s China, there were a number of modernist literature texts that were translated and published. They were only intended to be available for a very limited readership consisting of high ranking party officials, but ended up being leaked, and eventually became extremely popular in the underground reading movement. I decided to focus on the three most widely read texts, which are On the Road (first translated into Chinese in 1962), Catcher in the Rye (first translated into Chinese in 1963), and Waiting for Godot (first translated into Chinese in 1965). By mapping the translation process and the underground reading of these texts into the context of the politics of China from the early 1960s to the late 1970s, my study provides three arguments which attempt to answer the three questions raised above: 1) Mao’s China encountered similar modernity situations so that western modernist literature after World War II was translated for internal circulation and criticism; 2) Thanks to the subjectivity of translators from state controlled institutions, their translations paved the way for the rising of the self, the end of revolution, and the individualization of Chinese society; 3) As early as in the 1960s to 1970s, the conscious reading of modernist literature brought alternative understandings of self and ways of being, and the sent-down Chinese youth have new self-projection by reading these texts. Few researchers have studied translation beyond analysis of target language text (TLT), while my methodological innovation is to connect three traditionally isolated subjects into a single continuing process of meaning giving activity: the source text and their role in forging western subjectivity; translators and their translations in Mao’s context; and Chinese underground reading of western literature from late 1960s to 1970s. This is a comparative and theoretical study of the three chosen texts in their historical contexts in order to reconsider the cultural significance of translating and reading modernist literature in Mao’s China. I hope it will modify our view of translation and reading history in Mao’s China, contributing to theories of subjectivity and the plurality of Chinese modernity discourse.-
dc.languagechi-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.subject.lcshAmerican literature - Translations into Chinese - History and criticism-
dc.subject.lcshFrench literature - Translations into Chinese - History and criticism-
dc.titleOn revolutionary road : translated modernity, underground reading movement and the reconstruction of subjectivity, 1970s-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5153721-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineChinese-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5153721-

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