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postgraduate thesis: When classical Chinese works matter : a critical study of Pu Songling's Liaozhai zhiyi and its English translations

TitleWhen classical Chinese works matter : a critical study of Pu Songling's Liaozhai zhiyi and its English translations
Authors
Issue Date2014
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Cheung, Y. [張宇傑]. (2014). When classical Chinese works matter : a critical study of Pu Songling's Liaozhai zhiyi and its English translations. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5270538
AbstractThe present work is an essay to answer an enquiry into the significance of making translations of classical Chinese works into English in the twenty-first century. This question grew out of an interdisciplinary investigation into Pu Songling’s (1640-1715) Liaozhai zhiyi and its English translations, which is aimed at a comprehensive and systematic re-reading of the collection, a diachronic understanding of its English translations, and an in-depth analysis of John Minford’s version published in the Penguin Classics series. All these objects of enquiry are in essence concerned with the interpretation of the anthology. This thesis is composed of five chapters, beginning with an introduction that sets the scene for the study. It equips the reader with a fundamental grasp of the text and literary context of Liaozhai zhiyi. It gives, too, an overview of the current approaches in academia, in both Chinese and English speaking communities, to Pu Songling’s magnum opus. What follows deals with the nature of Liaozhai zhiyi. Whilst it has been generally taken for granted that it is a collection of morally exemplary fictional short stories, my study points out that Liaozhai zhiyi is in fact a work that thematically defies categorisation. Any attempts to put it in a box are liable to challenges. In response to this problem, a three-tiered conical model has been put forward with a view to approaching the compendium comprehensively and systematically. The third chapter seeks to look for any common features that run through the English versions of Liaozhai zhiyi produced over the past two hundred years or so. From an analysis of the titles selected and the purposes of their stories proclaimed, it is discovered that the translators have revolutionised the nature of the book. Together with the Chinese editors of Chinese editions of selected tales of Liaozhai zhiyi, they have shaped today’s distorted understanding of Pu Songling’s finest work. The fourth chapter is a textual analysis of John Minford’s translation of Liaozhai zhiyi published in the Penguin Classics series in 2006. Whilst his work is highly readable in idiomatic English and contains a great many examples of domestication, there are actually marked traces of foreignization at the same time. Instead of exporting Chinese culture to the West, Minford engaged himself in the production of world literature by breaking the language barrier of Liaozhai zhiyi by virtue of translation. The last chapter is an attempt to explore the significance of making translations of classical Chinese works into English in the twenty-first century. It is argued that putting classical works of Chinese into English in our present epoch is not only a mere cultural export of things Chinese, but also an engagement in the current ideological trend of the West by complementing their stress on human’s self-autonomy, an idea which began to emerge as a result of the Western Enlightenment Movement.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
Dept/ProgramChinese
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/211052

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorCheung, Yu-kit-
dc.contributor.author張宇傑-
dc.date.accessioned2015-07-03T23:10:34Z-
dc.date.available2015-07-03T23:10:34Z-
dc.date.issued2014-
dc.identifier.citationCheung, Y. [張宇傑]. (2014). When classical Chinese works matter : a critical study of Pu Songling's Liaozhai zhiyi and its English translations. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5270538-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/211052-
dc.description.abstractThe present work is an essay to answer an enquiry into the significance of making translations of classical Chinese works into English in the twenty-first century. This question grew out of an interdisciplinary investigation into Pu Songling’s (1640-1715) Liaozhai zhiyi and its English translations, which is aimed at a comprehensive and systematic re-reading of the collection, a diachronic understanding of its English translations, and an in-depth analysis of John Minford’s version published in the Penguin Classics series. All these objects of enquiry are in essence concerned with the interpretation of the anthology. This thesis is composed of five chapters, beginning with an introduction that sets the scene for the study. It equips the reader with a fundamental grasp of the text and literary context of Liaozhai zhiyi. It gives, too, an overview of the current approaches in academia, in both Chinese and English speaking communities, to Pu Songling’s magnum opus. What follows deals with the nature of Liaozhai zhiyi. Whilst it has been generally taken for granted that it is a collection of morally exemplary fictional short stories, my study points out that Liaozhai zhiyi is in fact a work that thematically defies categorisation. Any attempts to put it in a box are liable to challenges. In response to this problem, a three-tiered conical model has been put forward with a view to approaching the compendium comprehensively and systematically. The third chapter seeks to look for any common features that run through the English versions of Liaozhai zhiyi produced over the past two hundred years or so. From an analysis of the titles selected and the purposes of their stories proclaimed, it is discovered that the translators have revolutionised the nature of the book. Together with the Chinese editors of Chinese editions of selected tales of Liaozhai zhiyi, they have shaped today’s distorted understanding of Pu Songling’s finest work. The fourth chapter is a textual analysis of John Minford’s translation of Liaozhai zhiyi published in the Penguin Classics series in 2006. Whilst his work is highly readable in idiomatic English and contains a great many examples of domestication, there are actually marked traces of foreignization at the same time. Instead of exporting Chinese culture to the West, Minford engaged himself in the production of world literature by breaking the language barrier of Liaozhai zhiyi by virtue of translation. The last chapter is an attempt to explore the significance of making translations of classical Chinese works into English in the twenty-first century. It is argued that putting classical works of Chinese into English in our present epoch is not only a mere cultural export of things Chinese, but also an engagement in the current ideological trend of the West by complementing their stress on human’s self-autonomy, an idea which began to emerge as a result of the Western Enlightenment Movement.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.titleWhen classical Chinese works matter : a critical study of Pu Songling's Liaozhai zhiyi and its English translations-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5270538-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineChinese-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5270538-

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