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English Translations of Shen Congwen’s Stories

A Narrative Perspective

Minhui Xu

This book investigates the English translations of Shen Congwen’s stories. Shen Congwen (1902–1988) is one of the most acclaimed writers in modern Chinese literature. His works have been translated into more than ten languages and his 44 stories count with 70 different English translations. Adopting a case study method within the framework of Descriptive Translation Studies, the author selects and compares the most translated stories, those with three or more translations, totalling fifteen translations from four stories. The analysis of the texts focuses on Shen’s narrative style – his narrative commentaries and his lyrical narrative mode – to see how his style was re-presented in translation. In addition, the translators’ overt narrative intrusions – their added notes – are also examined.
Further, on the basis of Bourdieu’s sociological concepts, especially habitus, this study makes an attempt to interpret the different strategies adopted by different translators, including scholar/non-scholar translators, L1/L2 translators, and translators of the 1930s and 40s and those of the 1980s onwards.

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5 Table of Contents Acknowledgements ................................................................................... 9 Chapter One. Introduction ...................................................................... 11 1.1 Preliminaries ............................................................................. 11 1.2 A Brief Introduction to Shen Congwen’s Life and Works ....... 12 1.2.1 His Life ........................................................................... 12 1.2.2 His Literary Works ......................................................... 14 1.3 A Brief Introduction to this Work ............................................ 17 Chapter Two. Scope And Approach of this Study .................................. 21 2.1 Existing English Translations of Shen Congwen’s Stories ...... 21 2.2 Three Major Channels of Publication ....................................... 23 2.2.1 English Translation Anthologies, and the Monograph ... 23 2.2.2 Journals ........................................................................... 27 2.2.3 General Chinese Literature Anthologies with Shen Congwen’s Stories ................................................. 28 2.3 The Four Stories Selected and Brief Introductions to their Translations .................................................................. 30 2.3.1 “Baizi” and its three Translations ................................... 30 2.3.2 “Zhangfu” and its three Translations .............................. 33 2.3.3 “Xiaoxiao” and its five Translations .............................. 35 2.3.4 “Biancheng” and its four Translations ........................... 37 2.4 Existing Studies of the English Translations of Shen Congwen’s Works ....................................................... 39 2.5 Research Methodology Employed in This Study ..................... 42 Chapter Three. Narrative Commentaries ................................................ 47 3.1 Commentaries on Story ............................................................ 52 3.1.1 Language-dependent Commentaries ...................................... 52 6 3.1.2 Explanatory Commentaries ............................................. 61 3.1.3 Judgmental Commentaries .............................................. 70 3.2 Commentaries on Discourse ..................................................... 81 Chapter Four. Lyrical Narrative Style .................................................... 87 4.1 Iterative Narration .................................................................... 89 4.1.1 Verbal Devices Suggesting Iterative Narrative .............. 91 4.1.2 Iterative Descriptions of Circumstances ......................... 98 4.2 Episodes of Lyrical Experience .............................................. 107 4.2.1 The Beginning Settings ................................................ 108 4.2.2 The Endings .................................................................. 113 4.3 Literary Language .................................................................. 118 4.3.1 Metaphoric Use of Language ....................................... 118 4.3.2 Images in Characters’ Names ....................................... 127 4.3.3 Understated Narration .................................................. 130 Chapter Five. Paratexts in Narration – Translators’ Notes ................... 139 5.1 A General Overview ............................................................... 140 5.2 Discussions of the...

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