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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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Acknowledgements 9

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9 Acknowledgements This book is based on my PhD dissertation, which was completed at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University in March 2011. I am indebted to all those teachers and colleagues and friends who have offered their help and support throughout the years of my PhD studies, especially to my supervisor Prof Chu Chi Yu for his insightful criticisms and valuable suggestions. I am grateful to The Hong Kong Polytechnic University for the generosity with scholarship and research grants, without which the study would not have been done. And I am most grateful to my family for their love and understanding and support. My only wish is that what I have accomplished is worthy of their devotion. I’d like to acknowledge that fragments of chapter 2 appeared in the article “A survey of the English translations of Shen Congwen’s novella and short stories”, published in Foreign Language Teaching and Re- search 42 (3): 220-225. And fragments of chapters 4, 5 and 6 appeared in the article “On scholar translators in literary translation – A case study of Kinkley’s translation of ‘Biancheng’”, published in Perspectives: Studies in Translatology 20 (2): 151-163. In addition, I would like to thank The Hong Kong Polytechnic Uni- versity for the research grant (Research Project Code: 1-ZV8F), which has provided financial support for the publication of this book.

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