“Maple” comic book adaptation

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Lena Henningsen and Joschua Seiler’s translation of “Maple” (枫), a comic book (连环画) adapation of the 1979 “scar” short story by Zheng Yi 郑义. The translation, with illustrations, appears here: https://u.osu.edu/mclc/online-series/maple/. You’ll also find there a link to Lena Henningsen’s introduction to the text.


Kirk Denton

Force of Forging Words: A Translation Conversation

Source: Notes on the Mosquito (7/7/21)
Force of Forging Words: A Translation Conversation
An online launch for Words as Grain: New and Selected Poems by Duo Duo 多多, translated by Lucas Klein, from The Margellos World Republic of Letters by Yale University Press.
Lucas Klein in discussion with Nick Admussen, Chris Song, and Jami Proctor Xu, moderated by Tammy Lai-Ming Ho

In “The Force of Forging Words,” a poem in Words as Grain: New and Selected Poems by premier Chinese poet Duo Duo 多多 (Yale University Press, The Cecile and Theodore Margellos World Republic of Letters series), translated by Lucas Klein, Duo Duo writes: “outside force, continuing on / from enough, is insufficient hallucination // … // this is rationale’s wasteland / but the ethics of poetry.”

What are the ethics of poetry? Is poetry the wasteland of the rationale, or of the rational? Is translation a kind of hallucination, and is it sufficient? What care needs to be taken to translate such poetry? Our speakers will discuss these questions with the translator to celebrate the publication of Words as Grain. Continue reading

Paper Republic newsletter June 2021

With permission from the good folks at Paper Republic, the MCLC LIST will be posting its monthly newsletters, which are chock full of informatin related to .–Kirk

Paper Republic Newsletter (June 2021)

Hello, email inbox managers around the world! This is your fortnightly round-up of recent news regarding Chinese literature, the people who write it, the people who translate it, and the people who read it.

What’s going on these days? Yan Ge has switched to writing in English, that’s what. And how: her debut English-language story collection and novel have already sold, to Faber and Scribner. While this is obviously objectively awesome news, there is something a tiny bit bittersweet about it for those of us who translate. Nothing has been lost, we tell ourselves. Nothing lost! We have not asked Jeremy Tiang for a quote, but imagine him gazing fondly yet a little forlornly at a copy of Strange Beasts of China (which is hot in Philly).

If you’re tired of books (as if), why not watch some book-related movies next month? The Chinese Visual Festival has a great line-up of Chinese-language film, including a screening of Jia Zhangke’s Swimming Out Till the Sea Turns Blue, a documentary about three Chinese authors (Yu Hua, Jia Pingwa, and Liang Hong) and their connection to the land. Note that the related event with Jia Pingwa and Liang Hong has been cancelled, as well as a few of the film screenings, as well as… Well, more about that in the next newsletter. Continue reading

Hard Like Water review

Source: NYT (6/15/21)
Cheat on Your Partner or Change the World: In This Novel, It’s All the Same
By Jennifer Wilson

Credit…Xinmei Liu

By Yan Lianke
Translated by Carlos Rojas

Is there really anything that distinguishes an extramarital affair from a revolution? Both entail a disdain for staid traditions, an ability to convincingly lie about your whereabouts, regular attendance of clandestine meetings and the full knowledge that someone (maybe even an entire class of people) is going to get hurt. In “Hard Like Water,” the latest novel by the controversial Chinese author and satirist Yan Lianke to be translated into English, Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution is the backdrop for an illicit romance between two committed party members, Gao Aijun and Xia Hongmei. At the time, adultery was considered a symptom of lingering bourgeois tendencies, but Aijun and Hongmei reject the notion that they cannot be faithful to the revolution while being unfaithful to their spouses. After all, what is a Marxist dialectic if not an acknowledgment of irreconcilable differences?

“Hard Like Water” begins in 1967 in the wake of the Revolution. As the country’s leaders begin forcibly replacing the “Four Olds” (customs, habits, culture and thinking), Gao Aijun becomes infected with this revolutionary fervor — and personal political ambition — leaving the army in order to build a new proletarian culture in his hometown. At just 25, he is a decorated soldier whose “dossier became so full of these certificates that there wasn’t room left for even a fart.” Aijun’s father-in-law is a party secretary who has promised him a village cadre upon his return home. He is, in other words, on the cusp of a political career “as bright as a revolutionary’s heart.” Continue reading

The Babel Fallacy Fallacy

Sino-Platonic Papers is pleased to announce the publication of its three-hundred-and-sixteenth issue:

The Babel Fallacy Fallacy: Against the Lack of Interest in and/or Hegemonic Blindness to Translation in Premodern China,” by Lucas Klein

This and all other issues of Sino-Platonic Papers are available in full for no charge.

To view our catalog, visit http://www.sino-platonic.org/

Victor H. Mair

Translations/Translation Studies book review editor

I’m writing to announce that, after many years of service, Michael Berry is stepping down as the MCLC book review editor for translations. I want to express my heartfelt thanks to Michael for all his work over the years. He has contributed enormously to the journal’s scholarly mission. I am happy to announce that Michael Gibbs Hill has agreed to assume the position, which will now include, in addition to English translations of works of literature in Chinese, books in the growing discipline of Chinese Translation Studies. All inquiries about book reviews in these two areas should now be directed to Michael Hill at mghill@wm.edu. He will also be joining the journal’s editorial board. Please join me in welcoming him to MCLC.

Kirk Denton

Butter Pancakes by Wang Zengqi

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of “Butter Pancakes” (1982), a short story by Wang Zengqi, translated by Xuezhao Li and Travis Telzrow. The translation appears below and at its online home.


Kirk Denton

Butter Pancakes

By Wang Zengqi 汪曾祺[1]

Translated by Xuezhao Li and Travis Telzrow[2]

MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright June 2021)

Wang Zengqi (1920-1997)

Xiao Sheng was moving to Kouwai with Dad.

Xiao Sheng was seven going on eight. All these years he had lived with Grandma. Dad’s jobs were always unstable. For a while he built the reservoir, and then forged steel. Mom was also transferred from one job to another. Meanwhile, Grandma stayed in their hometown by herself and complained about being lonely. So when Xiao Sheng reached three, he was sent back to his hometown. There, he ate many radishes, cabbages, millet cakes, and corn cakes, and he grew taller.

Grandma seldom disciplined him. She had other things to do. She always found some scraps of fabric to sew clothes for him: unlined upper garments, pants, cotton-padded jacket, and trousers. All of his clothes were made of stitched strips of cloth, one strip cyan, another blue. They were rather clean, though. Grandma also made shoes for him. All by herself, she stuck bits of cloth together and trimmed them into the shape of a sole; she then cut shapes out of the cloth and sewed the layers together; finally she put the sole and upper together. She was always saying: “Do your toes have teeth and a mouth to rip your shoes open?” “Are your feet made of steel so that your shoes fray so easily?” She made him food as well: millet cakes, corn cakes, radishes, cabbages, scrambled eggs, and small stewed fish. He would play outdoors all day long. Whenever she was done cooking, Grandma would shout from the doorstep: “Sheng’er! Come home to eat!” Continue reading

Transitions in Taiwan: Stories of the White Terror

Transitions in Taiwan: Stories of the White Terror, edited by Ian Rowen, has just been published.

This book is part of the Cambria Literature in Taiwan Series, headed by Professor Nikky Lin (National Taiwan Normal University), a collaboration with the National Museum of Taiwan Literature, the National Human Rights Museum, and National Taiwan Normal University.

Paperback (ISBN: 9781621966975)  $32.99 • 290pp. • E-book editions start at $19.99—Order from Cambria Press.

Taiwan’s peaceful, democratic society is built upon decades of authoritarian state violence with which it is still coming to terms. At the close of World War II in 1945, after fifty years of Japanese colonization, Taiwan was occupied by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). The party massacred thousands of Taiwanese while it established a military dictatorship on the island with the tacit support of the United States. Continue reading

A Son of Taiwan

A Son of Taiwan: Stories of Government Atrocity edited by Howard Goldblatt and Sylvia Li-chun Lin (Cambria Press) has just been published.

This book is part of the Cambria Literature in Taiwan Series, headed by Professor Nikky Lin (National Taiwan Normal University), a collaboration with the National Museum of Taiwan Literature, the National Human Rights Museum, and National Taiwan Normal University.

Paperback (ISBN: 9781621966937)  $29.99 • 216pp. • E-book editions start at $14.99—Order from Cambria Press.

On February 28, 1947, a widow selling cigarettes on the street in Taipei was brutally beaten by government agents searching for contraband cigarettes. When a crowd gathered, shots were fired and a bystander was killed. Island-wide demonstrations prompted the Chiang Kai-shek government to send reinforcements from China. Upon arrival, the troops opened fire, killing thousands. The massacre was followed by large-scale arrests of anyone suspected of sedition or Communist associations, all in the name of national security. Martial law was declared and not lifted until 1987. What happened in 1947 is known as the 2/28 Incident, which led to a four-decade-long suppression of dissent, encroachments upon civil liberties, and the wholesale violation of human rights, all subsumed under an era referred to as White Terror. Its pernicious effects went beyond actual acts of atrocity, as the citizens practiced self-censorship and passed their fears on to the next generation. For many years, this part of Taiwan’s past was talked about, if at all, with circumspection. As evidenced in this collection, literary representations often employed obscure references, which themselves could place the writers in serious jeopardy. Despite, or because of, differences in approach, these writers keep memories alive to ensure that the past is neither forgotten nor repeated. Continue reading

Lin Shu’s Don Quixote translated into Spanish after 100 years

Source: The Guardian (4/23/21)
Chinese Don Quixote is translated into Spanish after 100 years
Lin Shu’s forgotten 1922 text, The Story of the Enchanted Knight – with a less deluded Don Quixote – in edition for China and Spain
By  in Madrid @swajones

Historia del Caballero Encantado (The Story of the Enchanted Knight), a Spanish translation of Lin Shu’s Mandarin Chinese version of Don Quixote.

Historia del Caballero Encantado (The Story of the Enchanted Knight), a Spanish translation of Lin Shu’s Mandarin Chinese version of Don Quixote. Photograph: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty

In the early 20th century a pioneering and appropriately idiosyncratic man of letters took it upon himself to translate the first part of Don Quixote into classical Chinese.

Undaunted by his lack of Spanish – or indeed any western language – and helped by a friend who had read two or three English translations, Lin Shu published The Story of the Enchanted Knight in 1922.

In its pages Chinese readers had their first introduction to the deranged, book-sick nobleman created by the writer Cervantes, and to the escapades that have echoed, as insistently as Rocinante’s hooves, down the centuries and through the work of many, from Jorge Luis Borges and Graham Greene to Salman Rushdie.

Almost 100 years later Spain is returning the favour with a suitably chivalric flourish by translating Lin’s translation into Spanish to coincide with the 405th anniversary of Cervantes’ death. Continue reading

A Century of Chinese Literature in Translation review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Haiyan Xie’s review of A Century of Chinese Literature in Translation (1919-2019): English Publication and Reception, edited by Leah Gerber and Lintao Q. The review appears below and at its online home: https://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/haiyan-xie/. My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC literary studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, editor

A Century of Chinese Literature in Translation (1919-2019):
English Publication and Reception

Edited by Leah Gerber and Lintao Qi

Reviewed by Haiyan Xie

MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright March, 2021)

Leah Gerber and Lintao Qi, eds., A Century of Chinese Literature in Translation (1919-2019): English Publication and Reception. London & New York: Routledge, 2020. xii + 187 pp. ISBN 9780367321291.

For the past several decades, translation studies have undergone several “turns,” such as that from linguistics to culture or that from culture to globalization.[1] None of these “turns,” however, seems to have escaped Eurocentric discourse, despite the many alternative voices from outside European countries. Against such a backdrop, Leah Gerber and Lintao Qi’s collection A Century of Chinese Literature in Translation (1919-2019): English Publication and Reception is an important contribution to the current “globalization turn” of translation studies, intervening in debates and issues concerning the field of translation studies, including the study of literature in translation from a non-Eurocentric perspective. This collection of essays, focusing on Chinese literature in translation, presents an impressive tapestry of topics, perspectives, and methodologies for a rethinking of the nature of translation and translation practice in today’s globalized context. It also demonstrates the editors’ effort to deconstruct some major stereotypes and dichotomies that, to various degrees, continue to haunt the nature of literature in translation. In doing so, this book also contributes to enriching our understanding of how Chinese literature becomes part of world literature through a “minor” culture of translation. Continue reading

Jia Pingwa event

Next Friday, April 9, 9:00AM EST, we’ll be talking about Jia Pingwa and my translation of his 《老生》, titled The Mountain Whisperer. Jia Pingwa will be there (a recorded message and live Q&A), as well as Nicky Harman, who will also discuss her translations of Jia’s work. It is a bit early, unfortunately, but that can’t be helped insofar as we’re coordinating three time-zones.

The link to the event is here:

Jia Pingwa: Master Storyteller of rural China


Chrisopher Payne christopher.payne@utoronto.ca>

Afrolit for China

Source: Bruce Humes.com (3/6/21)
Coming soon to China: African Poetry, Novellas and Parables Translated Direct from Hausa and Swahili
By Bruce Humes

2021 looks set to be a banner year for what I refer to in shorthand as “Afrolit4China,” i.e., African writing in Chinese translation targeting readers in the People’s Republic.

According to the latest statistics from the sole online mini-database in this niche, the bilingual African Writing in Chinese Translation (非洲文学: 中文译本), now lists 240 translated works by 101 African authors. This shows a robust 64 percent increase over the 146 titles in early 2018.

Last year’s batch included psychological thrillers My Sister, the Serial Killer (我的妹妹是连环杀手) by Oyinkan Braithwaite, and Alain Mabanckou’s Mémoires de porc-épic (豪猪回忆录), novels that were penned in colonial languages, English and French, respectively.

But East China Normal University Press (华东师范大学出版社) has announced that two of its first three titles in the VI HORAE Africa Series (六点非洲系列) are rendered into Chinese direct from languages indigenous to Africa. None of the customary “re-treads” here via the intermediary of English. According to Commissioning Editor Shi Meijun (施美均), the Chinese translators learned African languages as undergraduates, and several have lived and studied in Africa.


Shaaban’s poetry in bilingual format

[Note:  Most of the English-language titles below are for the convenience of Anglophone readers of this article; several of these works do not exist in English]

Selected Poems of Shaaban bin Robert (夏班·罗伯特诗歌选集) is translated from the original Swahili, published in a bilingual Swahili-Chinese format, and features graphics by African illustrators. The reader need only scan a QR code to access online recitations of the verse in Swahili.

Due out soon is The Body Will Tell You: Selected Works from the Hausa (身体会告诉你: 非洲豪萨语文学作品选).  Four nouvellas make up the first part of the book, while the second consists of two hundred short parables — inspired by West African oral folk literature as well as Aesop’s fables — compiled and retold by Yusufu Yunusa. Continue reading

New books by Martin Winter


Happy Lantern Festival, may this lunar year be better than the last one! I wrote a Rat poem on the last day of 2020, it was presented by Yi Sha.

Actually I wanted to tell you about the new book finally coming out, NPC A-J, Chinese-German. I have posted about Yi Sha’s NPC a while before, several years now. I have been participating in it since 2013. Now the first book with NPC poets in Chinese and German is finally going to print. The book info is in here:


Anyone interested in doing a review somewhere? It’s not in English, just Chinese/German, so maybe it’s not suitable for a MCLC review. But we would be happy to send the book to you asap.

And the second book is my own first book coming out in China. Came out last fall, fall 2020. Have I posted about this before? Maybe not. Here is the link: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/2zz0D_Y0Ab7Kn6FzXvyjvg

Poetry, of course. Great book!

Small censorship issue, see here https://www.fabriktransit.net/buecher/206-winter-martin-censored.html


Martin 维马丁