Angloscene review

MCLC Resource Center is pleasesd to announce publication of Ruodi Duan’s review of Angloscene: Compromised Personhood in Afro-Chinese Translations, by Jay Ke-Schutte. The review appears below and at its online home: https://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/ruodi-duan/. My thanks to Michael Gibbs Hill, our translations/translation studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, MCLC

Angloscene: Compromised Personhood
in Afro-Chinese Translations

By Jay Ke-Schutte


Reviewed by Ruodi Duan

MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright May, 2024)


Jay Ke-Schutte, Angloscene: Compromised Personhood in Afro-Chinese Translations Berkeley: University of California Press, 2023. 219 pp. ISBN: 9780520389816 (paperback); 9780520389823 (ebook).

New approaches to China-Africa studies that center the mediating role of race remain greatly needed. Jay Ke-Schutte’s Angloscene: Compromised Personhood in Afro-Chinese Translations, which is available for free in electronic format from Luminosa, takes on this call. Through an ethnography conducted in the 2010s of the relationships and micro-interactions between Chinese and African students in Beijing, Ke-Schutte argues that these encounters are continually articulated through the vectors of whiteness, cosmopolitanism, and use of the English language. This landscape, Ke-Schutte argues, comprises the “Angloscene,” which is constituted through acts of interpersonal and intercultural translation.

I appreciate many aspects of the book. The ethnographic descriptions are rich and well-composed. Ke-Schutte accords much-deserved attention to how the dynamic afterlives of Third World unity still manifest in current-day grassroots exchanges, such as when an African student implores a Chinese street vendor to “help out a Third World brother!” (5). Relatedly, I find very provocative the connections that Ke-Schutte highlights between labor migrancy in apartheid-era South Africa and the aspirations of female rural-to-urban migrant workers in contemporary Beijing (72-75). Ke-Schutte’s willingness to tackle some of the most impossible questions in the articulation and reception of Black identities in modern Chinese society (i.e., who can be a racist?) leads to unanticipated and deeply insightful observations. For one, I am intrigued by the global reach of “white political correctness” as a register of the civilizational expectations that govern subaltern subjects (89). The exchanges between Adam, a Zimbabwean student, and his Chinese ex-girlfriend Lili at a costume party capture this dynamic. Adam and Lili found themselves trapped in an impossible bind given their use of English language as the vehicle for communication, unable to escape the racialized positions and aspirations that elevate Tim, Lili’s new white boyfriend, to relative unassailability and authority. Continue reading

Paper Republic 17

And we’re back! I know you’re all thinking it, 浪子回头金不换, the prodigal newsletter has returned and there’s nothing sweeter. Well I hope that we can deliver with this, the first instalment in a year and a half.

But first, the annual, start-of-the-year reminder to any aspiring or experienced Chinese-English translators that registration for both Bristol Translates & BCLT Summer School is currently open. Both are online this time around, and while there is some time before the application window for Bristol closes, you only have until Sunday 14 April to apply for Multilingual Prose, Multilingual Poetry, Multilingual Theatre or Training the Trainer at BCLT, if Chinese is your language of choice. Please do spread the word. And if you yourself are interested, then I highly recommend signing up for either for how valuable an opportunity this is to start building your translation network and toolbox.

Now, onto the news:

Extracts, stories and poems:

  • Spittoon Magazine has a whole new selection of stories online, both in their original language and in English translation, for your enjoyment. I also believe the collective has some exciting news coming up in the next year or so, so if you’re not familiar with its work, now is the time to get familiar!
  • A new Shen Dacheng translation is available to read on the Clarkesworld website, in the form of her short story “The Rambler”, tr. Cara Healey. Dacheng’s body of work is a personal favourite of mine so it’s wonderful to see more of it out there in English for all to read
  • Poet Bei Dao’s first collection in over a decade is coming out next month in Jeffrey Yang’s translation and you can read poems from the collection here and here
  • Another book that’s out next month, and is well worth picking up, is Lin Yi-Han’s tragic semi-autobiographical Fang Si-Chi’s First Love Paradise, tr. Jenna Tang. So you know what you’re in for, the author-translator pair has two pieces online, here and here
  • This month’s author of the month at the Centre for New Chinese Writing is Lu Min. There’s an excerpt on the site from her latest novel Golden River available to read in both Chinese and English
  • And to round out this frankly star-studded line up, we have pieces from no other than Yu Hua, three of them tr. Michael Berry, an interview, a list of recommended readings for students of literature and the author on why young Chinese no longer want to work for private firms

Continue reading

Summer Translation Collaborative II

Summer Translation Collaborative II with Julia Keblinska and Patricia Sieber
June 10-14, 2024
The Ohio State University (Columbus, OH, U.S.A., in person)
Module development for the Chinese Theater Collaborative (CTC)

Cover of the 1982 lianhunahua comic of The Injustice to Dou E, one of Guan Hanqing’s signature plays. Image credit: Screenshot from lhh1.com by Julia Keblinska.

In this week-long workshop on the OSU campus, CTC co-editors Julia Keblinska and Patricia Sieber will guide a small group of participants in authoring new modules for the Chinese Theater Collaborative (CTC) digital resource center. The program will feature presentations on how to handle different texts and diverse media, hands-on module development, and spirited peer review. This year’s workshop will focus on the modern afterlives of Guan Hanqing’s plays in any media (e.g., different traditional theatrical/operatic styles, spoken drama of any tradition, films, animation, TV drama, graphic renditions, prints, etc). The goal is to create draft modules that can eventually be published on CTC.

We would like to recruit a diverse cohort of advanced undergraduate and graduate students as well as recent MFAs and PhDs. Required qualifications: advanced command of modern Chinese, professional fluency in spoken and written English. Experience with translation, theater or other media is desirable, but not required. We welcome participants, who are interested in developing either individually authored or collaborative written modules. CTC modules are backed by scholarly research but presented in an accessible and visually appealing style to cater to diverse publics. We especially welcome applications by members of traditionally underrepresented groups. Continue reading

On the poet Nan Ren

Dear poetry fans,

Two weeks ago, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published my article on the poet Nan Ren 南人 (scroll to p. 5; there are a few minor mistakes in the German article, I couldn’t see the final print version before it came out: the first poem has one line added; and Shaanxi became Shanxi). I have decided to write a version in English to post here. This is a newspaper article, so there are no footnotes. The reference to Maghiel van Crevel was not included in the print version. I have thought about many names of other poets I should have mentioned, and other things I should have said. Anyway, such a publication in a major daily in Germany is a big success, a big deal in international exposure for current Chinese poetry. I hope you like it. Please send feedback via email, thank you!

Huang Li illustration for the poem “In a Pawnshop of Pain.”

Martin Winter <dujuan99@gmail.com>

Sources: Here is a link to the poems in the article including the original Chinese versions. And here are the paintings by Huang Li 黄丽 that accompany the poems in the book. The pictures look much better in the book. Nan Ren has sent them to me in high resolution. He and Xiron have authorized me to look for publishers in Europe and beyond. I hope to find publishers for the German speaking and for the English speaking Pawnshop. Here is a link to about 50 poems in Chinese with some translations in English or German. Here is a link to the announcement from last May, when the book was published in China. The publisher is Xiron Poetry Club, 磨铁读诗会. Xiron is a big publisher, led by the poet Shen Haobo 沈浩波. But Xiron is private and has to purchase an ISBN for each book from a state publisher. The state publisher is on the cover, Xiron Poetry Club is on the first page. Both have to avoid publishing anything that could get the book pulled or forbidden.

IN A PAWNSHOP OF PAIN
By Martin Winter

Nan Ren is a legend. He doesn’t like to say when he was born. 1970, found that somewhere. Not important. Nan Ren is a pen name. The nán of ‘south‘ and the rén of ‘person‘. What does that mean? His family comes from the south, somewhere south of the Long River, the Yangtse. Nanren, southern people, was the lowest stratum in the Mongol empire. The Mongols captured the south last, all the better jobs had been assigned to other people already. Almost every poet writing in Chinese has a pen name. People have more than one name in Chinese, even non-artists. It was that way in Confucius‘ times. And in the occident, in the antique, people also had several names, at least prominent people, all the way from Homer. Continue reading

‘Shawshank’ in China

Source: NYT (2/16/24)
‘Shawshank’ in China, as You’ve Never Seen It Before
A stage adaptation of the film featured an all-Western cast, was performed in Chinese and raised questions about translation, both linguistic and cultural.
By Vivian Wang and Vivian Wang reported from Beijing, and Claire Fu from Seoul)

Two women pose for pictures in front of a promotional billboard for the stage production of “The Shawshank Redemption.”

A stage production of the film “The Shawshank Redemption,” cast with Western actors speaking fluent Mandarin Chinese, opened in Beijing in January. Credit…Gilles Sabrié for The New York Times

When a stage production of “The Shawshank Redemption” opened recently in China, it was cast entirely with Western actors speaking fluent Mandarin Chinese. But that may have been the least surprising part of the show.

That the show — an adaptation of the Stephen King novella that became one of the most beloved movies of all time — was staged at all seemingly flew in the face of several trends in China’s cultural sphere.

Chinese audiences’ interest in Hollywood films is fading, with moviegoers turning to homegrown productions. China’s authoritarian government has stoked nationalism and cast Western influence as a political pollutant. Censorship of the arts has tightened.

Yet the production reflects how some artists are trying to navigate the changing landscape of both what is permissible and what is marketable in China. And its success shows the appetite that many Chinese still have for cultural exchange. Continue reading

RMMLA Chinese Literature: Translatability and Untranslatability–cfp

CFP: Chinese Literature: Translatability and Untranslatability
Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association 77th Annual Convention
Conference Date: October 10-12, 2024
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Considered as both a written language and spoken language, in both its modern and premodern forms, Chinese is quite different from many if not most other languages prominent around the world. Because of this, many have theorized that translation between Chinese and other languages is rare, if not impossible. Is it? How have translators working either into or out of Chinese (or both) confronted or worked around the challenges that might lead others to claim “untranslatability”? How much impact have such translations had? This panel invites papers on the intersection of translation studies and Chinese literary studies, with specific attention to topics including but not limited to the following:

  • The art of translating poetry
  • The art of translating prose
  • Corpus approaches to translation studies
  • History of translation into Chinese
  • History of translation out of Chinese
  • Self-translation
  • Translation and gender
  • Translation and power
  • Translation and religion
  • Translation and the Sinophone
  • Translation ethics

Prospective participants should submit an abstract of approximately 250 words along with a short (2-3 sentence) biography through this google form by March 30, 2024. The language of the session is English.

Please direct any inquiries to:

Lucas Klein (Lucas.Klein@asu.edu) (co-chair)
Fay Zhen (fzhen2@asu.edu) (co-chair)
Sofiia Zaichenko (szaichen@ualberta.ca)
Giusi Tamburello (terenziat@hotmail.com)
Wei Zeng (wzeng4@ualberta.ca)

Posted by: Lucas Klein lucas.klein@asu.edu

David Pollard (1937-2024)

In Memoriam: Professor David Edward Pollard (1937–2024)

Dear all,

It is with a heavy heart that we write to announce the passing away of Professor David Edward Pollard, former co-editor (1989–1997), advisory editor (1998–2007), and Advisory Board member (2007–2023) of Renditions, in the early hours of February 6, 2024.

Professor Pollard was born in Kingston on Thames in 1937 and attended St John’s Primary School and Tiffin Boys School. During national service he was selected for the then secret Chinese Language Course and served in Hong Kong, an experience that changed his life. When he took up his place at Downing College, Cambridge, he switched from Modern Languages to Chinese. On graduation he was offered a scholarship at Stanford. On returning to the UK in 1962, he was appointed Lecturer in Chinese at the School of Oriental & African Studies, London University, where he became Chair Professor of Chinese in 1978.

Professor Pollard joined The Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1989 as Chair Professor of Translation Studies. After his retirement, he served as Research Professor at the City University of Hong Kong, Visiting Fellow at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, and Renditions Fellow at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Continue reading

Sinophone Adaptations of Shakespeare review

MCLC Resource Center is pleased to announce publication of Melody Yunzi Li’s review of Sinophone Adaptations of Shakespeare: An Anthology, 1987-2007, edited by Alexa Alice Joubin. The review appears below and its online home: https://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/melody-li/. My thanks to Michael Hill, our translations/translation studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, MCLC

Sinophone Adaptations of Shakespeare:
An Anthology, 1987-2007

Edited by Alexa Alice Joubin


Reviewed by Melody Yunzi Li

MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright February, 2024)


Alexa Alice Joubin, ed., Sinophone Adaptations of Shakespeare: An Anthology, 1987-2007 New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2022. Xv + 288 pp. ISBN: 978-3-030-92992-3 (hardback).

Sinophone Adaptations of Shakespeare: An Anthology, 1987–2007 is a compelling collection of English translations of seven adaptations of Shakespeare’s tragedies in several stage genres from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. These works, which span two decades, not only transcend national and cultural boundaries but also remap Shakespearean and Sinophone literature. The anthology makes an important step toward remedying a problem in both Sinophone studies and Shakespeare scholarship: the scarce availability of primary research materials on East Asian adaptations of Western classics.

A comprehensive introduction by Alexa Alice Joubin gives readers an overview of adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays in the Sinophone world. It points out the significance of this anthology—that “Sinophone Shakespeare’s rich range of interpretative possibilities have much to teach us about non-Anglophone understanding of Shakespeare and Sinophone performance practices today” (2). Each adaptation offers a unique lens to understand new aspects of timeless Shakespearean classics, including HamletMacbeth, and King Lear. The plays selected for translation were staged in multiple traditional and modern performance genres, from Chinese opera to huaju spoken drama. Continue reading

Stephen C. Soong Translation Studies awards 2023-24

CALL FOR ENTRIES
The 26th Stephen C. Soong Translation Studies Memorial Awards (2023–2024)

Introduction

Stephen C. Soong (1919–1996) was a prolific writer and translator as well as an active figure in the promotion of translation education and research. To commemorate his contributions in this field, the Stephen C. Soong Translation Studies Memorial Awards were set up in 1997 by the Research Centre for Translation, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, with a donation from the Soong family. They give recognition to academics who have made contributions to original research in Chinese Translation Studies, particularly in the use of first-hand materials for historical and cultural investigations.

Entry and Nomination

RCT invites Chinese scholars or research students in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan or overseas regions to participate in the 26th Stephen C. Soong Translation Studies Memorial Awards (2023–2024). General regulations are as follows:

  • All Chinese scholars or research students affiliated to higher education/research institutes in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan or overseas regions are eligible to apply.
  • Submitted articles must be written in either Chinese or English and published in a refereed journal within the calendar year 2023. Each candidate can enter up to two articles for the Awards. The publication date, title and volume/number of the journal in which the article(s) appeared must be provided.
  • Up to three articles are selected as winners each year. A certificate and a cheque of HK$3,000 will be awarded to each winning entry.
  • The adjudication committee, which consists of renowned scholars in Translation Studies from Greater China, will meet in June 2024. The results will be announced in July 2024 and winners will be notified individually.
  • Articles submitted will not be returned to the candidates.

Continue reading

Platinum Bible of the Public Toilet

Platinum Bible of the Public Toilet, a translation of ten stories by the queer Chinese writer, filmmaker, and activist Cui Zi’en edited by Petrus Liu and Lisa Rofel, is now available for sale on Duke University Press’s website:

https://www.dukeupress.edu/platinum-bible-of-the-public-toilet

Feel free to read and download Liu and Rofel’s introduction there.

Petrus Liu <petrusl@bu.edu>

Don’t expect kindness and humanity from dictators

Source: China Digital Times (11/6/23)
Translation: “Don’t Expect Kindness and Humanity from Totalitarian Dictators”
By

A fanciful and colorful illustration of China's first emperor Qin Shi Huang, with regal robes, a jeweled headdress, and fiery purple eyes.

A fiery-eyed Qin Shi Huang, China’s first emperor (259-210 B.C.E.), who was famed for his book-burning and brutality.

A brief, fiery essay excoriating totalitarianism has been censored on WeChat, and appears to have precipitated the closure of a Jiangxi-based current- and legal-affairs blog. First posted on the public WeChat account 法制江西 (Fǎzhì Jiāngxī, “Jiangxi Legal”), the ten-paragraph essay—interspersed with photographs of contemporary strongmen and vivid illustrations of the brutal emperors of old—extolled the virtues of liberal democracy and argued for the “inevitable demise” of authoritarian systems. Some aspects of the essay echo, intentionally or not, the vision for a “Beautiful China” of rights lawyer Xu Zhiyong, who was sentenced in May to 14 years in prison for subversion. Soon after the essay disappeared from WeChat, the “Jiangxi Legal” public account announced, without any explanation, that it had been suspended and would cease posting updates. The account’s public profile described it as “a general news column, under the auspices of a legal-affairs Party media outlet, offering in-depth analysis and commentary on trending topics in the news,” and described the content as “a global perspective, a Chinese point of view, explaining current events and discussing all manner of things.”

On Chinese social media, there is routine censorship of content praising so-called “western values” such as democracy, rule of law, human rights, freedom of the press, and freedom of speech. In recent years, there has also been an uptick in the censorship of content and works referring to failed or despotic emperors and other figures from antiquity, particularly if that content is viewed as being obliquely critical of Xi Jinping’s rule. In October, a reprint of the historical biography “The Chongzhen Emperor: Diligent Ruler of a Failed Dynasty” was pulled from bookstore shelves and online booksellers due to a cover redesign and promotional quotes that seemed to implicitly criticize Xi Jinping. (One blurb on the book’s wrapping read: “The diligent ruler of a failed dynasty, Chongzhen’s repeated mistakes were the result of his own ineptitude. His ‘diligent’ efforts hastened the nation’s destruction.”) The name “Chongzhen” and related topics were later search-blocked on Weibo, with searches only showing results from verified users. Continue reading

Paper Republic: Home–cfp

Call for Submissions! Read Paper Republic: Home

Hey everyone, it’s been a minute, almost exactly a year in fact. But we’re back! Though not quite to our regularly scheduled newsletter-ing. You’ll have to wait until next month for that. In the meantime, what better way to start 2024 (Happy New Year and all that) than with a call for submissions for a new series of translations from Chinese; this one on the theme of “Home”.

A refuge, a recollection, a promised land, a prison; the arms of family, or four concrete walls in the sky… Home means something different to each of us, but it means something to all of us. For our next Read Paper Republic series, we’re looking for stories of home: of the quest to find one; the struggle to escape one; the battle to defend one. Fiction, non-fiction or poetry: it’s all welcome.

If you are a Chinese>English translator and know of a home-related short story, essay or poem (or three) which you really like, we want to hear from you! This publication aims to support emerging translators (translators who haven’t published more than one book) and we particularly welcome entries from those new to the profession. Continue reading

2023 Roll call of Chinese literature published in English translation

Here is the Paper Republic 2023 Roll Call of Chinese literature published in English translation: https://paper-republic.org/pers/eric-abrahamsen/2023-roll-call-of-chinese-literature-in-english-translation/

… this is an interesting and varied collection of titles, including classics, left-fielders, big names, and small(er) names. The non-fiction in particular is a wonderful spread of current events, political topics, and essays….

Click the link above for more details and our lists.

Nicky Harman <n.harmanic@gmail.com>

Translating Chinese Internet Literature–cfp

Call for Contributions for an Edited Volume
Translating Chinese Internet Literature: Global Adaptation and Circulation
Publisher: Routledge (Routledge Studies in Chinese Translation)
Deadline for abstracts: 15 January 2024
Editors: Wenqian Zhang, University of Exeter, UK; Sui He, Swansea University, UK

Chinese Internet literature (CIL), also known as Chinese online/web/network literature, refers to “Chinese-language writing, either in established literary genres or in innovative literary forms, written especially for publication in an interactive online context and meant to be read on-screen” (Hockx 2015, 4). While CIL is commonly equated with Chinese web-based genre fiction known for entertainment value, it encompasses a broader range of genres such as poetry and comic strips, covering realistic themes prevailing in serious literature (Inwood 2016; Feng 2021). CIL is born-digital, but it differs essentially from ‘electronic literature’ or ‘digital literature’ that originated in the West. While Western e-literature is “more technology-oriented” (Duan 2018, 670) and usually involves “some sort of computer programming or code” (Hockx 2015, 5–6), CIL is relatively less technologised and experimental in format. In fact, what makes CIL stand out is its interactive features facilitated by professional literary platforms, its underlying profit motive, and mass participation in terms of literary writing, reading and criticism (Hockx 2015).

Over the past three decades, the proliferation of CIL has been fuelled by advancements in internet technology and formulation of larger social media communities, alongside other key factors such as economic growth and the constantly changing ideological and political discourses in and outside mainland China. One notable landmark in the trajectory of CIL is the implementation of a pay-per-read business model by the literary website Qidian (起点 Starting Points) in 2003 – in this model, Qidian charges readers for accessing serialised popular novels and their ‘VIP chapters’ (Hockx 2015, 110). This step marks the beginning of the commodification of CIL. It reshapes the literary writing practices and author-reader/producer-consumer dynamics in Chinese cyberspace (Schleep 2015, Tian and Adorjan 2016). Further developments along this line have enabled CIL to grow into a streamlined industry and mature ecosystem, with a vast number of popular titles being adapted into films, TV/web series, video games and other types of media products, generating enormous economic value and revenue. Continue reading

Urban Scenes

New Publication
Urban Scenes, by Liu Na’ou; translated and introduced by Yaohua Shi and Judith M. Armory
Cambria Press, 2023

More than eighty years after his death, Liu Na’ou (1905—1940) remains a fascinating figure. Liu was born in Taiwan, but early on he wrote that his future lay in Shanghai and did indeed spend the entirety of his glittering but all-too-brief career in his adopted city, working closely with a small coterie of like-minded friends and associates as an editor, writer, film critic, scenarist, and director. Liu introduced Japanese Shinkankakuha (New Sensationism) to China and made it an important school of modern Chinese urban fiction. Urban Scenes, his slim volume of modernist fiction, in particular, has had an outsized influence on Shanghai’s image as a phantasmagoric metropolis in the 1920s and 1930s. This collection is especially valuable since there are no more works from Liu because shortly after producing this he was murdered purportedly for political reasons.

Like Japanese New Sensationists, who zeroed in on sensory responses to the new technologies rapidly transforming Tokyo after the Great Earthquake of 1923, Liu was fixated on the sights, sounds, and smells of Shanghai, that other throbbing metropolis of the Far East, and these came through in his writings. Liu’s urban romances depict, as he himself put it, the “thrill” and “carnal intoxication” of modern urban life. His stories take place in Shanghai’s nightclubs, race tracks, cinemas, and cafes—sites of moral depredation but also of erotic allure and excitement; therein lies the contradictory nature of his urban fiction, which gives us a vivid picture of early twentieth-century Shanghai.

This complete translation of Liu’s seminal work is available for the first time to researchers, students, and general readers interested in modern Chinese literature and culture. In addition to the eight stories in the original Urban Scenes, this collection includes an introduction by the translators and three additional pieces Liu published separately. The translations are based on the first editions of the Chinese texts. Urban Scenes is a valuable addition to collections in Chinese and Sinophone studies.