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"Little Private Jokes": Western Literary Allusions in a Chinese Novel

Tuesday 8 November 2022, 10-11am GMT
Zoom- link to be sent to all EATPA network members in advance of talk


Cao Xueqin's Dream is teemed with literary allusions. Hawkes' Stone is equally rich in literary allusions, and the reader needs to be sensitive and knowledgeable with regards not only to the Chinese canon, but also to English and other Western literary classics in order to recognise and appreciate them. This talk will present the argument that literary translation in its highest form is the seamless merging of two literary worlds. It is conceived in the mind of a translator well versed in both worlds, one who has attained full mastery of both sides of the Mirror. Careful examination of Stone reveals the Greek and Latin elements abound in Hawkes' translation. One of the most outstanding features of Dream is that it contains examples of almost all the different genres and forms of Chinese poetry. A text had to resemble works in that corpus to get any sort of audience among educated people.

Speaker’s Bio

Fan Shengyu 范聖宇 is currently Senior Lecturer in Chinese Studies, and Deputy Director of Languages at the School of  Culture, History and Language in the College of  Asia and the Pacific at the Australian National University.