Dissertation > Language, writing > Linguistics > Translation Studies

On Liang Shiqiu’s Translation from the Perspective of Polysystem Theory

Author WangLei
Tutor RenHuaiPing
School Shandong University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Liang Shiqiu transaltion Shakespeare’s plays Polysystem Theory Manipulation
CLC H059
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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As a translator, Liang Shiqiu is renowned for translating The Complete Works of Shakespeare single-handedly. He had been severely criticized for his propositions on class character of literature due to certain historical factors. It is not objective to evaluate his translation thought by his certain viewpoints rather than by his integrated theoretical system from the perspective of some radical leftists in the 1930s, without considering the circumstances from which his tanslation thought originated. It was not until the late 1980s that Liang Shiqiu was evaluated in a comparatively objective approach."Culture Turn" of translation studies makes shift from the micro textual-oriented paradigm to the marco extra-textual one. The emergence of Even-Zohar’s Polysystem Theory, Hermans’ Manipulation Theory and Lefevere’s Rewriting Theory provides a descriptive approach to extra-textual factors of translation from a historical perspective. It also brings forth the interaction between translated literature and home literature by embedding literary translation into the historical-cultural context. On the one hand, it further explores the manipulative factors of literary translation. On the other hand, it investigates the mechanism of checks-and-balances, which regulates the contention between literary sections maintain the centre and the ones maintain the periphery within literary polysystem. It is particularly enlightening for present literary translation studies which are in the context of globalization.As the beginning of modern Chinese history, the period of May 4th Movement witnessed the construction of new cultural system. Due to the inadequacy of traditional cultural system, a large amount of foreign literary works were introduced into China through translation. Translated literature fulfilled the vacuum in the early 20th Century, and participated into the construction of home new cultural system after the May 4th Movement. Exuberant translation activity resulted in a translated literature polysystem, which was open and pluralistic, during the 1920s. Due to the changes of socio-historical context, translated literature polysystem tended to be unified in the 1930s.Liang Shiqiu’s early translation activity occurred in the 1930s. He did not only translate the major eight plays of Shakespeare, but he also translated and introduced many British novels and western classics related to social science. Although Liang Shiqiu had accomplished the translation of abundant western works, his translation thought was only presented in his essay collections and letters rather than published treatises. Besides, his translation works was strongly featured by the Doctrine of the Mean under the heavy influence of the Confucianism and Babbitt’s New Humanism. As one of the leading characters of New Culture Movement in China, Liang Shiqiu advocated the promotion of Chinese vernacular while he appropriately preserved the Classical Chinese in his translation. In the context of Anti-Japanese War, Liang Shiqiu purported that the priority of translation selection should be given to the artistic value of the target works per se rather than the utilitarianism, which was just on the opposite side of the major trend at that time. In general, Liang Shiqiu’s translation thought was strongly coined by being peripheral due to his status as a liberal scholar.In this thesis, the main attention has been given to historical and cultural manipulation of Liang Shiqiu’s translation thought and characteristics on the basis of Polysystem Theory, Manipulation Theory and Rewriting Theory. On account of Liang Shiqiu’s translation of the major eight plays of Shakespeare in the 1930s as well as some other related researches, some typical examples are selected as the case study in this thesis; besides, Liang Shiqiu’s peripheral translating model would be examined within the translated literary polysystem, so as to illustrate the counterpoise it exerts to the translated literature polysystem during the period of May 4th Movement in China.

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