Dissertation > Literature > Literary Theory > Literary Creation > Literary Translation

A Study of Li Wenjun's Literary Translation

Author WangChun
Tutor ChaMingJian
School Shanghai International Studies University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Li Wenjun translation sociology translation thought influence study
CLC I046
Type PhD thesis
Year 2014
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The translator Li Wenjun (1930-) is excellent in both skills and moral integrity, whohas translated numerous works of famous writers, such as Kafka, Faulkner, Hemingway,Salinger, McCullers, Alice Munro and so forth, especially William Faulkner’s translation inChina, which has increased generations of Chinese readers’ interest in reading and made aprofound impact on the development and progression on contemporary Chinese literature.In terms of number, quality and effect, his translation of William Faulkner deserves anexclusive study as an important translator. However, up to now, there is little deep reviewon it. The dissertation aims to fill in study gaps to some degree, it is believed verysignificant and valuable for research of translators from sociology perspective, Faulkner’sinfluence study from comparative literature perspective and translators’ status incontemporary translation literature history. Research finding will also provide valuablereference for further academic study.Growing up in an age where cultural clash happens, where ideology and methodmetabolize constantly, Li wenjun has a chance to learn from achievements of Chinamodern “Renaissance” and culture pioneers who connect the past with future and carryforward, which accords with translating one language to reproduce the thought and artwhat another language expresses equivalently and maximally. As a translator, Li Wenjundoes well in both Chinese and English, who is especially good at translating Americanwriters’ works. For instance, his translation of Faulkner has been accepted the best. Peopleregard it as classics which play an important role in contemporary Chinese literaturehistory because of the profound influence it has made. Apart from this, it not only “createsnew words and expression patterns”,but also provides references to contemporary writerson creative thinking and artistic aesthetics. He was awarded “Translation and CultureLifetimeAchievementAward” by the Translators Association of China in2011.This study uses an entry point of the theories of comparative literature influence studyand translation sociology; explores and describes Li Wenjun’s literature activities andtranslation thought in each period after the found of New China in constant changingChinese literature context; tries to conclude and summary the basic feature and sublimatethe theory. In other words, on the one hand, research uses sociology theory for reference in that it provides a new ken, explores the relationship between translator and society frommultiple perspectives such as society, history, culture and so forth, helps to investigatetranslation activity’s complexity and specificity comprehensively; On the other hand, from“intertext” perspective of comparative literature, research puts foreign literature’s effect,contemporary culture context, nation literature tradition and other factors into researchvisions, hoping to take a new look at translator’s social value in effect research.The meanings of this dissertation show up in following aspects:(1) Interdisciplinarymeaning: Since the1980s, Li Wenjun’s translation of Faulkner not only has made profoundeffects on the creation and production of contemporary Chinese literature, but also left anindelible impression on literature communication, comparative literature and aestheticculture. It is one of the most vital ways to understand contemporary Chinese literature andideological history by studying Li Wenjun’s translation of Faulkner.(2) Literary meaning:Translations of Faulkner and Hemingway play an important part in researches of Americanliterature, which reflect much features of American literature development in the20thcentury. Researching the style and thought of Li Wenjun’s translation is a useful way for usto grasp and look into the newest variation of value, creative concept and artistic means ofAmerican literature.(3) Practical meaning: We do not pay much attention to the alivetranslators who have translated a lot and actively. Research of translators should not beregarded as a kind of “archaeology”, which means the inertial thinking of “finaljudgment”.Method: synchronic description and diachronic comparison, horizontally uses new eraculture context as background, describes contemporary translator’s common feature,reveals interact relationship between literature translation activity under manipulation andinfluence of contemporary context and contemporary Chinese literature development;longitudinally sets time as a coordinate(1958-2012), makes Li Wenjun’s representativetranslations in different period as research object, puts Li Wenjun’s translation classicconstruction and track of evolution into an “intertext” consult in order to form a systematicresearch achievement from multiple perspectives and dimensions. To be specific, on thelevel of comparative literature, based on description research and scientific, matureempirical study mode, accompanied by version case study, translator influence study and other empirical study methods, research gives a panoramic, objective description anddetail analysis after collecting all the relevant materials.

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