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

A Study of Three Chinese Versions of the Merchant of Venice from a Deconstructionist Perspective

Author ChenJing
Tutor WangKeMing
School Nanjing University of Finance and Economics
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords deconstruction creativity subjectivity indeterminacy of meaning
CLC I046
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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Deconstruction, born in France in the 1960s, is quite an impressive post-modern philosophical thought. Originated in philosophy, it has permeated its influence on all aspects of social life such as literature, aesthetics, arts, etc. Deconstruction is also known as post-structuralism or postmodernism, which has the characteristic of deconstructing. It systematically fights against and undoes the structuralism’s concepts of structure and meaning.Since the late 1980s and the early 1990s, deconstruction has made great impact on traditional translation and it has become more influential in western translation studies. Deconstruction challenges the traditional translation criterion of“faithfulness”. Translation can not be completely and absolutely faithful to the original text. It denies the existence of ultimate meaning in the original text and breaks the traditional duality relationship—author and translator, original text and translation. It claims the translator’s creative subjectivity and holds that all of the texts are intertextual to each other. Theoretically speaking, deconstruction confirms translators’creativity and subjectivity. In this sense, it will not only infuse new vigor and vitality into the translation research but also provide some new perspectives for translation studies.Based on the above understanding, this thesis applies the theory of deconstruction to conduct a comparative study of three Chinese versions of Shakespeare’s comedy the Merchant of Venice translated by Zhu Shenghao, Liang Shiqiu and Fang Ping. The author will discuss and analyze the deconstructive view on meaning in translation from two aspects: subject and object. With the aim of strengthening subjectivity role of the translator, elaborating the reasonableness of three translators’respective strategies in the light deconstruction, and further confirming the positive effect of this theory on translation studies, especially its powerful implications for literary translation, the investigation of this thesis would also contribute to improving the quality of classical works’translation.Chapter One is an introduction. It gives a brief idea of deconstruction and then states the significance, research methodology and outline of this thesis. Chapter Two starts with a brief literature review, which mainly focuses on the survey of deconstruction both at home and abroad. In addition, it reviews the translation of Shakespeare’s works, and then gives a brief overview of the current translation studies of the Merchant of Venice. Chapter Three is the theoretical framework of this thesis. It discusses deconstructive translation and some related concepts, compares the different views on meaning between deconstruction and structuralism, and finally illustrates the impact that deconstruction exerts on translation studies and practice. Chapter Four is the most important part of this thesis, which contains two parts. Firstly, the profile and translations of three translators are elaborated. Then it conducts a comparative study of the three Chinese versions from a deconstructionist perspective, mainly from texts as object and translators as subject, combining with many specific examples from the three versions. Chapter Five gives a new comment on the three Chinese versions from a deconstructionist perspective. The author finds that their respective strategies are reasonable and justifiable. Chapter Six is a conclusion, including the major findings, some limitations and implications for further research.

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