Bringing World Literature Home: A Study on Zheng Zhenduo’s Translation of "Reynard the Fox"
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AbstractAs a co-founder of Literary Study Society, Zheng Zhenduo (1898-1958) released his serial translation of Reynard the Fox in Fiction Monthly in 1925. This was followed by the launch of the first book edition in 1926 and a special discussion on this Western animal tale which was included in his masterpiece Outline of Literature, perhaps the first modern Chinese scholarly work on world literature published in 1927. Centering on the Chinese translation of Reynard the Fox, the present paper seeks to explore how Zheng Zhenduo managed to bring world literature into modern China, renew the old-fashioned children’s literature, and give a full play to the referencing capacity of this fictional work in relation to China’s social reality the late 1920s. As the continued criticism of the old literary school since the reform of Fiction Monthly in 1921, Zheng Zhenduo’s translation in the first place gave a powerful blow to an earlier translation done by Sun Yuxiu, a senior editor and translator in the Commercial Press, who, as the title (Trial of the Fox) indicated, maintained the Chinese tradition in which ethics should be upheld and the evil should be punished. In order to showcase the complexities of human nature, Zheng selected among various sources Henry Morley’s edited version in Early Prose Romances (1889) for his own translation where all major plots were kept. As the fictional narrative progressed, he attempted to depict the cruelty and darkness of the villainous fox, which is rarely found in children’s literature, while detaching the literary theme from the original Christian background and establishing it as a universal question of human nature. Accordingly, Zheng also paid less effort to distinguish among different genres such as animal epic, fables, and fairy-tales than to reveal the association between fictional representation and social reality. This was particularly evident both toward the end of Zheng’s translation and in his own interpretation in his Outline of Literature, where the connection between the human and animal worlds was markedly reversed and where the satirical characteristic of the work was emphasized for his criticism of suppression of people’s rights and freedom.
Acceptance Date14/07/2017
All Author(s) ListRuoze Huang
Name of ConferenceThe Sixth Asia-Pacific Forum on Translation and Intercultural Studies
Start Date of Conference20/10/2017
End Date of Conference22/10/2017
Place of ConferenceBerkeley, University of California
Country/Region of ConferenceUnited States of America
LanguagesEnglish-United States
KeywordsZheng Zhenduo, Reynard the Fox, world literature, translation, animal tale

Last updated on 2018-10-10 at 12:27