Author: Tong, Man
Title: Whose strange stories? : a study of Herbert Giles' (1845-1935), translation of P'u Sung-ling's 蒲松齡 (1640-1715), Liao-chai Chih-i 聊齋誌異
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2001
Subject: Giles, Herbert Allen, 1845-1935 -- Criticism and interpretation
Pu, Songling, 1640-1715. Liao zhai zhi yi
Chinese fiction -- 17th century -- Translations into English
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Department of Chinese and Bilingual Studies
Pages: vi, 282 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm
Language: English
Abstract: This study proposes a new form of transformative translation, specifically for P'u Sung-ling's 蒲松齡 (1640-1715) Liao-chai chhi-i 聊齋誌異 stories. It does this through analyzing the original stories and Herbert Giles' (1845-1935) translation. The first part (chapters one and two) is a study of author and translator. Modern readers of P'u Sung-ling's Liao-chai chili-i have tended to concentrate on the social aspect of the collection. They have tended to forget that essential element of the Liaochai stories, their peculiar "wit and flavour" 趣. The first chapter recreates the author's time - the world of the late 17th- earlyl8th-century Chinese man of letters. It looks at P'u Sung-ling's life, and the evolution of the important chili-kuai and ch 'uan ch 'i genres. Chapter two concentrates on the translator, Herbert Giles. For many decades, his Strange Stories of 1880, the translation of a selection of the Liao-chai stories, have been dismissed as orientalist "bowdlerisations" of P'u Sung-ling. We take a closer look at the history of Giles' predecessors, pioneers in the Western encounter with China, and in the translation of Chinese fiction into European languages. We also look at Giles' life, before analyzing and discussing his Strange Stories. There has never been a close comparison of Giles' translation with P'u Sung-ling's original. The second part of this thesis takes a detailed look at one story of the Liao-chai collection, and at Giles' translation of it. The story, "Miss Lien-hsiang" 蓮香, is chosen as a representative case. In the beginning of this part (chapter three), the "original" story is discussed. In chapter four we read Giles' translation in detail, to see what exactly he did to the Chinese text. By comparing the translation with the original, we find that the translated version is no longer P'u's story. It has become Giles' story. The process of "correcting" Giles offers us a new prism through which to view P'u Sung-ling's work, and to identify the "wit and flavour" of "Miss Lien-hsiang". It also presents a new challenge, that of improving Giles. Chapters five and six deal with the use of informal marginalia and visual materials, and presents the new model of transformative translation. This model enables the modern English reader to dive deep into the world of the "original", to enter the studio world of P'u Sung-ling, and to capture some of its "wit and flavour".
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: open access

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