Integration of French Ideology and Chinese Painting Methodology: Fu Lei’s Translation Theory and its Pragmatic Practices before and after the Second Sino-Japanese War

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Jin Sheng-hwa regarded Fu Lei as ‘one or two of the best translators in a century’. As a participant of the May Thirtieth Movement (1925), Fu Lei played a significant role in dispersing not only French literature, but also French realist narrative consciousness in China, after his study at the University of Paris from 1928 to 1931 – around a decade after the First World War. He introduced pre-First-World-War works of Romain Rolland and Honoré de Balzac to the Chinese public before and after the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) respectively. His translation of social parody that Rolland and Balzac succeeded from Gustave Flaubert and Victor Hugo evoked cultural imagination of intellectuals. It helped construct a
hypothetic community, corresponding to Western humanitarian idealism, against current political bureaucracy and social hypocrisy in China.

This paper will focus on the translation theory of Fu Lei, which identifies the ideological difference between the East and the West and emphasises the importance of spiritual similarity. I will pay particular attention to his inheritance and
interdisciplinary application of traditional Chinese painting theories that Yuan Wen, Chao Yidao, Yang Shen and Li Zhi suggested, and also the historical and personal consistency about the works Fu selected for translation in specific context. I argue that Fu not only provided a theoretical framework and practices to emancipate Chinese translation work from rigid paradigm, but also delivered his personal revolutionary sense through his translated French literary pieces that implicitly encouraged intellectual engagement in anti-government activities and relevant translation activities.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015
EventFirst International Conference on Chinese Translation History: Translators in the Making of Chinese Translation History - Yasumoto International Academic Park, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Duration: 17 Dec 201519 Dec 2015 (Link to conference website) (Link to conference abstracts) (Link to conference programme)


ConferenceFirst International Conference on Chinese Translation History
Country/TerritoryHong Kong
OtherThe “International Conference on Chinese Translation History” series aspires to explore Chinese translation history within the bigger framework of world civilization and human thought, and aims to lay groundwork for new models, methods, and perspectives in this innovative interdisciplinary branch of learning through detailed case studies. The conference series will be held every two years, with a different central theme for every conference, and welcomes researchers from across the world to participate.

The inaugural conference, “Translators in the Making of Chinese Translation History,” now invites submission of panel abstracts, as well as abstracts for individual papers on translators and related themes. The conference hopes to bring to light the importance of translators in determining the course of Chinese translation history. Papers relating but not limited to the following areas are welcome:
Translators in the development of Chinese language and literature
Translators in the adoption and appropriation of knowledge
Translators in cultural exchange between China and the world
Translators in the spread and localization of religions
Translators in international conflicts and negotiations
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