Translating Literary Ideology from Ancient Chinese into Modern French: François Cheng’s Francophone Poetry in Double chant (2000)

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Abstract

François Cheng (1929- ), elected to the Académie Française in 2002, structurally introduced the lexicological, syntactic, and semiotic form of Tang poetry to the French academia via his academic works. In the late 1980s, François Cheng shifted his focus from academic writing to creative writing, both in French, winning the 1998 Prix Femina for his novel Le Dit de Tianyi (1998) and Prix Roger Caillois for his collection of poems Double chant (2000). Focusing on his less-discussed poetry, which reveals higher congruity of his understanding of Chinese literary classics with creative representation, this paper argues that, as an analyst of Tang poetry, Cheng also acts as a contemporary translator of the classical Chinese aesthetic ideology into French modern verses. His subjective creation of poetry is both transcultural and trans-temporal, ambiguously corresponding to his lingual, racial, cultural, and national belonging, and appropriating a new valid form of French literary style. This ambiguity both transcends national identification and universalizes the international flow of knowledge. Beyond Feng Lan's (2017) recognition of François Cheng as a special representative of Chinese diasporic intellectuals who mediate between institutionalized French discourses and Chinese classical philosophy, a close reading of Cheng’s poems in the paper will support an investigation of his successive and transformative production of text.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6
Number of pages9
JournalCLCWeb - Comparative Literature and Culture
Volume25
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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