Translating Betrayals, Betraying Translations
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CitationThornber, Karen L. 2009. Translating betrayals, betraying translations. In Discontinuities and displacements: Studies in comparative literature, ed. E. F. Coutinho. Rio de Janeiro: Aeroplano.
AbstractDebates over the boundaries of early twentieth-century Japanese literature often focus on the volumes of Japanese-language literature written by semicolonial Chinese and colonial Koreans and Taiwanese and published throughout the Japanese empire. Part of both modern Japanese literature and the modern literatures of China, Korea, and Taiwan, these texts greatly expand the conventional boundaries of “Japanese literature.” Further undermining conventional boundaries were transnational literary movements, where connections with writers and creative texts from abroad often ran just as deep as with those from closer to home.
Although fertile, these and other discussions of what constitutes early twentieth-century Japanese literature have neglected the paradox of translation – translation both into and from the Japanese language. Translations naturally facilitate the cross-pollination of literary worlds. But even more significantly, they defy perhaps more than anything else the division of literature along purely national lines. This presentation will focus on one of the most striking sets of colonial and semicolonial translations of Japanese literature, namely Chinese and Korean translations of heavily censored Japanese proletarian and battlefront texts, where fuseji and missing pages are replaced with Chinese and Korean words, creating literary works that are no more “Japanese” than they are “Chinese” or “Korean.” I also will address the further reworking of Japanese literature in Chinese, Korean, and Taiwanese intertextual reconfigurations of censored literature, and the deep yet regularly overlooked intertwining of the early twentieth-century Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Taiwanese literary worlds (particularly the intra-Asian friendships) that allowed this transculturation to flourish.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:4728509
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