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(Re-)Constructing Narratives of Memory, Culture and Myth : Reading Jiang Rong’s Wolf Totem and Howard Goldblatt’s Translation

Centre for Translation (May 24, 2012)

SEMINAR SERIES : Translation seminar series

LENGTH : 119 min.
ACCESS : Open to all
SUMMARY : Jiang Rong's semi-autographical novel Lang Tu Teng (《狼圖騰》, first published in 2004) has been a huge literary triumph (winner of the Man Asian Literary Prize in 2007) and an unprecedented cultural phenomenon in Mainland China, breaking all-time sales records as the second most read book after Chairman Mao's little red book. Howard Goldblatt's lucid translation of Wolf Totem (2008) has also made the novel into an exciting popular work of narrative fiction for the international community of literary readers and cultural critics. This talk proposes to look at how Jiang Rong the original author and Howard Goldblatt the translator, with similarities and differences, (re-)construct narratives of collective and personal memories, Chinese state ideology and Mongols' nomadic culture, modernity and tradition, ecological warning and political indictment, existential struggle and spiritual survival around the stories of Chen Zhen the protagonist and the tales of the Han Chinese, nomadic Mongols (descendants of Genghis Khan) and their fierce yet worthy foes the Mongolian wolves on the grassland of Olonbulang in Inner Mongolia steppes that, for centuries, the Mongols had been "religiously" instructed to contend with, to worship and to learn from. The presentation will share a few points of textual and contextual understanding when literary texts move across languages and cultures.  [Go to the full record in the library's catalogue]

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