P19. Topics in East Asian Literature and Translation

Session: Session 3, 3:30-5:00 pm, Friday 9/29

Category: Individual Papers

Location: Humanities

Chair: My-Xuan Hillengas (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign)

Paper Presenters: Jack Keller (Macalester College), Xuezhao Li (Ohio State University), Jihye Yun (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Style Reform and Drama Translation: An Analysis of Two Chinese Translations of Hamlet in the 1920s

Speaker: Xuezhao Li
Role: Paper Presenter
Institution/Affiliation: Ohio State University
Abstract: The history of written Chinese has long been dominated by the May-fourth narrative that frames all forms of Chinese writing into the wenyan/baihua binary structure. Based on the analysis of two translations of Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the 1920s: Tian Han’s translation Hamengleite (Hamlet) (1921) and Shao Ting’s translation Tianchou ji (The Story of an Irreconcilable Feud) (1924), this paper argues that the wenyan/baihua binary structure is inadequate to describe the language situation at the time. The coexistence of multiple language registers has been a long-standing feature of written Chinese. Modern literary translation further amplified the stylistic multiplicity and diversity of Chinese literary writing. This study dives into the translation processes with a focus on how a certain style was formed with the resources drawn from literary conventions, daily speech, and translations of foreign texts. It pays particular attention to how modern written Chinese was Europeanized grammatically through intensive translation practices and thus reveals how drama translation played a role in modern language reform movements.

The application of the metrical grid on Asian poems

Speaker: Jihye Yun
Role: Paper Presenter
Institution/Affiliation: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Abstract: The metrical grid proposed by Fabb & Halle (2008) is a well-formed theory to decode poetic rhythm of English poetry. This paper, however, urges to reconsider applications of metrical gridlines on Asian metrical poems except for Chinese recent style of regulated verse. Fabb & Halle (2008) used their framework to analyze the regulated verse and Vietnamese Ca Dao, but it brought perplexing problems and unsolvable contradictions. First, their iterative rule, also well-known as “feet”, does not reflect tonal patterning meters because Chinese and Vietnamese prosodic patterns are embodied only in a unit of poetic line rather than foot. Second, the position of head (left-headed or right-headed) and the existence of stress (iambic or trochaic) are debatable in the Chinese and Vietnamese metrical poems. Yang (2012), however, buttressed Fabb & Halle (2008)’s analysis on the regulated verse. The result discovered that its feet consist of “2+2+1” when Chinese people chant a penta-syllabic regulated verse. As for a hepta-syllabic one, the foot structure is “2+2+2+1”. In addition, the second character has a longer syllable-length than the first one in foot regardless of tone categories (平平vs. 仄仄). It implies that the metrical grid can be used to illustrate the Chinese verse’s meter. In contrast, the framework cannot be applied to Korean and Japanese traditional poems called Sijo and Haiku. Their prosodic patterns, which are based on pitch-accents, do not correspond to feet Fabb & Halle (2008) suggested.