Translating Early-Twentieth Century Populism and the Global Imaginary Through “The Bitter Student” (81211)

Session Information: Literature/Literary Studies
Session Chair: Yi-Chin Shih

Monday, 27 May 2024 11:30
Session: Session 2
Room: Room C (Live-Stream)
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 9 (Asia/Tokyo)

The source materials for this paper comes from a Wenzhou-Kean University research group’s attempt to create the first published translations of early literary representations of North America, and Overseas Chinese by Qing-dynasty authors. This paper looks at the challenges of translating late-Qing fiction with a focus on the anonymous novel, _The Bitter Student_ (_Ku Xuesheng_), and its relevance to the 1905 Chinese Boycott of US goods, the renewal of the US Chinese Exclusion Act, and the reform movement in China during the first decade of the twentieth century. _Ku Xuesheng_ represents an early iteration of populist literature written using vernacular language before the May Fourth Movement and provides a political allegory to motivate readers to participate in the reform movement. It is a novel about an Overseas Chinese private student who while in the US struggles against racism as well as the Qing dynasty officials. The paper looks at the challenge of translating the novel into modern English both in terms of finding correspondences for a highly contextual vocabulary as well as while preserving allegorical meanings. The paper argues that the translation of this novel is important for American Studies scholars to better understand the global dimensions of national literatures. This paper contributes to the studies of late-Qing literature, globalization of the novel, constructions of the vernacular in literature, and cultures of the transpacific in the early twentieth century. This project is in conjunction with a SPF Grant at Wenzhou University on Exclusion Act Literature.

James McDougall, Wenzhou-Kean University, China

About the Presenter(s)
James I. McDougall is an Associate Professor of language and literature at Wenzhou-Kean University, in Zhejiang, China.

See this presentation on the full scheduleMonday Schedule

Conference Comments & Feedback

Place a comment using your LinkedIn profile


Share on activity feed

Powered by WP LinkPress

Share this Presentation

Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00