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The First “English” Poem Translated into Chinese
|Other Titles:||A Preliminary Study of Giulio Aleni's Shengmeng Ge�|
This paper, in four sections, discusses four related aspects of the Shengmeng ge, a debate poem translated into Chinese by Giulio Aleni in collaboration with Zhang Gen in Fujian in 1637. The first section focuses on the formative stages of the Shengmeng ge and how its antecedents were later transformed into the Royal Debate in Britain, from which were taken the Latin original of the Shengmeng ge, generally known as the Visio Sancti Bernardi, yet written by an unknown British priest at the turn of the twelfth century, and its counterpart in Medieval English. The second section explores the translated text against the Visio Sancti Bernardi and finds that Aleni did translate it "roughly" primarily due to the limitations of Chinese prosody. The Visio Sancti Bernardi is generally supposed to be the most popular debate poem between the body and soul in Medieval Europe, and the Shengmeng ge can be taken as the first rendered and thus transported poem from England into China. The third section considers the reception of the Shengmeng ge in China and focuses on Chinese Christians' response to the translated poem as expressed in their prefaces and epilogues. The Christians' initial responses to this poem were highly influenced by traditional Chinese attitudes toward dreaming. Thus the Chinese topos of "life as a dream" is echoed in those readings of the Shengmeng ge. This notwithstanding, as Christian readers interpreted more closely the translated song, their views changed to more closely approximate Western understandings of the Visio Sancti Bernardi: The poem was composed primarily to reflect the Christian fear of the Last Judgment. The final section returns to the British development of the poetic debate between body and soul. In addition to comparing Chinese and Western dream literatures, this section relocates the Visio Sancti Bernardi in the context of English metaphysical poetry in the seventeenth century, since no translated debate poems other than the Shegmeng ge can be found in imperial China.
|Appears in Collections:||教師著作|
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