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A Comparative Study of the 20th English Renditions of Li Yu’s Shier lou
Yi-ting Ethan Zheng
A Tower for the Summer Heat
Li Yu’s works were very popular during his lifetime; however, he didn’t attract much attention after his death. Owing to his unique behavior, he was unable to receive much positive evaluation of his essays; what’s more, his contemporaries despised him. Not until Sun Kanti praised his novels did Li Yu’s historic position in Chinese literature begin to rephrase. Today, his short stories are regarded as the most amazing literary works during the Qing Dynasty. Since Sir John Francis Davis translated “San-Yu-Lou” into English in 1815, which was the first ever English version of Shier Lou, Li Yu began to be understood by the world. In 1975, Nathan K. Mao created Twelve Towers, the translation book of Shier Lou for the first time, and Patrick Hanan published A Tower for the Summer Heat in 1992. In my thesis, I discuss the differences between these two great English versions of Shier Lou; in addition, I anticipate discovering that translators’ culture may have a great influence on the renditions. Chapter One: Introduction contains the motivation, materials, purposes, and approaches of studies. Chapter Two: Li Yu’s Shier Lou and its renditions provides some basic background introduction, including Li Yu’s era and his writings, evaluation about Li Yu, the literary accomplishment of Shier Lou, and the tracks of translations of Shier Lou as well. Chapter Three: Comparison of different styles of these two translations focuses on titles, contents, notes, and literary forms. Chapter Four: Comparison of different techniques of these two translations discusses the names, the figures, and language charm, the strategies of literature translation, and the way to generate or escape mistranslation as well. Chapter Five: Conclusion. I propose new problems that are worth of further research and conclude that factors such as cultural background and personal ideology are responsible for the dissimilarities in translation between the different versions.
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