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Type: Book chapter
Title: Regarding Lady Precious Stream: a theatrical translation
Author: Jose, R.
Citation: A Century of Chinese Literature in Translation (1919-2019), 2021 / Gerber, L., Qi, L. (ed./s), Ch.5, pp.73-85
Publisher: Routledge
Publisher Place: London, UK
Issue Date: 2021
Series/Report no.: Routledge Advances inTranslation and Interpreting Studies
ISBN: 9780367321291
Editor: Gerber, L.
Qi, L.
Statement of
Nicholas Jose
Abstract: The chapter considers Lady Precious Stream (1934), S. I. Hsiung’s “Chinese play in English,” as a work of literary translation. It investigates how a modern Chinese text (in this case a traditional play as it was performed in Republican China) was successfully adapted for performance, initially on the London stage in the 1930s and then throughout the Anglophone world and beyond, for much of the 20th century. Lady Precious Stream remains unchallenged as “the most globally successful Chinese play.” What is the secret of its success? The chapter argues that the background of the author, Xiong Shiyi (1902–91), as a translator of modern British drama for the Chinese stage, is one factor in sensitizing him to the possibility of adapting a work from one theatrical tradition to the conventions of another: Chinese into English. It also argues that the timing of the work’s appearance in the context of the Sino-Japanese war is relevant to its reception. A case study of its performance history in Australia supports this. An examination of changes from the reading edition to the acting edition shows adaptation in form, verbal texture, characterization and theme. The work’s success in its time is matched by renewed scholarly interest in recent years. The chapter draws on this recent work, bringing insights from translation studies and transcultural literary studies together with biography, literary analysis and reception history to reconsider an exceptional cross-cultural achievement. The argument concludes with the suggestion that the highly effective and still relevant larger theme of Lady Precious Stream is mutual misperception.
Keywords: Chinese drama
Rights: © 2021 selection and editorial matter, Leah Gerber and Lintao Qi; individual chapters, the contributors
DOI: 10.4324/9780429316821-8
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Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 8
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