Chapter One Introduction
1.1 Research background
In the sixties of last century, Reception Aesthetics, a new literary theory, appeared, with HansRobert Jauss and Wolfgang Iser as its main spokesmen. Reception Aesthetics, a newmethodology, germinates from Hermeneutics and Phenomenology. This theory has been appliedto literary translation almost as soon as it appears. In the light of Reception Aesthetics, thetranslator, who is both the reader of the source text and the creator of the target text, is anessential element in achieving the aesthetic value of literary works. Coupled with their owncultural background and aesthetic experience, translators’ participation makes the process oftranslating truly dynamic, which means that they can not be measured by any absolute principle.
Because its focus shifts from author-centered theory and text-centered theory toreader-centered theory, Reception Aesthetics becomes a newly literary research framework. In ashort period of more than ten years, it has developed into a worldwide aesthetic theory.According to Chen (2009), Reception Aesthetics was applied in translation studies in the West inthe late 1970s. Since George Steiner described the translation model of hermeneutics in detail in1975, Reception Aesthetics has become a vital aspect of contemporary translation studies.
The Jade King is a painstaking novel created by Huo Da, a female writer of the Huinationality in China. With unique perspective and perception, the novel outlines the vicissitudeof a Muslim family over the past 60 years, the ups and downs of the fate of three generations,and three love tragedies that occur in different times with different contents but are intertwined.The Jade King macroscopically reviews the long and rough path of Chinese Muslims in historywith sincere emotion and profound connotation, and reveals their unique psychology in thecollision and integration of culture of the Han nationality and the Hui nationality and theirpursuit of the true meaning of life in the atmosphere of politics and religion.
1.2 Purpose and significance of the research
This thesis takes the folklore culture in the English translation of The Jade King as the researchobject. According to the statistics from 2006 to 2019, there are 27 master’s theses on this novel,mainly from the perspective of narratology, conceptual metaphor theory, style rhetoric, the Huinationality culture, rhetorical feature, the conversion of the wheel, literary style, manipulationrewriting, cultural translation theory, emotion metaphor, narrative rhetoric analysis, pragmatics,complex adaptive system, interpretive anthropology and so on. This paper finds a new approachto study the translation of folklore culture in The Jade King, namely, Reception Aesthetics. It hastwo purposes: (1) to help target language readers deepen their understanding of folklore culturein this novel; (2) to provide a new perspective for other translators to translate or study folkloreculture, so as to further promote and disseminate Chinese culture.
In recent years, much attention has been paid to the translation of Chinese culture, butnot enough attention has been paid to the translation of Chinese folklore culture. Folklore cultureis not only an essential part of Chinese culture, but also the crystallization of the wisdom of theChinese nation. Under the background of reform and opening up and the enhancement ofnational cultural soft power, the translation of Chinese folklore culture is being regarded as asignificant means of external publicity. Duan (2014) reckons that it is not easy to accuratelytranslate rich and excellent cultural connotations, requiring translators to have a certainunderstanding of cultural connotation and to choose appropriate translation methods to analyze the source text in the light of translation purposes and requirements of target language readers, soas to ensure that the translation can not only occupy a great position in cross-culturalcommunication, but also play a role of disseminating excellent Chinese culture and carrying outthe mission of “Chinese culture going out,” because the translation of folklore culture is anessential way to show Chinese national culture and its charm to foreign readers. Besides,reader-centered reception aesthetics not only provides a new perspective for literary translation,but also makes the translation satisfy target language readers’ aesthetic taste and horizon ofexpectation, and accord with their logical thinking and language expression habits under itsguidance, making the translation be fully understood and widely accepted, and reducing thecultural conflicts between the translation and readers’ cognition.
Chapter Two Literature Review
2.1 Folklore culture and studies on its translation
Folklore culture is a custom created and practiced by the common people of all nationalities andis handed down from generation to generation, and it is a collection of a variety of popularcultures. Showing a number of social customs and codes of conduct, folklore culture is producedin social practice, which is used to guide, standardize, regulate and serve people’s production,life and activity, and to meet people’s diversified needs of social life. What’s more, thetranslation of folklore culture has been studied both at home and abroad. Relevant Western worksmainly analyze the translation of folklore culture from different angles, while domestic studieson folklore culture mainly focus on translation strategies and principles of cultural words.
2.1.1 Folklore culture
Folklore culture comprises a lot of things, and it is almost impossible to be simply defined.Folklore culture is not only the research content of folklorists, but also the name of the disciplinethat they are engaged in. Folklore culture consists of folk songs, legends, jokes... It is presentedin a great number of informal communication, such as oral and written texts, behaviors, rituals orphysical objects. Sims & Stephens (2005) believes that folklore culture relates to values,traditions, ways of thinking and ways of behavior. And it is not only about art but also aboutpeople and the way they learn.
2.2 Studies on The Jade King -- History of a Chinese Muslim Family
Throughout the long historical process of China, various ethnic groups have created a largenumber of excellent literary works in different periods. Ma, Liang & Zhang (1992) argue thatthese works, featured by special ethnic style and temperament of diverse nationalities, show theirunique artistic charm and enrich the treasure house of Chinese literature. The Jade King, amasterpiece of the Hui culture, is also the case. This novel won Mao Dun Literature Award in1991. Since its publication, its foreign language translations have appeared one after another,such as English, French, Arabic, Urdu and other languages. From 1988 to 2011, this masterpiecehas been printed more than 1.8 million copies, according to Beijing Publishing Group. Theastonishing figure proves once again that this novel is deeply loved by numerous readers at homeand abroad, and it is an excellent contemporary literary piece that can stand the test of time.
This novel describes the vicissitudes of a Muslim family from 1919 to 1979, the ups anddowns of the fate of three generations, and three love tragedies that occur in different times butintertwine with religious belief and real life, traditional culture and modern culture, and thebeauty of human nature and value, reflecting that in the long historical process, the Huinationality not only maintains its Arab cultural origin, but also permeates and integrates with theHan culture. Specifically, the novel takes the rise and fall of the jade workshop Rare Gem Studioas the main line, starting with Liang Yiqing, the honest jade carver. He supported his family withhis hands. The shrewd and cunning Pu Shouchang made a contract with Liang: within three years,Liang should complete “Zheng He on the High Seas” with jade, and if something went wrong, hewould make a compensation. Liang agreed because Zheng He was his Hui compatriot. But whenthe work was nearing completion, he died because of overwork with broken work. Pu took allvaluable things away from the Liang family. The eldest daughter, Liang Junbi (Ms. Han or JadeGirl), led her mother and sister Liang Bingyu to sell tea to make ends meet. Three years later,Junbi married her father’s apprentice Han Ziqi (Ibrahim) and gave birth to a son Han Tianxing.After going through numerous difficulties, the two finally revitalized the Rare Gem Studio.While Mr. Han enjoyed fame in Beijing, the war came. He had to go to London to preserve hiscollection of jade. During his ten years abroad, he not only succeeded in his career with the helpof Hunter, but also had a daughter, Han Xinyue (New Moon), with Bingyu. When he returned tothe Rare Gem Studio with his daughter and Bingyu, the studio had closed down in the war andTianxing had grown into his teens. After learning of his affair with Bingyu, Junbi was furious.Finally, Bingyu ran away from home, and there was an irreparable crack between Han Ziqi andJunbi. Tianxing and New Moon lived in a new environment and had beautiful ideals for life andlove, but they eventually led a miserable life under Junbi’s persecution and planning.
Chapter Three Reception Aesthetics.......................................18
3.1 Representatives and their main theories of Reception Aesthetics........................... 18
3.1.1 Jauss and horizon of expectation..........................................18
3.1.2 Iser and response-inviting structure of text................................20
Chapter Four Translation of Folklore Culture in The Jade King -- History of aChinese Muslim Family.............. 27
4.1 Folklore culture in The Jade King -- History of a Chinese Muslim Family................................27
4.1.1 Jade culture.............................28
4.1.2 Religious culture.....................................28
Chapter Five Conclusion...................................... 57
5.1 Major findings..................................... 57
5.2 Limitations for current research........................................58
Chapter Four Translation of Folklore Culture inThe Jade King -- History of a Chinese MuslimFamily
4.1 Folklore culture in The Jade King -- History of a Chinese Muslim Family
The Jade King, created by Huo Da, indicates her in-depth comprehension of the culture andcustoms of the Hui nationality, her good command of jade industry, and her abundant knowledgeof the identification of jade wares. Moreover, a host of paragraphs are used to present the Huipeople’s daily habits, especially weddings and funerals. Obviously, translating folklore culture isa sort of communication between two cultures with different social background and culturaltradition, which is an “unconventional dialogue.” Because The Jade King is full of descriptionsof Muslim culture, and literary works with folklore culture have become one of the most vitalwindows for foreign readers to know more about China, it is essential to do more research on theChinese-English translation of folklore novels. Guided by Reception Aesthetics, the thesis willanalyze the translation of folklore culture in The Jade King and expound it in: jade culture,religious culture and etiquette culture.
4.1.1 Jade culture
As mentioned above, Huo Da comes from a family with a jade industry, and she has specialfeelings for jade. In The Jade King, Huo Da takes the Liangs, a family making a living bycarving jade wares, as the storyline, and “moon” and “jade” are two clues to move the plotforward. Besides, the image of jade pervades the whole novel. In the novel, Huo Da interweavestraditional Chinese culture and Islamic culture into a complete and complex plot clue, makingthe plot develop with unique charm.
The legendary story of the Hui people distinguishing jade confirms the important role ofjade in the survival and livelihood of the Hui people, including their ancestors. For the Huipeople, jade history is a kind of pride, a kind of emotional attachment to their own nation, a kindof identity, and a deep nostalgia for their ancestral culture. In this novel, we can see the variousstories of Muslims and jade and their reverence for jade. It can be said that in the exchange andintegration of traditional Chinese culture in the collision, the Hui nationality has formed its ownunique history and culture of jade. In particular, the protagonist in this novel, Han Ziqi and LiangYiqing, their ardent love and fascination with jade has been integrated with their beliefs. As faras they are concerned, jade is not a simple symbol of wealth or status, but more importantly, akind of ethnic spirit, piety to faith, and nostalgia for ancestors.
Chapter Five Conclusion
5.1 Major findings
It can be found that Reception Aesthetics has a strong explanatory power and guidingsignificance for the theory and practice of literary translation. The combination of ReceptionAesthetics and translation can help translators better grasp the essence and aesthetic value ofliterature and master literary translation strategies.
First, Reception Aesthetics is originally a theory of literary criticism, which focuses onthe relationship between texts and readers. In the field of translatology, it is also applicable andprovides a new perspective for translation studies.
Second, in the translation process, target language readers’ role is active and important.They are both judges and feeders of the value of the final translation and objects that translators need to serve. Translators should not limit their attention to the speculation and analysis of thesource text, but must also take into account the cognitive level, psychology and needs of targetlanguage readers in order to ensure the understandability and acceptability of the translation.
Third, target language readers’ horizon of expectation determines that translators mustgive full play to the creativity of the subject in the process of translation. On the one hand, targetlanguage readers hope to see the translation in line with their way of thinking and expressionhabits, and generate a sense of familiarity; On the other hand, they look forward to experiencingexotic feelings and learning curiously about the strange and novel cultures they encounter. Inorder to meet readers’ aesthetic needs, translators need to get rid of the shackles of the sourcetext and give full play to their subjective initiative to be flexible.