TRANSLATING STYLES: OXEN OF THE SUN IN CHINESE

Open Access
Author:
Poon, Wing Yan
Area of Honors:
Comparative Literature
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Thomas Oliver Beebee, Thesis Supervisor
  • Sydney Sue Aboul Hosn, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • translation
  • ulysses
  • oxen of the sun
  • james joyce
  • style
  • chinese
Abstract:
This project looks at the curious case of the translations of James Joyce’s “Oxen of the Sun” episode in Ulysses done by two Chinese translators. In this episode, Joyce claimed in his correspondence to have imitated the process of gestation. The action takes place at a maternity hospital where characters such as Stephen Dedalas, Leopold Bloom and their friends gather, drink and discuss issues relating to fecundity and abortion. The episode is unique due to Joyce’s parodying of prose styles in the literary history of English literature, from Anglo-Saxon, through Milton, Defoe, De Quincey, etc.; the chapter ends with a “frightful jumble of pidgin English, nigger English, Cockney, Irish, Bowery slang and broken doggerel.” Both Chinese translators, Jin Di and Xiao Qian, undertook the tremendous task of translating this “encyclopedia of styles.” Under what circumstances is it possible to translate stylistic elements of a text? What does the translation of styles mean to both translation and literary practices? These are the question that I attempt to answer by comparing the two Chinese translations with the original Oxonian chapter.