Displaying a vignette of literatures belonging to three different periods, this presentation explores the use of the Chinese written character within English and French literature. Writing in the late nineteenth century, James Legge, a sinologist and the first don of Chinese at Oxford University, composes an influential and popular English translation of Chinese poetry. In the twentieth century, the Modernist poet Ezra Pound introduces Chinese characters into the English poetic corpus through his use of Chinese characters in his magnum opus The Cantos. Writing in the twenty-first century, Julia Kristeva continues this tradition of integrating written Chinese into European literature through the character 无限[Wú Xiàn, The Infinite) in her novel Murder In Byzantium. While belonging to their respective time periods and intellectual disciplines, these authors’ use of written Chinese in literature is a common theme that bridges the cultural and temporal gulf that exits among these writers. Within the context of George Steiner’s four folds of hermeneutic motion, this paper will analyze the juxtaposition of the English and the Chinese languages in the writings of these authors. If the nineteenth century is an age of Orientalism, and the twentieth century is an age of Aggression and Incorporation, then the twenty-first century may become an age of Restitution. In this new era, European literature containing multiple languages will perform an act of restitution balancing the aggression and misconceptions of the previous generations.
|Keywords:||East West Comparative Hermeneutics, Translation Studies, Modernism, Chinese, East Asian Studies, Literature, English, Comparative Literature, Humanities|
Master of Arts Graduate Student, Department of English, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, USA
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