Literature in the service of cultural diplomacy: patronage and the circulation of Chinese literature

  • Qi, Rick (Primary Chief Investigator (PCI))

Project: Research

Project Description

Literature has long been used as an important instrument to improve cultural literary, particularly in translation. Chinese literature has exerted great influence on its Asian neighbours in history, and has also entered the Anglophone world at a considerable scale, particularly in the 20th century. This project will approach the topic of "literature in the service of cultural literary" from the theoretical perspective of "patronage" as proposed by Andre Levefere.

It proposes to examine two sub-areas: 1. circulation of classical Chinese literature in the other Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia; 2. circulation of Chinese literary works in English language in the 20th century (English translations published in China and those produced in the Anglophone world). It will produce a list of such works, and also identify through various paratexts the various patrons, such as scholars, diplomats, missionaries, and governments.

Aim of research project:
The proposed research project aims at firstly coming up with a database of the circulated Chinese literary works in Asian languages and English, based on the Asian collections and general collections of NLA. The list of this kind will not be exhaustive, but it is sufficient to a panoramic view of the area of research to be achieved.

It will then examine the various paratexts, such as prefaces, archives, and possibly reports in newspapers and journals, to identify the patrons of such circulation. Most notably, the research expects to produce a separate list of Chinese government sponsored translations of literary works (1949-2018). Since 1949, political patronage has become a very important factor for the circulation of Chinese literature in English, and its influence is becoming even more visible today, as the Chinese government has considered it as integral part of its "One Belt, One Road" initiative.
Short titleliterature in the service of cultural diplomacy
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date7/01/194/02/19