The literary merit and contribution of Jin Ping Mei have been well acknowledged by scholars in China and elsewhere in the world. However, due to its inclusion of graphically explicit sexual descriptions, Jin Ping Mei has long been on the list of banned books and was considered hard-core pornography by ordinary readers. Similar de-canonization process also found its expression in the novel’s translation into English. This paper re-examines the translational history of Jin Ping Mei by situating the phenomenon in the Anglo-American socio-cultural context of the 20th century. Through scrutiny of the translations from the perspectives of orientalism, translation traditions, the publishing ecosystem, and the politics of reading, this paper uncovers the commodification, vulgarization and politicization of Jin Ping Mei in the Anglophone world. It also attempts a preliminary analysis of the process, mechanism and effect of the novel’s de-canonization. Translation is born into, and is first and foremost in the service of, a target context; as such, interpretation and adaptation of any source text in the translation process would never be solely reliant on the canonical features of the source text.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Journal of Yanshan University|
|Publication status||Published - May 2020|
- Jin Ping Mei
- literary censorship
- target context
- English translation