Writing Beyond the Wall: Translation, Cross-cultural Exchange, and Chen Ran's 'A Private Life'
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The paper examines the effects of the omission of a brief parenthetical section of three paragraphs from one chapter of the Chinese edition of A Private Life. Yet, even that small emendation changes the original text as a cultural object and alters potential modes of its reception. In this case, the translation results in a loss of ambiguity, irony, philosophic and rhetorical sophistication while also offering additive potentials that enhance the generation of new meanings in the translingual exchange, here with reference Tiananmen and contemporary feminism in China. The translation process provides new channels for readers, writers and theorists to dialogue and communicate across gaps of difference, despite inhibiting factors like the imposition of local restraints, the universalising pressures of western modernity, and asymmetrical relations of power between guest and host language contexts.
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