Date: Wed 23 October, 2pm-4pm
Location: KU Leuven Campus Brussel, Van Genechtenzaal (6303, Hermes 3 Building)

Participation is free, but please register by e-mail to Ernest DeClerck.

This lecture takes a thematic approach to the literary journey of Proust’s work made to China and back by means of translation, reception, and the creation of a world literary constellation. I will first outline the drastically changing political and sociological factors behind the translation and reception of Proust’s work in twentieth-and-twenty-first-century China. Two issues will be of special focus: the evolving (re)translation of Proust’s sexual discourses into Chinese and the increasing visual elements (e.g. photos, artistic illustrations, and comic book adaptation) in the new Chinese translations of Proust’s work, as well as its popular and kitsch reception in contemporary Chinese cultural productions (e.g. TV soaps). This, then, leads us to three mainland Chinese writers’ literary engagement with Proust via such translation and reception. Finally, I will briefly compare Proust’s La Recherche with Le Dit de Tianyi (1998) by the francophone Chinese diasporic writer François Cheng in France, and argue how such a comparative prism, informed by “cultural translation”, allows us to perceive a transcultural constellation that highlights the dynamics of circulation, confluence, and canon-formation in world literary studies.

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