Thursday, January 31, 2013

'Finnegans Wake' a hot seller in China

The New York Times reports the unexpected news that a new translation of Finnegans Wake into Chinese has become a bestseller.

The BBC has a story on the same phenomena (thanks for the link, Nick Helweg-Larsen).

From the BBC dispatch: "Joyce's Ulysses was warmly received when it was first translated in the mid-1990s.

"But some critics say the latest translation, of a work that has divided critics with its stream of consciousness style and unusual language, has pandered to a superficial demand among some Chinese for high-brow imports."


PQ said...

It was advertised on 16 billboards throughout Shanghai! Imagine that.

A perfectly Joycean image as advertising figures all throughout Ulysses and FW.

michael said...

One source I saw - Raw Story - asserted that the 8000 copies being sold in mainland China in 3 weeks made FW a "hit."

Prof Jian Xiaoyuan, a professor in Shanghai, said Joyce must have been mentally ill to have produced such a novel.

My mind whirls when I think of how translator Dai Congron of Shanghai's Fudan U. accomplished...whatever ever That Thing is in Chinese. It took him 8 years. I wonder about the phenomenological states he went through over those 8 yrs.

Somewhere I think Joyce is pleased, laffing.

Many years ago I made a joke that I was translating FW into Chinese; I thought was funny because absurd and impossible. When I heard a Chinese scholar was at work trying to actually do this, I was stunned. I still am, really.

Here's what I would find extremely interesting: to read the FW scholarship that comes out of readers of the Chinese text, translated back into English.

Levi Edwards said...

Not sure if you saw this on the forum, but I decided to start a Finnegan's Wake Reading Group, if you wanted to take part in that, as it seems you have set up here some reading classes.

Here's the link:

Everyone is welcome to join and provide whatever they wish!