From 1895 to 1915, Chinese translations of Dickens's fiction first appeared as part of a growing interest in Western literature and culture among Chinese intellectuals. Klaudia Hiu Yen investigates the multifarious ways in which Dickens’s works were adapted, reconfigured, and transformed for the Chinese readership against the turbulent political and social conditions in the last stages of the Qing dynasty (1644-1912) and the early Republic (1912-1949). Moving beyond the 'Response to the West’ model which often characterises East-West interactions, Lee explores how Chinese intellectuals viewed Dickens’s novels as performing a particular social function; on occasion, they were used to advance the country’s social and political causes. Translation and adaptation became a means through which the politics and social values of the original Dickens texts were undermined or even subverted. Situating the early introduction of Dickens to China within the broader field of Victorian studies, Lee challenges some of the theoretical and conceptual underpinnings of the ’global’ turn, both in Dickens scholarship and in Victorian studies in general.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Early Introduction of Charles Dickens in China
Chapter One: Cross-cultural Reconfiguration of Spatiality: The Case of Little Dorrit
Chapter Two: Beyond the Self: David Copperfield and Autobiography
Chapter Three: A New Journey: Morality, Religion and The Old Curiosity Shop
Chapter Four: Reading and Reframing: History, Politics and A Tale of Two Cities
Klaudia Hiu Yen Lee is Assistant Professor of English at the City University of Hong Kong.