1st Edition

The Role of Henri Borel in Chinese Translation History

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after December 29, 2020
ISBN 9780367425524
December 29, 2020 Forthcoming by Routledge
208 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations

USD $160.00

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Book Description

Against the historical background of Chinese translation in the West and the emergence of several prominent European translators of China, this book examines the role of a translator in terms of cross-cultural communication, the image of the foreign culture in the minds of the target audience, and the influence of their translations on the target culture.

With the focus on the career and output of the Dutch translator Henri Borel (1869–1933), this study investigates different aspects of the role of translator. The investigation is carried out by analysing texts and probing the achievements and contributions of the translator, underpinned by documents from the National Archives and the Literature Museum in the Hague, the Netherlands. Based on the findings derived from this study, advice is offered to those now involved in the promotion and translation of Chinese culture and literature. It will make an important contribution to the burgeoning history of Chinese translation.

This book will be of interest to anyone with an interest or background in the translation history of China, the history of sinology in the West and the role of translators.

Table of Contents




List of Figures


Biographical Note

Biographical Timeline


Part I: Chinese Translation History

Chapter 1: Chinese Literature in the West

1.1 Up to 1699

1.2 Eighteenth Century

1.3 Nineteenth Century


Chapter 2: Prominent Historical Translators in Europe

2.1 Missionaries

2.2 Merchants and Diplomats

2.3 Scholars


Part II: The Translator as Cultural Mediator

Chapter 3: A Translator of Philosophy

3.1 Educative and Inspiring: Confucius and Laozi

3.2 The Chinese Way: The Spirit of China

3.3 Undoing Old Prejudices: The Mencius


Chapter 4: A Translator of Literature

4.1 Foreignizing Wonders Old and New

4.2 Sinicizing Strange Stories from the Liaozhai


Part III: The Translator as Creator

Chapter 5: The Travel Writer

5.1 Self versus Other: Wisdom and Beauty from China

5.2 A Poetic Vision: Daybreak in the East

5.3 Idealizing China: The Beautiful Island


Chapter 6: The Writer-Translator

6.1 Negotiating between Cultures: "Kwan Yin" and "Chinese Hell"

6.2 Rewriting Daoist Stories: Of Life and Death 


Part IV: The Translator as Communicator

Chapter 7: The Diplomat

7.1 The Role of a Chinese Interpreter

7.2 Issues of Belonging: Wisdom and Beauty from the Indies


Chapter 8: The Expert

8.1 Expertise and Research

8.2 Expertise and Poethood

8.3 Expertise and Critique






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Audrey Heijns received her Ph.D. from Leiden University, and is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Foreign Languages, Shenzhen University. Her research interests include the history of early Dutch sinologists and nineteenth-century Chinese bilingual dictionaries. Her articles have been published in academic journals including Perspectives, Translation and Interpreting Studies and International Journal for Lexicography. She also translates Chinese literature into Dutch and English and is the editor of the online database Verretaal Chinese Literature in Dutch Translation.