Exploring the paratexts of Mao Zedong’s “Talks at the Yan’an Conference on Literature and Art” translated by Bonnie Mc Dougall

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Deng Haili


Drawing on Genette’s theory of paratext, the paper explores the paratextual features in Bonnie McDougall’s English translation of Mao Zedong’s seminal work “Talks at the Yan’an Conference on Literature and Art”(the Talks). It is found that the heavily  – annotated paratexts in the translation have performed the following functions: (1) situating the historical context in which the work was first delivered. (2) seeking the aesthetic common ground between the Talks and the theories of literature in the West by comparing the key words and terms in both the original and the translation; (3) tracing the literary origins of the Talks and creating the intertextuality between the paratexts and its main text. Although they sometimes lead to misunderstandings which arise from the translator’s imposed interpretation, these paratexts not only represent the literary framework underlying the Talks, but also provide for the target readers enlightening perspectives and useful reference to understand the Talks. 

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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Chinese Influences on Modern and Contemporary European and American Literature a