Translation, Re – creation, and Sinicization: Reception of Little Red Riding Hood in Modern China from the Perspective of the Variation Theory

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Zhao Weirong


The classic European fairy tale, Little Red Riding Hood (LRRH), was first translated into Chinese in 1909. Over the next half – century, several Chinese translations and a series of adaptations emerged, bearing both the original story and some local characteristics, namely Confucian ethics, enlightenment thoughts, and the wartime atmosphere. Using the Variation Theory of Comparative Literature, this paper reviews the history of the translations and adaptations of LRRH in China, and analyses the variations that occurred during the process. We argue that the reception of Western fairy tales in modern China is not a simple transformation on the linguistic level but a re – creation, based on a specific historical context, traditional culture, and practical needs. The reception of Western fairy tales is closely related to the development of Chinese literature in general and Chinese children’s literature in particular in modern China. Our research shows that the history of how LRRH has been received in China reflects the process by which China has borrowed from Western literature and assimilated the exotic elements into its own literature and culture.

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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Mutual Learning among Civilizations through Comparative Literature