Some MIIS T&I professors have been busy lately. Professor John Balcom has two new literary translations from Chinese on the shelf and Professor Anthony Pym has recently published a revised and extended meditation on translator ethics:
Stone Cell and Trees Without Wind
John Balcom has translated and published more than a dozen books into English from Chinese. He is Associate Professor and Chinese Program Head at the Monterey Institute, and current president of ALTA. Balcom’s recent publications include Stone Cell by Lo Fu and Trees Without Wind by Li Rui. Other publications from Balcom Taiwan’s Indigenous Writers: An Anthology of Stories, Essays, and Poems, which received the 2006 Northern California Book Award.
Lo Fu, the author of Stone Cell , is the pen name of Mo Luofu, born in China in 1928. He joined the military during the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) and moved to Taiwan in 1949. While stationed in southern Taiwan in 1954, he founded the Epoch Poetry Society with Zhang Mo and Ya Xian. He immigrated to Vancouver in 1996, where he still lives.
Born in Beijing in 1950, the experimental writer Li Rui, the author of Trees Without Wind, came of age in the thick of the Cultural Revolution. His experiences shaped not only his perception of China’s unraveling but also his novelistic style. Combining the stylistic innovations of Modernist literature, particularly a Faulknerian play with dialogue and form, and content and language drawn from rural China, Li Rui’s writing captures the harsh reality of a world turned upside down by ideological conflict.
A companion volume to Lo Fu’s book-length poem, “Driftwood”, Stone Cell compiles writing from every decade of his celebrated literary career. Lo Fu is the author of twelve volumes of poetry. He has won all the major literary awards in Taiwan, including the China Times Literary Award and the National Literary Award. Lo Fu’s previous book, Driftwood, was noted as one of the ‘poetry books of the year’ on the Poetry Foundation’s blog, “Harriet.”
Trees Without Wind
Unfolding in the tense years of the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976), Trees Without Wind takes place in a remote Shanxi village in which a rare affliction has left the residents physically stunted. Director Liu, an older revolutionary and local commune head, becomes embroiled in a power struggle with Zhang Weiguo, a young ideologue who believes he is the model of a true revolutionary. Complicating matters is a woman named Nuanyu, who, like Zhang Weiguo and Director Liu, is an outsider untouched by the village’s disease. “Wedded” to all of the male villagers, Nuanyu lives a polygamous lifestyle that is based on necessity and at odds with the puritanical idealism of the Cultural Revolution. The deformed villagers, representing the manipulated masses of China, become pawns in the Party representatives’ factional infighting. Director Liu and Zhang Weiguo’s explosive tug of war is part of a larger battle among politics, self-interest, and passion gripping a world undone by ideological extremism. A collectively-told narrative powered by distinctive subjectivities, Trees Without Wind is a milestone in the fictional treatment of this historical event.
Anthony Pym–On Translator Ethics: Principles for Mediation Between Cultures
This is about people, not texts – a translator ethics seeks to embrace the intercultural identity of the translatory subject, in its full array of possible actions. Based on seminars originally given at the Collège International de Philosophie in Paris, this translation from French has been fully revised by the author and extended to include critical commentaries on activist translation theory, non-professional translation, interventionist practices, and the impact of new translation technologies. The result takes the traditional discussion of ethics into the way mediators can actively create cooperation between cultures, while at the same time addressing very practical questions such as when one should translate or not translate, how much translators should charge, or whose side they should be on. On Translator Ethics offers a point of reference for the key debates in contemporary Translation Studies.