Translational Cannibalism: On Howard Goldblatt’s Translations of Mo Yan

2015-2016 School of Chinese Research Student Seminar

Translational Cannibalism:
On Howard Goldblatt’s Translations of Mo Yan

Ms Ma Anting 馬桉珽女士

Date and Time: May 3, 2016 (Tuesday); 5:30-6:45pm
Venue: Room 730, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU
Language: English

Following Oswald de Andrade’s proposals and manifestos, the Brazilian intellectuals Augusto and Haroldo de Campos propose “cannibalism” as a strikingly original metaphor for translation and translation studies that revisits the imbalance of power and strives to redeem cultural identity in the postcolonial context. Redefined by the Campos brothers, cannibalism is drastically restricted to an original philosophy that devours foreign discourses and understands the nation’s aesthetically valuable cultural production in its dialogical relationship with the universal. On the other hand, cannibalism has been closely associated with an inhumane and uncivilized activity in the Chinese scenario. Starting with another look at the Chinese novelist Mo Yan and Howard Goldblatt’s translations in particular, I will discuss how the idea of cannibalism is dealt with by means of both a continuation and a variation of the cultural definition in both Brazilian and Chinese terms. In rethinking the crucial significance of “translational cannibalism”, the main question to be addressed in my presentation is that of the ways in which Howard Goldblatt’s translations of Nobel Literature laureate Mo Yan is critically re-evaluated.