Rewriting The Story of the Stone: De-translating David Hawkes for a Chinese-English Bilingual Edition Hongloumeng

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    Abstract

    Although there are already numerous articles published in China dealing with the merits and demerits, theoretical and practical significance of the Hawkes­Minford translation of Hongloumeng, few of them really trace back to the early stage of the translator’s work, namely how David Hawkes came up with his own edition. Hawkes did not follow any one of the extant editions only, and his spadework of constituting the original text before the actual translation is indeed a unique case which has rarely been seen elsewhere and worthy of further analyzing. When I was entrusted with the task of collating and editing a bilingual edition for the HawkesMinford translation in 2009, I had to retrace the steps of the translator, the steps which have in many cases not been recorded in any way. The major part of my responsibility is to reconstruct the Chinese text based on the English translation, i.e., to reveal what exactly is the base text of his translation, the process of which I call “de­translating” here in the sense that it is exactly the opposite of what David Hawkes did more than forty years ago. The process of reconstructing Hawkes’ original base text demonstrates clearly that editing is, after all, a kind of rewriting, and also as endless a process as other forms of interpretation or commentary.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-26
    JournalTranslation Quarterly
    Volume103
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2022

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