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13:30-15:30, May 16 (Saturday)

Session 2. Translations of Time

Pu Wang (New York University) “Lu Xun and the Re-periodization of the Present: From the Prose Poem ‘Hope’ to the Polemic of ‘Hard Translation’”
Son Sung-Jun (Sungkyunkwan University) “Translation, and Creation of Originality: The aspect and the character of adoption in East Asia regarding The biography of Madame Roland
Yoichi Isahaya (The University of Tokyo) “Migrating Time: The Transition of Time Conceptions by the Mongols across Thirteenth Century Eurasia”

Moderator: Wu Yan (The University of Tokyo)


“Lu Xun and the Re-periodization of the Present: From the Prose Poem ‘Hope’ to the Polemic of ‘Hard Translation’”
Pu Wang (Comparative Literature, New York University)

Lu Xun’s prose-poem “Hope”, written in 1925, not only took on a temporality defined by repeated revolution and “youth”, but also contained a latent motif of periodization. His final periodizing drive, then, consisted in the “flinging” of oneself into the “vain” present. In this light, the years from this prose-poem to the polemic concerning his “hard translation” of Marxist-Soviet theories illustrated the “parabola” of his “flinging,” and thereby should be viewed as a crisis of periodization which anticipated the development of the so-called “late” Lu Xun against the backdrop of a deeply troubled, tumultuous period. Lu Xun’s defense of his “hard translation” marked a re-politicization of the present at the turn of the 1930s. The issue of faithfulness to the original texts was beside question. The true move Lu Xun undertook in his vehement counter-attack was to allegorize his labor of translation into “fidelity” to the “cracking-open” present, penetrated by the radical truth represented by the emerging leftist movement. If “Hope” reveals the historicizing force of subjective “flinging,” the “Hard Translation” essay, written in the same month when he decided to join the Chinese Leftist Writers’ League, indicates the culmination of this reopening-up and its “petrification” and “structuration” of the present. It was no mere accident that Lu Xun’s re-periodization coincided with Mao Zedong’s essays dealing with the periodization of Chinese Revolution. If Mao Zedong’s analysis entails a perspective of objective totality of history, Lu Xun’s periodization makes manifest the dimension of radical re-subjectification. Seen from Badiou’s early theory of periodization and subject, this re-peoridization, intertwining the political with the poetic, involves both re-historicizing and re-structuring. Therefore, Lu Xun’s present was on the one hand encoded with the avant-garde syntax of “flinging” into the process of subjectification, and on the other hand, determined a “vanguard” political identification.

“Translation, and Creation of Originality: The aspect and the character of adoption in East Asia regarding The biography of Madame Roland”
Son Sung-Jun (Sungkyunkwan University)

This study analyzes how the biography of Madame Roland, a lady from the period of French Revolution, was changed through the space of translation of Japan-China-Korea connection.
The literature which became the matrix of The biography of Madame Roland from the three East Asian countries was The Queens of Society (1860), co-authored by Grace Wharton and Philip Wharton of England. The writing of Wharton concerning the time of French Revolution was based on the conservative revolutionary idea of Girondins which the Madame Roland belonged to and considered the Jacobins, represented by Robespierre, as a villain lusting after human blood.
The first country which accepted the biography of the Madame Roland in East Asia was Japan, and the translator was Tsubouchi Shoyo (坪内逍遥). The time Shoyo’s translation took place was immediately after the downfall of Freedom and People’s Rights Movement (自由民権運動) which showed similar phase to the background of the French Revolution, and it’s problematic that Shoyo chose the literature containing conservative idea of the French Revolution.
Liang QiChao (梁啓超) translated The biography of Madame Roland in 1902. From the point where the contents of the original story ends, the author emphasized the caution that the case of France which shed much blood would never happen in China, by adding his assertion.
It was 1907, when The biography of Madame Roland by Liang QiChao was first introduced into Korean translation. In the part which was Korean own addition, however, not like the Liang QiChao’s additional part dealing with fear and caution about the revolution, it rather inserted encouragement and hope that ‘we too could gain the product of the revolution’. Ultimately, the Korean addition brought about an effect that newly defined the overall characteristics of The biography of Madame Roland.
Though these texts are connected as the original and the translations, the resulting identity wasn’t guaranteed. Even it is one historical event or individual, though, the different translation spaces such as Korea, China and Japan, required different contexts respectively. The core of the study of translation at this period lies not on recognizing whether it was a literal or free translation, but on discovering how and in what way the intervention of translators produces a new originality of translation in particularity of translation space.

“Migrating Time: The Transition of Time Conceptions by the Mongols across Thirteenth Century Eurasia”
Yoichi Isahaya (The University of Tokyo)

Human beings are likely to perceive time as both linear and circular by nature. Since ancient times, various ways of reckoning time, either linear or circular, have been devised. By means of dividing circular time, calendars were made. On the other hand, several systems were created for measuring linear time. In addition, different people have different systems of time division. Before the modern era, in which the conception of time was appropriated by the west with its Christian worldview, one who experienced some ways of treating time in different places must perceived time as plural.
This presentation begins by surveying how time has been treated in China and in the Muslim world. In China, as is well known, time was attracted the Chinese imperial rulers and calendar-making was rigidly controlled by the successive Chinese dynasties. Ideally, when one ruling dynasty was replaced by another, all former institutions had to be reformed. One of the most significant reforms was that of the calendar. On the other hand, in the Muslim world, we find a close connection between time and religion, namely Islam. In daily life, ritual prayers, which are performed five times a day, play an important part in the perception of time. The magnification of the “Islamic world” ran parallel with that of the areas where adhan (call to prayer) sounded.
Next, we look at the time conception of the Mongols, whose vast empire crossed Eurasia in the thirteenth century. After integrating the Chinese notion of time, following their conquest of China, the Mongols penetrated into the Muslim world, where the notion of time was quite different. The question is, did the Mongols adapt themselves to the circumstances of each “civilization”? The situation was not so simple. The main focus of this presentation is the reaction of the Mongols when they faced these different ways of dividing time that were unfamiliar to them. We also notice the transformation in the account that other people gave to their connection with time. While time itself is general for all human beings, its measurement and indeed its notion vary in each culture. In this process of “migrating time”, which elements of time did the Mongols abandon, preserve and acquire? Through this analysis, we reconsider the very idea of the indigenousness of “civilizations”.

© UTCP Graduate Student Conference Committee, 2009.