Between Rigor and Reverence. Yu Dafu and His Views on Translation
Despite his prominence in modern Chinese literature and the significant role played by translation in his literary career, Yu Dafu’s (1896-1945) activity as a translation theorist and practitioner remains largely unexplored. Yu translated into Chinese a number of short stories, treatises, and poems by such authors as Wilde, Twain, Sinclair, Nietzsche, and Rousseau; he also devoted several essays to the issue of translation and its practice. Through an analysis of Yu’s theoretical writings, I aim to provide a brief account of his reflections on the subjectivity of the translator, the principles of a desirable translating practice, the relation between translation and original writing, and the cultural significance of translation. By doing so, I wish to highlight the seminal role played by such a reflection in Yu’s artistic career, as well as the specificity of his contribution within the intellectual debate on translation in his time.