Dr. Lintao (Rick) Qi has been awarded an Australian Academy of Humanities Travelling Fellowship to pursue his research in Japan.
Rick's project, Jin Ping Mei in Japan: Translations, Adaptations, and Circulations, follows on from his PhD research on the English translations of Jin Ping Mei (published in May by Routledge).
“While my PhD was on the English translations of the classic Chinese novel Jin Ping Mei, this project looks at the novel's translation, adaptation and circulation in Japan. My long-term ambition is to construct a transnational history of Jin Ping Mei into all major languages of the world, and on that basis, examine the similarity and/or discrepancies between the trajectories of literary migration of the novel into different languages/cultures at different historical moments,” said Rick.
Acclaimed as the ‘No.1 Marvellous Book’ of the Ming dynasty, Jin Ping Mei – a sixteenth century classic Chinese novel – was banned soon after its appearance, due to the inclusion of graphically explicit sexual descriptions. Still banned in China, this never stopped its circulation (albeit clandestinely) either in China or elsewhere in the world. Japan is among the first countries into which the novel was introduced (and translated), and indeed it has the best-preserved versions of this novel, prompting Chinese publishers and researchers to turn to Japan to find the most authoritative text.
“No translation is an innocent act. The whole process of translation is imbued with rich implications: the choice of which version to translate – given the fluidity and plurality of the texts of this novel; the socio-cultural contexts of the translation; the impact of the translators’ habitus and capitals (sociological terms developed by Pierre Bourdieu) on their translation strategies; the roles of the other agents/patrons such as the publishers; and even the presence or absence of literary censorship,” explained Rick.
The Humanities Travelling Fellowship programme enables early career researchers to undertake research overseas, including accessing archives and other research materials, and to connect with international researchers and networks.
“The funding will be use to support my travel to Japan to consult archives in various libraries in Tokyo and Kyoto, to meet up with like-minded academics, and possibly to interview translators of recent renditions of the novel.”
Rick is Assistant Lecturer of Translation Studies at Monash University. A NAATI accredited professional translator between Chinese and English (both directions), he has been lecturing and tutoring in the Master program of Interpreting and Translation at Monash University since 2012.