On Translating Artistic Form of Ironical Style in Lu Xun’s Fiction

  •  Yikuan Yang    


In response to an age of turmoil and oppression, Lu Xun’s fiction features irony and it is manifested in artistic form which should be retained in English translation to achieve equivalence. Failure to do so would weaken or lose the ironical effect intended by Lu Xun and result in Western readers’ inclination to neglect historical and social contexts of his time and to miss the thematic significance of his works. In view of inadequate research in this, the thesis explores the artistic form of ironical style in Lu Xun’s fiction, the preservation of form and ironical effect in William A. Lyell’s, the YANGs’ and Julia Lovell’s English translations and their strategies of compensation for inevitable loss due to cultural and linguistic differences between Chinese and English. However, over-compensation is to be avoided, for it would spoil the delicacy of irony, and so is under-compensation which would reduce the artistic value of the form of irony and cut the ironical effect. Sometimes even if compensation is applied, the ironical effect could hardly be kept intact. Behind Lu Xun’s ironical style is his concern for the future of China and the Chinese people, his indignation against oppression, his disappointment at some people’s numbness and stupidity and his sorrow toward the failure of the Xinhai Revolution. Translators should bear this in mind when rendering his ironical style from Chinese into English, otherwise they will miss the thematic significance of Lu Xun’s fiction.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.