Between the Transnational and the Translational: Language, Identity, and Authorship in Ma Jian’s Novels


  • Nicoletta Pesaro Ca’ Foscari University of Venice



This paper aims to explore the power exerted by the translator to form cultural identities and to build literary images that often overlap or blur national borders. The sinophone writer Ma Jian’s identity is challenged both in terms of authorship and readership, as his public is a culturally undistinguished “western reader”, and the translator de facto becomes the author. As a representative of the Chinese diaspora, he not only lives in a “deterritorialized” literary space, his novels also share a similar textual instability. Due to his bitter criticism of Chinese government and his internationally recognised role as a dissident writer, his works do not circulate in the People’s Republic of China, and are mainly distributed thanks to the English renditions by Flora Drew.

Biografia do Autor

Nicoletta Pesaro, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice

Associate Professor of Chinese Language and Literature since November 2006, Department of Asian and North African Studies, Ca’ Foscari University of Science. PhD in Chinese Language, Literature and History. Venice, Italy. E-mail:


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Como Citar

Pesaro, N. (2018). Between the Transnational and the Translational: Language, Identity, and Authorship in Ma Jian’s Novels. Cadernos De Tradução, 38(1), 106–126.



Poetics of Exile