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