Gamsa on Chinese Translations of Russian Writing Reviewed

200The MCLC has just posted Roy Chan’s review of two scholarly books by Mark Gamsa, The Chinese Translation of Russian Literature: Three Studies and The Reading of Russian Literature in China: A Moral Example and Manual of Practice. Here’s the second paragraph of the review:

The development of good scholarship on Sino-Russian literary relations has been obstructed, perhaps foremost, by the linguistic difficulty of the endeavor. There are precious few scholars who are equally at home working in both Russian and Chinese sources, a task made more arduous when the scholar in question is neither Russian nor Chinese. Beyond issues of linguistic difficulty, however, is the problem of having a sufficient grasp of the national literatures of either Russia or China and the cultural, historical, and methodological problems that accompany the concept of the national. Linguistic expertise cannot gloss over a ham-fisted sense of literary terrain in either the Russian or Chinese context, especially considering how the latter are bound up with contentious ideological and political struggles. In the face of these daunting challenges, Mark Gamsa’s admirable control of the major issues that underlie both Russian and Chinese literatures, together with his encyclopedic ability to pull together numerous sources and facts, makes him the envy of anyone who attempts the treacherous study of 200transcultural literary and textual history. While I have some reservations about points of framing and interpretation (particularly with regard to the second book), these two books chart the course for future studies and different perspectives. For these reasons, Gamsa’s contributions deserve to be recognized as nothing short of trailblazing.