New Nobel Prize-winner for Literature Mo Yan 莫言 has, for obvious reasons, become a hot topic of discussion. I’ve assembled some of the analysis that’s recently appeared online in various forms.
First, my highschool classmate & translator from Swedish B J Epstein has written about the Nobel from an outsider’s perspective, bringing a discussion she and I had recently into her report.
Next, poet & translator Eleanor Goodman talks about the different reactions to the Nobel from within China and without.
Then, translator Bruce Humes covers the other side of the issue, demonstrating how “references deemed unbecoming to China’s image are often ‘airbrushed'” from a published Chinese translation of the NYTimes report of Mo Yan’s prize. And Brendan O’Kane asks “Is Mo Yan a Stooge for the Chinese Government?” (Brendan sez the short answer is ‘no’).
Next, Sabina Knight (Smith College) on Mo Yan’s Nobel (from NPR):
Earlier, Granta‘s John Freeman interviewed Mo Yan (from Silliman’s blog):
And PBS‘s Jeffrey Brown talks to Charles Laughlin (University of Virginia) and Xiao Qiang (University of California, Berkeley) about Mo Yan:
My old friend B. J. Epstein (we co-edited our school’s literary journal back in high school) is a translator from Swedish and Norwegian (interestingly, not only did we both end up as translators, we both translate from languages not taught in our high school when we were there), and a blogger for HuffingtonPost UK. Her most recent piece is on how to read translations. Here’s an excerpt:
If we consider how we read – just compare how you read the newspaper to how you would read a textbook, or how you read a novel when you were a teenager to how you do so 15 years later – it becomes clear that we do read different texts in different ways, with different aims guiding our reading, at different points in our lives and in different contexts. This suggests, then, that reading a translation will be a different project from reading a non-translated piece of writing, and also that there are multiple ways of reading a translation, just as there are multiple ways of reading any text.