World Literature, Chinese Literature and Literary Translation

7 September 2011

5:30 - 6:30pm, 7th September
Woolley Lecture Theatre S325

Professor McDougall has just returned from a residence for distinguished writers and artists in Italy with the Santa Maddalena Foundation, where she was the first participant ever to be invited with a specialisation on Chinese literature. She was also one of the first literary translators to be awarded the prestigious Fellowhip.

Professor Bonnie McDougall spoke about her fellowship and the interest of her fellow residents in contemporary Chinese literature. Global interest in contemporary Chinese literature is an issue of concern for Chinese writers and readers as well as for people who teach or study Chinese literature in English translation.

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Bonnie S. McDougall

An outstanding scholar and translator, Professor Bonnie S. McDougall has made extraordinary contributions to the study of China's modern literature. Born in Sydney, she first studied Chinese at Peking University (1958-59). Academic appointments include teaching and research at Sydney University, followed by SOAS, Harvard, Oslo, the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the City University of Hong Kong. The founding professor of Chinese at the University of Edinburgh in 1990, she was appointed Emeritus Professor in 2006.

While a full-time translator at the Foreign Languages Press in the 1980s, McDougall translated poetry, fiction and film-scripts by new writers emerging through the chaos of the Cultural Revolution, among them Bei Dao, Ah Cheng, Chen Kaige, Gu Cheng, Qiu Xiaolong and Wang Anyi. Her other translations include poetry, fiction, drama and essays by Guo Moruo, He Qifang, Ye Shengtao, Yu Dafu, Ding Xilin and Zhu Guangqian, and Hong Kong fiction and poetry by Xi Xi, Dung Kai Cheung and Leung Bing-kwan. She has taught literary translation at the College of Foreign Affairs in Beijing as well as in the UK and Hong Kong.

Recent books include Love-letters and Privacy in Modern China: The Intimate Lives of Lu Xun and Xu Guangping (Oxford, 2002); Fictional Authors, Imaginary Audiences: Modern Chinese Literature in the Twentieth Century (Hong Kong, 2003); the translation into English of The King of Trees by Ah Cheng (New York, 2010) and Translation Zones in Modern China (Amherst, 2011).