The Variation of Qu Yuan’s Image in Hawkes’ Translation of Li Sao

Yafang LI, Honghui TAN


Chu Ci, as the first anthology of poems in the south of China, possesses unshakeable status in Chinese literature. In Chu Ci, the most popular poetry is Li Sao, written by Qu Yuan in the late period of the Warring States of ancient China. The translated versions have been repeatedly reprinted by different publishers. Hawkes’ English version of Li Sao is widely regarded as a classic in the history of the translation of Chinese literature. This article analyzes the variation of Qu Yuan’s image by collecting 88 Chinese expressions of Qu Yuan’s image in the source text and relevant translation in Hawkes’ English version. The results present that Qu Yuan is less loyal, more confident and less romantic in Hawkes’ English version of Li Sao. We explore the various factors for the image variation in the translation, concerning the influence of the translator, the historic context of translation and the source text, the purpose of translation; in the meanwhile, Hawkes’ translation will be evaluated.



Qu Yuan; Li Sao; Self-image; Hetero-image; Translation

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