Literary Translation From Perspective of Reception Theory: The Case Study of Three Versions of Na Han

Wangyue ZHOU


This paper will focus on opinions of two major leaders of reception theory, namely, Iser’s “blanks and indeterminacy” and Jauss’s “horizon of expectations” to explain translators’ creative reproduction of literary translation. The blanks and indeterminacy in literary texts are used to reveal the style and enhance the aesthetic effects of a literary text. Reproduction of the blanks and indeterminacy in literary translation can give the target text reader space to exert their imagination and enjoy the aesthetic effects the original text expresses. This paper is going to explore three English versions from layers of rhetoric devices in Lu Xun’s Na Han, proving that the extent of reproducing the blanks and indeterminacy is determined by the horizon of expectations of different translators as well as their adjustment in merging their own horizon of expectations with that of target text readers. The paper draws a conclusion that there is not definitely good or bad translation as the translators and target text readers have different horizon of expectations in understanding literary works. Different versions give different and various blanks and indeterminacy to readers so that the target readers can give different interpretation of literary works which to some extent contribute to the artistic life of literary works.



Literary translation; Reception theory; Blanks and indeterminacy; Horizon of expectations; Na Han

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