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Translingual adaptations

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Title
Translingual adaptations
SubTitle
Asian works in late nineteenth- and early twentieth- century French literature
Name (type = personal)
NamePart (type = family)
Bai
NamePart (type = given)
Yunfei
NamePart (type = date)
1986-
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Yunfei Bai
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author
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Serrano
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Richard
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Richard Serrano
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Advisory Committee
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chair
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Shaw
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Mary
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Mary Shaw
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Advisory Committee
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internal member
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Piroux
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Lorraine
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Lorraine Piroux
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Advisory Committee
Role
RoleTerm (authority = RULIB)
internal member
Name (type = personal)
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Wickhamsmith
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Simon
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Simon Wickhamsmith
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Advisory Committee
Role
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outside member
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Rutgers University
Role
RoleTerm (authority = RULIB)
degree grantor
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School of Graduate Studies
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school
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Text
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theses
OriginInfo
DateCreated (qualifier = exact)
2018
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2018-05
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2018
Place
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xx
Language
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eng
Abstract (type = abstract)
This dissertation rethinks an important genre of world literature overlooked by previous scholars, namely, creative adaptations of Eastern works by Western authors based on received translations. Specifically, my dissertation focuses on how three major nineteenth- and twentieth-century French authors—Théophile Gautier, Stéphane Mallarmé, and Victor Segalen—adapted Sanskrit, Chinese, and Tibetan works into mainstream French literature. In a broader sense, my work reads these adaptations as significant contributions to world literature. My approach consists of closely comparing the adaptations with the previous translations on which Gautier, Mallarmé, and Segalen based their retellings, and against the source works in Chinese, Sanskrit, and Tibetan. In so doing, I tease out examples of truncation, addition, paraphrase, annotation, and unintentional misreading that befell these Asian works as they traveled across time, space, and cultural spheres. The first chapter traces how the vernacular romance “Heying Lou,” by Chinese writer Li Yu, morphed into Théophile Gautier’s novella “Le Pavillon sur l’eau.” The original story, first rendered into English by John Francis Davis under the name “The Shadow in the Water,” was then further translated into French by Jean-Pierre Abel-Rémusat under the title “L’Ombre dans l’eau,” upon which Gautier later based his “Le Pavillon sur l’eau.” By teasing out each author’s input in this multilayered transmission, I reveal how Gautier at once converged with and diverged from Li Yu by intentionally misinterpreting China and unwittingly recovering some important narrative traits of the “Heying Lou” lost in previous translations. The second chapter deals with Mallarmé’s retelling of the Nalopākhyānam episode of the Sanskrit epic Mahābhārata. Mallarmé based his Nala et Damayantî on Mary Summer’s adaptation of the same name, which in turn vulgarized the French Sanskritist Émile Burnouf’s translation of the Nalopākhyānam titled Nala épisode du Mahâbhârata. Indeed, when adapting Burnouf’s literalist translation, Summer embraced an assimilative approach while injecting much Orientalist cliché. For instance, she eroticized Damayantī’s body and wishfully smoothed out what she thought to be disjointed cuts between scenes in the Sanskrit original. Her systematic recourse to abridgement not only revamped the internal structures of the story, but also weakened the character Damayantī’s image as a fully empowered Indian woman who possessed wits, volition, and rationality. Mallarmé’s poetic license, in contrast, enabled him to go beyond received norms of nineteenth-century popular narratives pertaining to the Orient. First, he singled out elements in the Nalopākhyānam that directly resonated with his own poetic agenda. Second, he relinquished Summer’s pseudorealism, mitigated many Orientalist trappings, and switched to a more symbolic treatment of plot details. Finally, Mallarmé adopted a prose style reminiscent of classical Sanskrit, owing notably to his pursuit of condensation and syntactic ellipsis, his poetics of suggestion, and his tendency to multiply nominal appositives at the expense of finite verbs. In short, although Mallarmé’s stylistic idiosyncrasies are not easy to digest, by “Sanskritizing” his phraseology, so to speak, he effectively transmuted the Nalopākhyānam into a fresh narrative consisting of evocative, highly aestheticized, and rapidly shifting images. The third chapter examines how Segalen interpolated snippets of Chinese classics into his prose poem titled Stèles, while the fourth studies Segalen’s recasting of a small portion of the Tibetan classic Padma bka’ thang in his long poem Thibet. These last two chapters counteract Segalen’s image as a progressive modernist writer invested in East-West intercultural dialogue. By delving deeply into the way Segalen reworked his primary sources both in Stèles and in Thibet, I show that (1) Segalen’s Orientalism was not always his own, but often replicated and amplified that of previous translators; (2) Segalen was not a post-Mallarméan modernist, and his literary stance was not at all revolutionary; and (3) Segalen remained a cultural imperialist at heart who was keen to forge a pedantic, self-centered, and metaphoric Orient that had no room for concrete realities. More specifically, his authorial subjectivity either negated or superimposed itself on his Chinese sources in Stèles, while in Thibet, his ego went so far as to impersonate a valiant male French explorer embarking on the journey of conquering a female Tibet. Although the abstruse intertextuality underpinning Segalen’s Orientalism has thus far spared him from criticism directed at less recondite writers such as Pierre Loti, his appropriation of Chinese ideographs and Tibetan prosody belies a continuation of the Romantic poets’ fancy for the East. Although these foreign elements may indicate Segalen’s inclusiveness for some critics, in reality they function more as marketing gimmicks for readers barely able to verify their authenticity.
Subject (authority = RUETD)
Topic
French
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Title
Rutgers University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
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ETD_8842
PhysicalDescription
Form (authority = gmd)
electronic resource
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application/pdf
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text/xml
Extent
1 online resource (vii, 253 p.)
Note (type = degree)
Ph.D.
Note (type = bibliography)
Includes bibliographical references
Subject (authority = ETD-LCSH)
Topic
French literature
Subject (authority = ETD-LCSH)
Topic
Orientalism
Note (type = statement of responsibility)
by Yunfei Bai
RelatedItem (type = host)
TitleInfo
Title
School of Graduate Studies Electronic Theses and Dissertations
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rucore10001600001
Location
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NjNbRU
Identifier (type = doi)
doi:10.7282/T3RF5ZG5
Genre (authority = ExL-Esploro)
ETD doctoral
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The author owns the copyright to this work.
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Name
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Bai
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Yunfei
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RightsEvent
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Permission or license
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2018-04-11 14:50:51
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Yunfei Bai
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Affiliation
Rutgers University. School of Graduate Studies
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Author Agreement License
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I hereby grant to the Rutgers University Libraries and to my school the non-exclusive right to archive, reproduce and distribute my thesis or dissertation, in whole or in part, and/or my abstract, in whole or in part, in and from an electronic format, subject to the release date subsequently stipulated in this submittal form and approved by my school. I represent and stipulate that the thesis or dissertation and its abstract are my original work, that they do not infringe or violate any rights of others, and that I make these grants as the sole owner of the rights to my thesis or dissertation and its abstract. I represent that I have obtained written permissions, when necessary, from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis or dissertation and will supply copies of such upon request by my school. I acknowledge that RU ETD and my school will not distribute my thesis or dissertation or its abstract if, in their reasonable judgment, they believe all such rights have not been secured. I acknowledge that I retain ownership rights to the copyright of my work. I also retain the right to use all or part of this thesis or dissertation in future works, such as articles or books.
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DateTime (encoding = w3cdtf); (point = start); (qualifier = exact)
2020-01-23
DateTime (encoding = w3cdtf); (point = end); (qualifier = exact)
2021-05-30
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Embargo
Detail
Access to this PDF has been restricted at the author's request. It will be publicly available after May 30th, 2021.
Copyright
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Copyright protected
Availability
Status
Open
Reason
Permission or license
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DateCreated (point = end); (encoding = w3cdtf); (qualifier = exact)
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