This book is based on my Ph.D.dissertation completed at the University of Edinburghin 1987.By that time,few scholars had tried to relate literary stylistics to translation studies,especially in terms of fictional translation.Even at present,efforts are still not often made to apply stylistics to the translation of prose fiction.The second decade of the new century has seen some unprecedented publications in the field of stylistics,with 2014 witnessing the appearance of The Routledge Handbook of Stylistics(Burke;see Shen 2015a)and The Cambridge Handbook of Stylistics(Stockwell and Whiteley;see Shen 2015b),and 2016 the publication of The Bloomsbury Companion to Stylistics(Sotirova;see Shen 2017),which join forces in marking a new stage in the development of stylistics.All the three volumes contain a chapter on the relation between stylistics and translation,in contrast with previous collections of essays in the field which are not concerned with translation(Weber 1996;Lambrou and Stockwell 2007;Mc Intyre and Busse 2010）。In the former case,however,the chapters in question invariably focus on the translation of poetry.The same is true for the chapter“Stylistics and Translation”(by Boase‐Beier)in The Oxford Handbook of Translation Studies published in 2011.Only occasionally,there appear essays with the analytical focus set on prose fiction(see,for instance,Malmkjr 2004;Horton 2010）。
Not surprisingly,book‐length studies devoted to the relation between stylistics and fictional translation are rarely found.2015 saw the publication of Style in Translation:A Corpus‐Based Perspective(Huang),which examines the translator's style in fictional translation with the statistics provided by corpus analysis.This approach has the advantage of scientifically and objectively revealing the habitual or consistent stylistic choices of the translator,but is hard put to explore subtle relations between local stylistic choices and literary significance in the source and the target texts.As the present study indicates,the field of fictional translation presents various subtle issues calling for in‐depth stylistic investigation,a kind of investigation that can feed back into stylistics itself and may also help enrich literary criticism.The meeting and clash between two different linguistic,literary and cultural systems in translation may shed fresh light on the thematic functions of the stylistic devices involved as well as on the relevant literary and cultural conventions which condition the writer's and the translator's choices and which tend to remain opaque within the boundary of a single language.
Since the cultural turn in the 1980s,the focus of critical attention has shifted to various contextual factors constraining the translator's choices,and to the reception and functioning of the translated texts in the target culture.This has redressed previous neglect of the cultural context but,at the same time,has led to the neglect of the stylistic features of the text to a certain extent,especially in terms of the source texts.The influence of deconstructionism,feminism and postcolonialism on translation studies has more or less lent to this kind of neglect.Fortunately,the new century witnesses an increasingly balanced concern between the context and the text in various fields,including translation studies.This book,which reveals various subtle stylistic features in the original and explores how to transfer them into the target language and culture,may help to achieve more balance between the text and the context.
Twenty years after its first publication,this book,which has been reprinted five times,is still much in demand.It has been out of stock for quite some time and Peking University Press has decided to republish the book in a new format.I believe that it will continue to be helpful to academics,researchers and students both in the field of translation studies and in the fields of stylistics and literary criticism.
Upon the reprinting of this book,I would like to express my gratitude to those at Edinburgh who introduced me to linguistics or stylistics:Keith Mitchell,Jean Ure,Gillian Brown,Professor J.Hurford,and,in particular,Elizabeth Black.I am especially grateful to my doctoral supervisors the late Professor James P.Thorne and Mr.Norman Macleod for their insightful criticisms and suggestions.Special thanks are also due to Dr.A.W.E.Dolby,Professor Jonathan Culler and Professor Henry Widdowson,who read part or whole of different manuscript versions and offered helpful comments.In addition,I deeply appreciate the contribution to this book made in various ways by my family,especially my husband Xing Li,and my friends and colleagues.
A version of chapter 4,titled“Stylistics,Objectivity,and Convention,”was published in Poetics vol.17,no.3,221-238(Copyright 1988 by Elsevier Science B.V.,Amsterdam,The Netherlands).A fragment of chapter 5 and a large part of chapter 7 appeared in the article“Syntax and Literary Significance in the Translation of Realistic Fiction”in Babel vol.38,no.3,149-167(Copyright 1992 by The International Federation of Translators).A major part of 6.1 appeared in the article“On the Aesthetic Function of Intentional‘Illogicality'in English‐Chinese Translation of Fiction”in Style vol.22,no.4(winter 1988).A version of 6.2,titled“Objectivity in the Translation of Narrative Fiction,”was published in Babel vol.34,no.3,131-140(1988).A version of 6.3,titled“Unreliability and Characterization,”was published in Style vol.23,no.2,300-311(Summer,1989).Fragments of chapters 6-8 appeared in the article“The Distorting Medium:Discourse in the Realistic Novel”in The Journal of Narrative Technique vol.21,no.3,231-249(fall,1991).A large part of chapter 8 appeared in the article“On the Transference of Modes of Speech(or Thought)from Chinese Narrative Fiction into English”in Comparative Literature Studies vol.28,no.4,395-414(Copyright 1991 by The Pennsylvania State University).I am grateful to the editors and publishers for permission to reprint.