An English journal helps Chinese literature reach a wider audience.[Photo provided to China Daily]
Those few journals are dominated by Western scholars or businesspeople with their special tastes and a desire to cater to their readers often by rewriting Chinese works. It is a common practice instead of honoring them as pieces of serious literature that should not be altered at will.
But things are beginning to change with the appearance of a Chinese professor with a new journal, Chinese Literature and Culture, based in China and published in the United States, with the backing of Chinese writers and literary journals as well as translators and scholars worldwide.
Since the journal was launched last year, it has published the works of a number of active Chinese authors, including West Window by Su Tong, The Story of Hu Wenqing by Wei Wei and A Dinner for Three by Sun Pin.
Chu Dongwei, founder and editor-in-chief of the print and online journal, is an associate professor at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies. A translator himself, he is also editor of a collection of Zen Buddhist texts under the title The Wisdom of Huineng, Chinese Buddhist Philosopher: The Platform Sutra and Other Translations.
Chinese Literature and Culture, published three times a year, is devoted to translations of Chinese texts (works from the past or by contemporary authors), essays of cultural criticism and original writings－fiction or nonfiction－dealing with the China experience or life in Chinese communities around the world.
Chu says the intended reader is the educated public, and the idea is to promote cultural exchange and the positive influence of Chinese culture. In this process, individual authors and translators will have a chance to reach a wider audience, he says.
The journal has been welcomed by Chinese writers, translators and scholars.
Xue Yiwei, an expatriate Chinese author in Canada whose war stories will be featured in a future issue, has brought the inaugural issue to the attention of a few Western Sinologists and scholars, and says it has received very positive reviews.
Lin Peiyuan, a promising young author, who will have two stories published in the journal, says he is grateful that Chinese Literature and Culture is bringing his works to English readers for the first time.
Timothy Huson, an American philosopher and expert in literature; Fraser Sutherland, a Canadian poet and author; and Craig Hulst, an affiliate professor of writing at Grand Valley State University in the United States are said to have volunteered to help edit the journal.
After Hulst saw a copy of the journal, he wrote to the editor: “It looks really interesting, and I see a need for a journal of this sort, not only to give opportunities for English audiences to read Chinese literature and to get to know Chinese culture but also to give Chinese scholars a venue where they can be recognized by an international audience.”
The journal is published by IntLingo Inc, a global language company headquartered in New York, in collaboration with Zilin Ltd, a provider of international publishing services based in Guangdong’s provincial capital Guangzhou.