TTHA LETTER FROM CHINA

To: Professor Rosemarie Morgan

From: Professors Ling & Yang Zhang President,

The Thomas Hardy Association 
Beijing 100086, P.R. China  
 

PROFESSOR ZHANG LING: TTHA VICE PRESIDENT

Report on a Symposium concerning our late father professor Zhang Gu-ruo and Thomas Hardy.

More than 50 professors and translators from Universities in various parts of China attended a Symposium to mark the 100th Birthday of Professor Zhang Gu-ruo, to discuss translations of foreign literature in his birth place Yantai, the sea port, Shandong province in last August. Zhang was professor of English at Peking University and the earliest well-known translator of Thomas Hardy.

The Symposium was sponsored by the Chinese Translators Association, Peking University, Shandong University, Yantai Teachers College, Chinese People's Publishing House of Literature, the main publisher of Thomas Hardy in China.

Zhang began his career of translator -- and became famous -- in the early thirties of the last century with his excellent versions of Tess of the D'Urbervilles, The Return of the Native, and later Jude the Obscure, which have thrived ever since in many editions and printings. They are popular in China and among the Chinese readers all over the world. In the long years of teaching English at Peking University he never ceased to translate works in English literature. Besides Hardy, he translated Charles Dickens' David Copperfield, Henry Fielding's Tom Jones, The History of A Foundling, Shakespeare's Venus and Adonis, Bernard Shaw's Heartbreak House, and more. He also translated Chinese poems by poets in Tang Dynasty into English to promote the Orient-Occident cultural understanding. His diligent work, thorough knowledge of English language and culture, and moral integrity, won him respect and admiration from his readers, students and colleagues. He always emphasized the importance of translating idiomatic originals into idiomatic Chinese and prepared comprehensive annotations to each of his translations for the benefit of his readers.

Academic studies have analysed his principles with various modern and post-modern translation-theories and made comparative studies of his translations, mainly of Hardy's novels, with other translators' versions and so raised the academic level of the discussions. The Symposium considered that the best way of commemoration would be to research and carry on the best tradition of Professor Zhang Gu-ruo. At the concluding meeting one of the Sponsors, Professor Sun Ying-chun, the Doctorial Tutor at Shandong University, announced his decision to collect some of the presented papers, including the leading speech by Professor Zhang Ling, into his monograph On Professor Zhang Gu-ruo's Art of Translation, which is to be published soon. With Professor Zhang's significant contribution and the growing influence of translations of English literature, an important school, following Zhang Gu-ruo's translation, is believed to have taken shape, and the further research on his style and on similar translators is to be continued.

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Transcribed by Rosemarie Morgan
October 30 2003

                                                        

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