Mao Dun (David Hull, trans.)
Mao Dun's Waverings
Chinese University of Hong Kong 2014
David Hull‘s new translation of Mao Dun’s Waverings (Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2014)(Research Centre for Translation, Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2014) is both a beautiful literary work and a boon for scholars and teachers working in the field of modern Chinese studies. Waverings is the second work in the Eclipse trilogy, three books that were published serially in The Short Story Magazine beginning in 1927. These are the first works of fiction written by Shen Yanbing, the man who would later take on the pseudonym Mao Dun. Waverings offers readers a perspective on the 1926-1927 revolution – and problems of labor and women’s rights therein – but that perspective shifts depending on which version of the text that the reader encounters: while the first version was written very quickly in 1927 while the author was in hiding in Shanghai, another 1954 revision of the text is, in many ways, quite different. In his prefatory remarks, Hull thoughtfully reflects on how to navigate this and other challenges for the modern translator. Hull’s translation beautifully renders the powerful illusions and visions that recur throughout the story, and movingly give life to some extraordinarily powerful fictional characters. It’s a boon for lovers of stories, for teachers, and for scholars of the modern world.