Mon, Aug 20, 2012 - Page 11 News List

English translation of Chung Wen-yin’s Decayed Lust in bookstores

The National Museum of Taiwan Literature in Greater Tainan.

Photo: Wang Chun-chung, Liberty Times

Seven years and a million Chinese characters later, novelist and essayist Chung Wen-yin was finally able to complete her “Island Trilogy” last year. The first novel in the series, Decayed Lust, was selected by the National Museum of Taiwan Literature to receive a grant for translation of the book into English. The translation, published by Titan Publishing Co, is currently available at foreign-language bookstores throughout Taiwan.

Decayed Lust, consisting of around 300,000 characters, was translated by C.J. Anderson-Wu, who was previously nominated for the Man Asian Literary Prize for one of her translations. She and her husband Steven M. Anderson, an English literature expert, have been professionally devoted to translating outstanding Taiwanese novels for quite a while. They are especially fond of Chung’s novels, and during the translation process they were able to preserve the localized sense of being marginalized that can be found in the original Chinese version. Anderson-Wu says that as a translator, “I have an even more profound respect for Chung’s prolific body of work. Doing this translation was like taking a voyage on the author’s ship, and after riding many unexpected stormy waves and returning to land, I am giddy and feel quite blessed to have had this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

The book also includes an English introduction by Chen Ching-chi, a professor in National Kaohsiung Normal University’s Department of English. She brings up the example of James Joyce’s Dubliners to praise Chung for her ability to depict the bizarrely captivating ambience of Taipei. The Chinese version of the book is charming, tantalizing and extravagant, while a quiet seduction permeates the pithy English edition.


1. novelist n.

小說家 (xiao3 shuo1 jia1)

例: Chinua Achebe is a famous Nigerian novelist, poet and critic.


2. captivating adj.

魅惑的 (mei4 huo4 de5)

例: We found the opera captivating, especially the final act.


3. pithy adj.

簡潔的 (jian3 jie2 de5)

例: Brian’s response was pithy and to the point.


(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat

歷經七年百萬字鋪陳,去年作家鍾文音完成了「島嶼三部曲」,今年首部曲《豔歌行》獲選台灣文學館中書外譯補助,英文版《Decayed Lust》已經完成,外文書店都可以看到。

《豔歌行》三十萬字由入圍亞洲曼氏文學獎的譯者吳介禎完成,她與研究英文文學的夫婿Steven M. Anderson長期以翻譯台灣優秀小說為職志,尤其對鍾文音的小說作品十分心儀,翻譯過程中,保有了鍾文音中文小說「在地化」的邊緣特性。吳介禎表示,作為一個譯者,「這本書的翻譯工作就像乘著作者的船出海,結果遇到意想不到風浪,回到岸上後,暈眩中慶幸有此難得且浩大的經驗,對鍾文音龐大的寫作世界也更是敬畏!」

《Decayed Lust》也收錄高師大英文系教授陳靖奇的英文專文導讀推薦,他以喬哀斯的《都柏林人》來讚譽鍾文音筆下之台北奇情魅惑風月,中文版文采迷人豔麗靡頹,英文版簡潔中滲透著誘惑迷人的風情。


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