To China and Back

In 1922, Lin Shu translated the first part of “Don Quixote” into classical Chinese. It was published as “The Story of the Enchanted Knight.”

Lin Shu knew no Spanish, nor any other western language. A friend who had read two or three English translations of Cervantes’s novel helped Lin make his version.

In that version, Don Quixote is more learned than crazy. Sancho Panza is his disciple. Dulcinea, the knight’s fair maiden, receives the epithet “Jade Lady.” All reference to God is excised. Rocinante is promoted from nag to “fast horse.”

Fast forward to today.

Alicia Relinque, professor of classical Chinese literature at the University of Granada, has translated Lin Shu’s Chinese version into Spanish for publication in China as a dual edition.

Relinque looks on her translation of Lin’s translation as the newest link in a long and ancient chain, and as a means to share a book that says as much about early 20th-century China as 17th-century Spain.

(Sam Jones, “Chinese Don Quixote is translated into Spanish after 100 years,” theguardian.com, 4-22-21)

I dream of translating Relinque’s Spanish version of Lin Shu’s Chinese version of several English versions of Cervante’s version into a Texas English version, furnishing yet a newer link in the long and ancient chain.

(c) 2021 JMN — EthicalDative. All rights reserved

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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