UoB China Institute Lunar New Year Li Siguang Lecture

Edgbaston Park Hotel and Conference Centre, Hornton Grange, Lloyd Suite
Tuesday 6 February 2024 (12:30-13:30)

We are delighted to welcome Professor Cong Cong to campus, who will deliver our 6th annual Li Siguang Lecture: 'What do you read, my Lord?': The Chinese Translations 'according to the True Original' Folio.

Cong Cong is Professor in the English Department of the School of Foreign Studies of Nanjing University and co-Director of the Shakespeare Centre, China (a collaboration between Nanjing University, the University of Birmingham and Phoenix Publishing and Media Group). Her main areas of research are Shakespearean studies and cross-cultural communication studies, with a special focus on Shakespeare’s tragedy and humanism.

Shakespeare’s works have now been appearing in China for more than a century. However, many Chinese translations of Shakespeare’s plays fail to identify and clarify which editions they take as their sources. What “words, words, words” we read matters.

This lecture compares three Chinese versions of Hamlet that use the 1623 Folio as their “original copy.” It studies the translation of particular lines and words identifiable in the Folio text which are not in the earlier quartos. Based on these translations, it discusses how different versions, with the play’s plot variously displayed to the Chinese readers and audience, affected the acceptance of this play in China.

The lecture will be informed by personal engagement with the approach developed by the Royal Shakespeare Company, which has sponsored new, actor-friendly Mandarin translations of the plays prepared through theatrical workshops as well as through linguistic study.

The purpose of this lecture is not to identify an "authoritative" translation, but to advocate for a textually plural, variorum approach.

Join Professor Cong Cong as she shares her insights into Chinese Translations of Shakespeare’s work.