Reading and reframing : History, politics, and A Tale of Two Cities

Research output: Chapters, Conference Papers, Creative and Literary Works (RGC: 12, 32, 41, 45)Chapter in research book/monograph/textbook (Author)

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Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCharles Dickens and China, 1895-1915
Subtitle of host publicationCross-cultural encounters
PublisherRoutledge
Pages114-144
Edition1
ISBN (Electronic)9781315571355
ISBN (Print)9781472467034, 9780367140441
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016

Abstract

When the first instalment of A Tale of Two Cities was published in China on 1 June 1913 in The Justice, a bi-monthly political journal established by the one of the most influential Chinese intellectuals of the day, Liang Qichao (1873-1929), it was only one and a half years after the Chinese Republic had been established following the Revolution of 1911 that overthrew the Qing dynasty, the least in China. The country was therefore still in an early stage of formulating its governing structure and political system. The decision to translate and publish A Tale of Two Cities in Political journal which had its own agenda at this historical juncture bore a particular significance in Chinese politics; of the significance was the popularity of the subject matter - the French Revolution - and its perceived relevance to contemporary politics in China during the Republican period. The popularity of the novel in England when it was first released in 31 instalments in All the Year Round, a weekly literary magazine founded by Charles Dickens on 30 April 1859, reflects the success of the novel in exploring socio-political issues of the day (such as the middle class's fear of mob violence) and in creating the characters of Sidney Carton. When it was transferred to China, the changes introduced to the paratexts of the novel, such as the extensive use of notes and new chapter titles, as well as the alterations to the characterisation of Madame Defarge, had accentuated the anti-revolutionary message that the novel purportedly conveys, which was particularly relevant to Chinese politics at the specific moment in history.

Citation Format(s)

Reading and reframing : History, politics, and A Tale of Two Cities. / Lee, Klaudia Hiu Yen.

Charles Dickens and China, 1895-1915: Cross-cultural encounters. 1. ed. Routledge, 2016. p. 114-144.

Research output: Chapters, Conference Papers, Creative and Literary Works (RGC: 12, 32, 41, 45)Chapter in research book/monograph/textbook (Author)