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A challenge I devised yesterday: find a Dickens novel whose plot would not work when transferred to contemporary China. (A Tale of Two Cities would, of course, be set in the late 1940s)
Posted at 07:02 AM in by JamesP | Permalink
Not saying it wouldn't be possible, even easy, but how would you Sinify the sentimentalised Christmas to which Dickens returns as a dog to its vomit?
Also, are there institutions analogous to Dotheboys Hall?
chris y |
June 09, 2011 at 08:09 AM
Spring Festival. And abusive and rip-off Chinese schools are numerous - if you wanted the boarding aspect, probably best to make it a summer camp.
June 09, 2011 at 08:18 AM
Especially the summer camps for "internet addiction" or similar - the ones with a supposed curative purpose.
What about Jarndyce and Jarndyce?
June 09, 2011 at 08:51 AM
Charlie wins. I was thinking of the opium den in Edwin Drood, which would need some reimagining - and Occidentalising, ideally (an Internet cafe with an illicit connection to the West?)
June 09, 2011 at 08:59 AM
Oh, and Chris - can you name Christmas scenes in two Dickens novels without the word 'Christmas' in their titles?
June 09, 2011 at 09:00 AM
I thought of Bleak House, but presumably we could insert some kind of entanglement with Chinese bureaucracy instead. Not sure what to do about inheritance though - how does that work in China?
You'd also have to find a stand-in for smallpox.
June 09, 2011 at 09:14 AM
Phil - do you count The Cricket And The Hearth?
June 09, 2011 at 09:15 AM
Well spotted. Actually he wrote five "Christmas books", which are all noticeably different in style and content from the major novels (and the minor novels, come to that), as well as being shorter. Outside of those he wrote a lot of big meals, but not that many Christmas dinners that I can remember.
June 09, 2011 at 09:47 AM
What's the plan for Barnaby Rudge?
June 09, 2011 at 11:03 AM
Oliver Twist? Are organised urchin gangs of pickpockets transferrable, and how would Fagin be done?
belle le triste |
June 09, 2011 at 11:16 AM
Organized urchin gangs of pickpockets are, well, organized urchin gangs of pickpockets. China's got plenty. Though organized gangs of small child beggars (sometimes also pickpockets) are more normal.
June 09, 2011 at 11:18 AM
Did all the posts just vanish from AFOE or did I imagine that? And is someone trying to tell me something?
June 09, 2011 at 02:16 PM
No Charlie, they're all gone. I can't get into the archives either, everything's gone. Even the google cache of the front page.
Barry Freed |
June 09, 2011 at 02:31 PM
Well, I think I can remember what I wrote, more or less. Edward Hugh on the other hand ...
June 09, 2011 at 02:56 PM
As a placeholder, I suggest:
"Here, in quite staggering detail, is why SmallEuropeanCountry is completely fucked."
Richard J |
June 09, 2011 at 03:00 PM
Perhaps we could syndicate B&T. We in fact seemed to be doing that for a short while some time ago.
June 09, 2011 at 03:08 PM
A MySQL index table has been corrupted. As Murphy's law would have it, out of the 20 odd tables it's the one in which WordPress keeps our core content. I'm currently waiting for a backup to complete before attempting to recreate the index.
June 09, 2011 at 03:15 PM
A MySQL index table has been corrupted
Don't be judgemental Alex, your MySQL table has just chosen an alternative lifestyle.
June 09, 2011 at 03:25 PM
The sinister cult reprogramming has proven effective:-)
June 09, 2011 at 03:33 PM
To celebrate, I made a new post.
June 09, 2011 at 04:17 PM
A Tale of Two Cities. [irony alert]
ALL Chinese look alike
June 09, 2011 at 04:18 PM
To reverse the premise, petitioning, black jails and so on would be a great subject for a Dickens novel.
June 09, 2011 at 10:48 PM
Dickens was translated into classical Chinese pretty early on by Lin Shu. Here's the end of his version of David Copperfield:
And now, as I close my task, subduing my desire to linger yet, these faces fade away. But one face, shining on me like a Heavenly light by which I see all other objects, is above them and beyond them all. And that remains. I turn my head, and see it, in its beautiful serenity, beside me. My lamp burns low, and I have written far into the night; but the dear presence, without which I were nothing, bears me company. O Agnes, O my soul, so may thy face be by me when I close my life indeed; so may I, when realities are melting from me, like the shadows which I now dismiss, still find thee near me, pointing upward!
June 10, 2011 at 06:57 AM
Late night at the bar, so I'm going to translate the classical Chinese version of Dickens back into English without cheating by looking at the original.
Here, though well might I like to further extend it, endeth my tale. Those faces now vanish, as mist on the wind, save one that endures in my heart and remains with me at my every reflection. She remains, though my lamp dims, beside me -- ah! Agnes, my soul and my heart's-blood, may thy jewel-like countenance, as now I near my end, be at my side; as I depart this earth and leave this realm of shadows, may you yet be above me, as if telling me that the time has come.
(Checking back up to see how I did.) Hm. Well, not bad, considering. For what it's worth, and my translation notwithstanding, I find the pseudoclassical Chinese more moving than the original.
June 11, 2011 at 10:50 PM
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