Diglossia, Intralingual Translation, Rewriting

Towards a New Approach to the Analysis of the Relationship between Ming-Qing Vernacular Stories and their Classical Sources (2)


  • Rainier Lanselle École Pratique des Hautes Études EPHE-PSL & CRCAO




huaben, short story, intralingual translation, diglossia, rewriting, commentary, vernacular literature, textual comparison, early modern China, Ming-Qing


The article addresses the issue of the numerous vernacular narratives of the huaben 話本 genre (late Ming/early Qing period, 17th c.) that are the result of the rewriting of earlier sources in literary language. It introduces a new method of analysis of this transformative process based on a systematic survey of the components of these stories: language, narrative points of view, rewriting micro-strategies. This allows for a detailed description of the way in which the authors/editors of the time produced these narratives. This methodology is anchored in a comprehensive theoretical approach to the development of the vernacular in the period under consideration, underlining that the definition of the vernacular is not purely linguistic but includes many other factors. It recalls that the situation of diglossia in written Chinese was a subject that authors of the time were acutely aware of and which they discussed extensively in their critical writings. It suggests that the process whereby huaben were produced from earlier sources corresponds to what has been described in modern times as intralingual translation, which could be defined as a commentary, but a commentary that plays on several language registers.



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2023-12-26 — Updated on 2023-12-27


How to Cite

Lanselle, R. (2023). Diglossia, Intralingual Translation, Rewriting: Towards a New Approach to the Analysis of the Relationship between Ming-Qing Vernacular Stories and their Classical Sources (2). The Journal of the European Association for Chinese Studies, 4, 239–288. https://doi.org/10.25365/jeacs.2023.4.lanselle (Original work published December 26, 2023)



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