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Translation and Feminism in Twentieth- and Twenty-First Century China: A Case Study on Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Publication date2023
Number of pages225
Awarding Institution
Award date17/01/2023
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


As the circuitry of literature grows increasingly international, translation studies of women writers have in recent years attracted great critical attention. This thesis will explore the Chinese translation and the power of feminism expressed in the translated text. This thesis will mainly focus on the reception of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, which is one of the most popular English novels in China.
The 20th century is an important period for China when Chinese society developed from a feudalist to modern society. And the 21st century is a new period for China when achievements came into being following two decades of reform and opening-up policies. The translations of Western writers’ works bringing feminism, a new trend of thought in China, provided a new figure and image of women and prompted Chinese women’s ideas of liberation and independence.
In this thesis, I enquire after the connection between the development of feminism and translations. I research how women’s agency and feminist thought are presented through the comparison between translations by both feminist-leaning and non-feminist translators. The ideology of translators is evaluated and classified with an analysis of their prefaces, academic study, and life experience. I build the corpora of translated texts and collect data to study the language features of texts. Comparative analysis is directed towards the actual language used consciously or unconsciously in texts by translators with different feminist thoughts.
The findings address three issues: firstly, feminism tends to be presented through strong-woman models in the Chinese context; secondly, feminist translations have contributed to the reconstruction of Chinese femininity; and finally, feminist strategies are used as special tendencies in the Chinese context.