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Lin Shu: A translator who can't speak a foreign language

Lin Shu: A translator who can't speak a foreign language

By Elora HaysPublished about a year ago 3 min read

Lin Shu was a famous translator in China, the initiator of modern literary translation, the first person who formally translated western literature. Although he is a master of ancient Chinese don't understand foreign scholars, but cooperate with Wei Yi, gong of Zeng Zhong and others, in the form of "ear by pen with" translated the 107 writers involved in 11 countries, the introduction of western literature and the progress of social culture at that time made an indelible contribution, left a valuable cultural heritage for later generations.

To work together

When Lin Shu was five years old, his grandmother began to teach him how to read and write, starting with the Classic of Filial Piety. In 1882, Lin Shu rose from a poor scholar to a scholar. However, later on the "seven spring official, repeatedly tried and failed" course, let him in the field of frustration at the same time, saw too much officialdom dark. From then on, he gave up the official career and devoted himself to literary creation.

Lin Shu had a fellow countryman named Wang Changshou, who had been studying in France for six years in 1885, and was proficient in French. After his return to China, he told Lin Shu many foreign classics, which greatly opened Lin's eyes. So the two began to collaborate on the translation of Dumas' La Traviata. It was interpreted by Wang Changshou and recorded by Lin Shu in classical Chinese. At that time, a small boat on the Minjiang River can often see such a scene: Wang Changshou holding the original books, while browsing, while dictating; Lin Shu spread the paper and waved the pen. Lin Shu was quick of hearing and writing, often finishing a sentence just as Wang Changshou finished it. In four hours a day, I have written down more than 6,000 words. In the summer of 1899, the Changyan Newspaper's version of the Legacy of the Traviata went on sale. For a time, Luoyang paper expensive, quickly spread.

In the short 27 years of his life, Lin Shu collaborated with Wei Yi, Chen Jialin and other talents who had been abroad to translate more than 160 Western novels, such as David Copperfield by British writer Charles Dickens, The Love of the Dead by Russian Tolstoy, and the Legend of Manxia by Spanish writer Cervantes. British Scott's "Saxon Robbery Heroes", Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe" and so on. These Western novels show the rich western culture to the Chinese people and broaden their horizons.


In addition to translating foreign classics, Lin Shu is also proficient in literary writing and painting. After the Revolution of 1911, he wrote a novel "Jinghua Blue Blood Record". Although the book is mainly about love story, but it involves the Reform Movement, the Boxer uprising, the eight-nation allied army attack on Beijing and other major historical events, the description of life is extremely broad, which was popular among readers at that time. Later, HE SUCCESSIVELY WROTE NOVELS AND A SERIES OF SHORT STORIES, SUCH AS Autumn IN JinLING, EPIPHYLlUM IN EXILE, BRILLIANCE OF the SEA OF Injustice, Autumn IN GuO-YANG, AND New APPEARANCE OF OFFICIALHOOD, WHICH VIVIDLY REFLECTED THE social reality at that time.

At the age of 23, Lin Shu studied painting under Chen Wenzhao and became as famous as Chen Wenzhao for his literary creations and translations. He was good at flowers and birds, and learned from his teachers. He devoted himself to landscape creation after settling in Beijing in his later years. Warlord Wu Pei-fu in his 51st birthday, willing to pay a large sum of money to ask Lin Shu to draw a birthday picture, Lin Shu despised his government, respect human life, refused, in the capital at that time as a legend. As for the later students, Lin Shu did his best to help them. In 1919, Qi Baishi, a native of Xiangtan, Hunan Province, first came to Beijing to make a living selling paintings, but few people in the city knew about him. In order to get out of the predicament, Qi Baishi visited Lin Shu. Lin Shu bought all his paintings and published an article in Ping Bao, which he edited and edited, in which he highly praised Qi Baishi's paintings. These behind-the-scenes work helped Qi Baishi gradually become famous in Beijing and eventually become a master of traditional Chinese painting.


About the Creator

Elora Hays

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