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The Translation and Reception of Eugene Labiche’s Plays in Modern China

  • LO Shih-LungEmail author
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Abstract

This paper aims to analyse the transmission and the reception of the comedies of the French playwright Eugene Labiche in the Republican period (1912–1949), during which the modern Chinese theatre was nourished by the translations of Western plays. Song Chunfang was one of the scholars who promoted with enthusiasm Labiche’s works. To Song, Labiche’s works could be taken as an alternative reference that differed from the “mainstream” Ibsen plays worshiped by his contemporaries. Song Chunfang appreciated the elements of popular theatre observed in Labiche’s works, taking them as models for the modern Chinese theatre. La Poudre aux yeux, a parody of the hypocrisy of the urban middle class, was translated for the first time by Zhao Shaohou. Later, his successful translation inspired several retranslations, adaptations and rewritings, including Cao Yu’s The Gilt. Similarly, Le Voyage de monsieur Perrichon was (re)translated, and it contributed to the adaptation of Shi Huafu, The Peacock Screen. Although the fame of Labiche is often forgotten nowadays by researchers in the Chinese-speaking world, he was indeed one of the most popular and well-known French playwrights in modern China. By reviewing and analysing the translations and adaptations of Labiche’s plays, researchers can retrace in more detail the development of modern Chinese theatre and its quest for modernity.

Keywords

Eugène Labiche Modern China Song Chunfang Translation Spoken drama 

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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) and, if applicable, The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Tsing Hua UniversityHsinchuTaiwan

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