Chapter Four Translation and the Dissemination of Ibsenism
Ibsenism needed to be disseminated if it was to become an ideology for Chinese revolution. The most effective means to propagate Ibsenism, other than performance, was to translate Ibsen’s plays so that the ideology could reach the readers. Drama is unique in its medium of expression, which can be literary and theatrical. Depending on the purpose, the translation of dramatic texts can place emphasis on either of these two media of expression. In the Chinese translations of Ibsen’s plays, both emphases can be found. Since modern Western drama was first regarded in China as a way to spread political messages, the translation of Western dramatic works was selective, mostly based on social needs. Ibsen’s plays were selected among others for the sake of their provocative effects. Hence, many early Chinese translations of Ibsen have a high degree of adaptation for the purpose of bringing out the social messages in Ibsen’s texts.