The Chinese Poetess in an Australian Setting: Cultural Translation in Brian Castro’s The Garden Book

  • Guanglin Wang


This chapter is an attempt to use Deleuze and Guattari’s theory of deterritorialization and Homi Bhabha’s theory of cultural translation to discuss Brian Castro’s translation efforts to call attention to the in-between status of diasporic Chinese in Australian culture in the novel The Garden Book. Through the appropriation of He Shuangqing, the forgotten poetess in China, Brian Castro presents a picture of the marginalized status of the ethnic Chinese in white Australian culture and how their lives are maintained through translation. Jasper Zenlin’s translation of He Shuangqing not only marks the stage of her continued life but also serves as a trope of Brian Castro’s exploration of the hybrid identity of the diasporic Chinese writers and their survival after cultural translation.


The Garden Book Deterritorialization He Shuangqing Cultural translation 

Works Cited

  1. American Heritage Dictionary. Accessed
  2. Attridge, Derek. ‘Ghost-writing.’ Deconstruction Is/In America: A New Sense of the Political. Ed. Anselm Haverkamp. New York: New York University Press, 1995. 223–27.Google Scholar
  3. Benjamin, Walter. Illuminations: Essays and Reflections. New York: Schocken, 1968, 2007.Google Scholar
  4. Bhabha, Homi. The Location of Culture. London and New York: Routledge, 1990.Google Scholar
  5. Brennan, Bernadette. ‘Unpacking Castro’s Library, or Detours and Return in The Garden Book.’ JASAL Special Issue: Spectres, Screens, Shadows, Mirrors. (2007): 25–36.Google Scholar
  6. Castro, Brian. Looking for Estrellita. St. Lucia: University of Queensland Press, 1999.Google Scholar
  7. ———. The Garden Book. Sydney: Giramondo Publishing, 2005.Google Scholar
  8. ———. ‘Making Oneself Foreign.’ Meanjin 64.4 (2005): 4–14.Google Scholar
  9. Chin, Frank, Jeffery Chan, Lawson Fusao, and Shawn Wong, eds. Preface to Aiiieeeee! An Anthology of Chinese American Writers. Garden City, NY: Anchor, 1975.Google Scholar
  10. Deleuze, Gilles, and Felix Guattari. Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature. Trans. Dana Polan. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 1986.Google Scholar
  11. Derrida, Jacques. Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning, and the New International. Trans. Peggy Kamuf. New York: Routledge, 1994.Google Scholar
  12. George, Bryant. ‘Brian Castro, The Garden Book.’ Southerly. 66.1 (Spring 2006): 190–93.Google Scholar
  13. Hutcheon, Linda. A Theory of Adaptation. London and New York: Routledge, 2006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kim, E. H. Asian American Literature: An Introduction to the Writings and Their Social Context. Beijing: Foreign Language Education and Research Press, 2006.Google Scholar
  15. Kingston, Maxine Hong. The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts. New York: Vintage, 1989.Google Scholar
  16. Lee, Ken-fang. ‘Cultural Translation and the Exorcist: A Reading of Kingston’s and Tan’s Ghost Stories.’ MELUS 29.2 (Summer 2004): 105–27.Google Scholar
  17. Ommundsen, Wenche. Ed. Bastard Moon: Essays on Chinese-Australian Writing. Special issue of Otherland Literary Journal 7 (2001).Google Scholar
  18. Ouyang Yu. Moon Over Melbourne and Other Poems. Melbourne: Papyrus Publishing, 1995.Google Scholar
  19. Pierce, Peter. Review of Brian Castro’s The Garden Book. Age [Melbourne] 27 August 2005. Accessed
  20. Ropp, Paul. Banished Immortal: Searching for Shuangqing, China’s Peasant Woman Poet. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2004.Google Scholar
  21. Rogers, Robert. A Psychoanalytic Study of the Double in Literature. Detroit: Wayne State Univ. Press, 1970.Google Scholar
  22. Rushdie, Salman. Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981–1991. New York: Granta, 1992.Google Scholar
  23. Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. ‘The Politics of Translation.’ The Translation Studies Reader. Ed. Lawrence Venuti. London and New York: Routledge, 2000. 397–417.Google Scholar
  24. Sun, Chang Kang-I, and Haun Saussy. Eds. Women Writers of Traditional China: An Anthology of Poetry and Criticism. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1999.Google Scholar
  25. Venuti, Lawrence. ‘Introduction.’ Translation and Minority, special issue of The Translator 4.2 (1998): 135–44.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guanglin Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.SISUShanghaiChina

Personalised recommendations