Translating Fragments: Disorientation in Brian Castro’s Shanghai Dancing

  • Guanglin Wang


This chapter uses the anti-modernist insights of Walter Benjamin’s work on translation and the fragment to illuminate the East and West interface at work in Brian Castro’s Shanghai Dancing. It argues that the twenty-first-century theory of translation applies, today, to “global” migratory experience and, in Castro’s “post-novel,” a different writing of place and time than either modernist or postmodernist practices. Benjamin’s paradoxical figure of “pure language”—understood as material marks and sound that traverse any language—may also illuminate where the Chinese script haunts today’s alphabetic, Western literary imaginary. In Castro’s remarkable work, “Shanghai,” as the name and place, becomes the non-site for this global disorientation of experience and memory.


Intersemiotic translation Ideogram Text and image Photography 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guanglin Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.SISUShanghaiChina

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