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Translating the Alien

Translating the Alien

Tsubouchi Shōyō and Shakespeare

(p.10) Chapter 1 Translating the Alien
The Alien Within
Leith Morton
University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter deals with the issue of of translation and its contribution to literary history. It specifically examines Tsubouchi Shöyö's translations into Japanese of William Shakespeare. For Japanese, at the time, the most powerful expression of the Western tradition was found in British civilization, the culture of the dominant imperialist state of the day. Thus, it is no accident that many of the authors translated were British—of whom Shakespeare was the most famous. The chapter reflects on Shakespeare translation in general, especially as this applies to Asia, and more specifically Japan, since Shakespeare is arguably more alien to Asian indigenous traditions than European. It explores just how the alien dramatist became Japanese, a process paralleled in the European absorption of Shakespeare.

Keywords:   literary history, translation, Tsubouchi Shöyö, William Shakespeare, British civilization, Shakespeare translation, Japan

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