The introduction of Shakespeare to China was through the Chinese translation of Mary and Charles Lamb’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s plays, Tales from Shakespeare
. The Western missionaries’ Chinese translations of the Lambs’ adaptation have rarely been studied. Isaac Mason and his assistant Ha Zhidao’s 1918 translation of the Lambs’ book, entitled Haiguo Quyu
(Interesting Tales from Overseas Countries
), is one of the earliest Chinese versions translated by Christian missionaries. Although Mason was a Christian missionary and his translation was published by The Christian Literature Society for China, Mason adopted an indirect way to propagate Christian thoughts and rewrote some parts that are related to Christian belief. The rewriting is manifested in several aspects, including the use of four-character titles with Confucian ethical tendencies, rewriting paragraphs with hidden Christian ideas and highlighting themes closely related to Christian ethics, such as mercy, forgiveness and justice. While unique in its time, such a strategy of using the Chinese translation of Shakespeare for indirect missionary work had an impact on subsequent missionary translations.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited