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Shakespeare in Chinese as Christian Literature: Isaac Mason and Ha Zhidao’s Translation of Tales from Shakespeare

Department of Chinese, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
Religions 2019, 10(8), 452; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080452
Received: 31 May 2019 / Revised: 24 July 2019 / Accepted: 25 July 2019 / Published: 26 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Christian Literature in Chinese Contexts)
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Abstract

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. View Full-Text
Keywords: Shakespeare; Haiguo Quyu; Isaac Mason; Ha Zhidao; Missionary in China Shakespeare; Haiguo Quyu; Isaac Mason; Ha Zhidao; Missionary in China
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 (CC BY 4.0).
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Yao, D. Shakespeare in Chinese as Christian Literature: Isaac Mason and Ha Zhidao’s Translation of Tales from Shakespeare. Religions 2019, 10, 452.

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