Exploiting Literary Fame?: A Study of Chinese Translations of Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse 利用文學聲譽?:吳爾芙《燈塔行》中譯研究

Ken-fang Lee

Virginia Woolf with her great talent as a writer and thinker has achieved canonical status in world literature. There is no doubt that she is one of the most distinguished modernist writers in the twentieth century and her works continue to impact on today’s world. But what would happen when Woolf speaks Chinese? This article applies André Lefevere’s theoretical framework to investigate translations of her most autobiographical fiction and how different publishers exploit her literary fame to deliver various Chinese translations of one of her most famous works. I look at how Woolf’s To The Lighthouse is translated/re-written and examine in what context and forms these works are represented. Interestingly, this research finds that no matter how good or bad the qualities of these re-writings are, Woolf’s canonical status would not be shaken. It seems obvious that, as Lefevere’s model suggests, re-writers do play an important role in the consolidation and constitution of Woolf’s fame on the foreign soil. Throughout her life, Woolf has an intense and ambivalent relationship to institutions (broadly speaking, the university, the publishing houses, and nation-state). Yet, her fame is still very much influenced by these institutions even after so many years and so far away from her homeland.