Novel, Film, and the Art of Translational Storytelling: Dai Sijie's Balzac et la petite tailleuse chinoise

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This article examines the novel and film, Balzac et la petite tailleuse chinoise, by the Franco-Chinese writer and filmmaker Dai Sijie, the story of which takes place against the background of the Cultural Revolution. The first part of my analysis will make clear how the film illuminates and dramatizes the special texture, aesthetic, and structure of the novel. I then move on to investigate the linguistic aspects of the various translations between the novel and the film among French, Mandarin Chinese, and Sichuanese. The aesthetic effects of dubbing, in particular, will allow me to investigate new possibilities of reading exophone literature. Finally, this paper will highlight the centripetal role of oral storytelling in the Chinese tradition in/through various forms of translation, interlingual as well as intermedial. In so doing, the paper will further nuance and enrich current debates on issues such as intercultural misreading and exoticism in Dai's works.


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Sidor (från-till)359–379
Antal sidor21
TidskriftForum for Modern Language Studies
Utgåva nummer4
StatusPublished - 2019 jul 13
Peer review utfördJa


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