Lecture: ‘Translating as a Liberal Act: Fou Lei from Shanghai to Paris and Back Again’

A Lecture by Bilderfahrzeuge Research Associate Mingyuan Hu at the University of Melbourne:

Location: North Theatre, Old Arts, Parkville campus, University of Melbourne

Time: Thursday 4th April, 10am – 11am

Born in the Qing Dynasty, achieving literary renown in the Republic of China and purged in the People’s Republic of China, Fou Lei (1908–1966) was one of Shanghai’s most illustrious intellectuals. His youthful sojourn in interwar Paris (1928–1931) marked his formation. In a life defined by political unrest, he translated book after book. His language, that of a superb stylist, ensures his place in modern Chinese literature. 

Considering Fou Lei’s learned engagements with Hippolyte Taine, Romain Rolland and Bertrand Russell, whom he translated at different points in life, Mingyuan Hu proposes a reading of the man of letters’ linguistic pursuance as a civic undertaking, one which urged a critical historical reckoning, much in the humanist tradition, with the burning political questions of his time.

The visit of Mingyuan Hu has been supported by Claire Roberts’ ARC Future Fellowship project ‘Reconfiguring the World: China. Art. Agency. 1900s to Now’.

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