Paper Republic: Chinese Literature Matters

Bruce Humes 徐穆实

worldcat / academia


Native English speaker who has hosted his own blog ( since 2009 and specializes in translating ethnic-themed Chinese fiction into English.

Newly created posts include translated excerpts from Guo Xuebo's novel Moŋgoliya and Alat Asem's novel Confessions of a Jade Lord, and a bilingual "mini-database" of African literature in Chinese translation 非洲文学中文译本.

My published book-length, Chinese-to-English translations: The Last Quarter of the Moon (额尔古纳河右岸,迟子建著), by Chi Zijian; Shanghai Baby (上海宝贝,卫慧著), by Wei Hui; Chinese Dress & Adornment through the Ages (中国历代服饰艺术,高春明著) by Gao Chunming; and two co-translations: The Most Beautiful Chinese Classical Paintings (最美的中国古典绘画); and The China Tea Book (中国茶书).



Novels (2)

Short stories (4)

Excerpts (5)


Straits Times: Nobel Win Stimulates Interest in Chinese Fiction

By Bruce Humes, October 2, '13

In Nobel Win, Ho Ai Li of Singapore’s Straits Times notes that Mo Yan’s Nobel Prize—regardless of how his own writing is perceived abroad—is helping to spark interest in translated Chinese fiction. Since most of us won’t be able to get beyond the pay wall, I’ve selected three choice quotes from the article below. But pls resist the temptation to re-tweet Eric’s words on your Weibo account, as we’d hate to see his visa renewal application denied next time round . . .

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21st Century Little Red Book: Due out in November

By Bruce Humes, September 28, '13

To help the nation recover the revolutionary spirit, a new – lightly edited for political correctness, or annotated perhaps? – version of Mao's Little Red Book will reportedly hit the shelves soon (Revamp):

The new version is due for release in November, just before the 120th anniversary of Mao's birth. Its chief editor, Chen Yu – a senior colonel at the Academy of Military Science – describes it as a voluntary initiative. "We just want to edit the book, as other scholars work on the Analects of Confucius… We don't have a complicated political purpose," said Chen.

Sounds innocent enough . . .


The Translator's Brand & Branding the Translator

By Bruce Humes, March 21, '13

Murakami Haruki’s latest novel, his first major release since the 1Q84 trilogy in April 2010, goes on sale in Japan April 12. I haven’t found any hint of its name in English, but according to a report by Shi Chenlu at (村上春树新长篇) , its (temporary) Chinese title is <没有色彩的多崎造和他的巡礼之年>.

Intriguingly, now the hunt is on for the Chinese translator. You may recall that the monopoly of long-time Murakami translator Lin Shaohua (林少华) ended abruptly when the contract for rendering What I Talk about When I Talk about Running was handed over to Shi Xiaowei (当我谈跑步时我谈些什么,施小炜译).

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"The Storyteller": Mo Yan's Nobel Acceptance Speech

By Bruce Humes, December 8, '12

It's true that the Western media, and not a few China hands, would like nothing better than for Mo Yan to have delivered a Nobel acceptance speech that criticizes China's censorship practices.

One could argue that this is a selfish if not downright childish desire.

His speech is now up in Chinese (讲故事的人), so we know that his speech contained nothing of the sort. He basically said that:

*** He perceives himself as a "storyteller" who was deeply inspired by the lives of those around him as he grew up in a small Shandong town

*** Recent criticisms leveled at him in fact have nothing to do with Mo Yan the writer

*** A writer should be judged by what he writes, not what he says -- or doesn't say -- about what he writes