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A Study on the Basic Theory of Lu Xun’s Literary Translation: “Everything Is an Intermediate Object”

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Although among the modern Chinese intellectuals endeavoring for the enlightenment of the people, Lu Xun is the most rebellious and resolute, his rebelliousness against tradition does not mean that he has nothing to do with tradition itself. On the contrary, in order to fight against a tradition, as a precondition he must have a deep understanding and cognition toward that tradition. The emergence of Lu Xun’s philosophical proposition, “everything is an intermediate object” (yiqie doushi zhongjianwu), occurs exactly in this way. With the evocation of this philosophical thought, the “intermediate object” (zhongjianwu), we see the inseparable indigenous tie predestined between Lu Xun and Chinese traditional culture, even while he fiercely fights it. Lu Xun’s innovative idea was produced in the process of deducing and developing the excellent and discarding the worthless in Chinese traditional culture, while absorbing and learning from the advanced thought of the West. Furthermore, his philosophy of the “intermediate object” forms the basis of his study and practice in translation. His purpose in translation is to bravely step out of the circle of inherent traditional culture, to come to the advanced “middle zone” where Chinese and Western cultures collide, and to probe into the new cultural factors from the West. In doing so he seeks to reform and improve Chinese traditional culture, and thus meet “the third era which China has never experienced before.” However, Lu Xun’s idea of “intermediate objects” is neither the traditional idea of the “golden mean” (zhongyong zhidao) nor that of “hypocrisy” (xiangyuan 乡愿). Unfortunately they are often mixed together into chaos by many people. So it is necessary to have further discussion about these terms and distinguish them separately.

Affiliations: 1: School of Foreign Languages and Literature, Shandong University


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