Dylan Thomas in China: Sociology, Paratext and Text

Electronic versions


  • Jinquan Yu

    Research areas

  • Translation Studies, PhD


This thesis looks at the selection, production and reception of Dylan Thomas’s works in China from a sociological approach, with a focus on the role of translation agents. The study begins with the reception of Thomas’s works in China. It shows that as one of the reception modes, the translation of his works in China has been governed by China’s political and cultural norms in the specific historical periods. By examining the critical reception of Thomas’s works and approaching the paratexts accompanying their Chinese translations, it demonstrates that translation agents have contributed to the discourse of the largely invisible status of Thomas’s Welsh cultural minority and have highlighted the literary canonicity of his works in China. Based on Bourdieu’s concepts of field and capital, this thesis explores the selection and promotion mechanisms for Thomas’s works in China within the transnational translation field and Chinese publishing field. By taking the Chinese translations of Thomas’s works published by Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, People’s Literature Publishing House, Nankai University Press and Lijiang Publishing House as case studies, it argues that the convergence of the linguistic, cultural and symbolic capital of Thomas’s works, the potential symbolic and economic capital for Chinese publishers and the multiple roles of translation agents has contributed to their selection and promotion in China. Drawing on Bourdieu’s concept of habitus, this thesis further examines the role of translators in the textual production of Thomas’s works. By taking Chinese translations of Thomas’s poetry by Hai An and Wu Fusheng as case studies, it argues that Hai An’s textual agency in the form of adopting transcreation strategy is influenced by his habitus as a poet translator while Wu’s textual agency in the form of employing literal translation, classical Chinese and out-text notes results from his habitus as a scholar translator.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Thesis sponsors
  • Chinese Scholarship Council
Award date15 Apr 2019