Warriors of Light – Translators in Modern China: Literature and Predestined Affinity

30 September 2016 | 5.30 – 7pm | Auditorium, National Gallery Singapore | Admission: Regular $10.00, Concession (students and senior citizens) $8.00 | Get your ticket here

In this major lecture, one of the leading translators and sinologists in modern times considers the special case of translation in modern China and the plight of the literary translator in China over the past hundred years. He discusses the increasingly important role that translation has played during that period of dramatic change, and the often fraught and perilous circumstances in which Chinese translators have worked. In particular, he pays tribute to four great figures (Lin Shu, Yan Fu, Fou Lei and Mu Dan), conveying through their stories something of the powerful and illuminating contribution that translation has made and will continue to make to the evolution of Chinese culture and society. It may be in some ways a harrowing tale, but it also offers a glimpse of hope and inspiration for the future, for, in his words, "I believe firmly that translators, in China as elsewhere, are, today as they were a hundred years ago, ultimately 'warriors of light', dedicated to the quest for the Universal Heart-and-Mind, through the underground preservation and cultivation of the purity and strength, the sincerity and integrity of language and of the true Tao. They have been and are guerilla fighters in this cause, in this new interpretation of the age-old Chinese creed of using literature to transmit the Way, wenyi zaidao 文以载道."

To find out more about TranslateSingapore events, please click here

Go to Top

About John Minford

John Minford is a sinologist and literary translator. He is primarily known for his translations of Chinese classics such as The Story of the Stone and The Art of War. John's most recent work, a translation of the famous Chinese divination text, the I Ching, was published in October 2014 by Penguin Books.

John Minford was educated at Winchester College and Balliol College, Oxford, where he graduated in 1968 with a First Class Honours degree in Chinese Studies. Over the subsequent 15 years he worked closely with David Hawkes on the Penguin Classics version of the 18th-century novel The Story of the Stone (红楼梦), translating the last forty chapters. He went to Canberra in 1977 and studied for his PhD under the late Liu Ts'unyan (柳存仁). He went on to translate for Penguin a selection from Pu Songling's Strange Tales (聊斋志异) and Sunzi's The Art of War (孙子兵法). He is currently Emeritus Professor of Chinese at the Australian National University (ANU) and Sin Wai Kin Distinguished Professor of Chinese Culture and Translation at the Hang Seng Management College, Hong Kong.

Go to Top


National Gallery Singapore
1 St. Andrew's Rd
Singapore 178957

Go to Top