Joint seminar with Komplitt (SOL) and Aesthetic Node (LUX)

This seminar examines the novel and (self-adapted) film, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (Balzac et la petite tailleuse chinoise) (2000/2002), by the Francophone Chinese writer and filmmaker Dai Sijie, the story of which takes place against the background of the Cultural Revolution. The first part of my analysis will make clear how the film illuminates and dramatizes the special texture, aesthetic, and structure of the novel. I then move on to investigate the linguistic aspects of the various translations between the novel and the film among French, Mandarin Chinese, and Sichuanese dialect. The aesthetic effects of dubbing, in particular, will allow me to investigate new possibilities of reading exophone literature (literature written in non-native languages). Finally, this paper will highlight the centripetal role of oral storytelling in the Chinese tradition in/through various forms of translation, interlingual as well as intermedial. In so doing, the paper will further nuance and enrich current debates on issues such as intercultural misreading and exoticism in Dai's works.