Introduction: Equivalence Beyond Value | If Babel Had a Form: Translating Equivalence in the Twentieth-Century Transpacific | Fordham Scholarship Online (2024)

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Tze-Yin Teo

Tze-Yin Teo

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1–30

  • Published:

    April 2022

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Teo, Tze-Yin, 'Introduction: Equivalence Beyond Value', If Babel Had a Form: Translating Equivalence in the Twentieth-Century Transpacific (New York, NY, 2022; online edn, Fordham Scholarship Online, 22 Sept. 2022), https://doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9781531500184.003.0001, accessed 10 July 2024.

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Abstract

The introduction discusses the book’s key argumentative moves and provides a guide to the body chapters at the end. The central argument traces a difficult and transformative politics of decoupling meaning and value from the work of translation, which paves the way for a poetics of equivalence. The argument is contextualized by connecting the formation of meaning to capitalist-colonial logics of value-assignation, as routed through the political aesthetic of abstraction. It then goes on to address how related modes of thinking have been addressed in critical work in transpacific studies, modernist literature, modern Chinese literary studies, Asian and global studies, and Asian American studies. The argument is anchored by a reading of a very short fictional story by the Republican-era Chinese reformer Hu Shi.

Keywords: abstraction, America, Asia, China, domestication, equivalence, foreignization, modernism, translation, transpacific

Subject

Literary Studies - World

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