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Translator thrilled to bring Jin Yong's martial arts works to Western audience

By Mei Jia | China Daily | Updated: 2018-06-19 08:44
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Holmwood believes there are two more things about Jin Yong's writing that resonate with a Western audience: one, the Mongolian setting "acts like a gateway to Western readers into the Chinese setting and historical background", and, two, the charm of the characters and their emotional worlds.

"It's a universal theme of a young man with a mission. He grows up and needs to show his loyalty," she explains.

As White notes in his Starburst review: "Jin Yong ... is working with themes that are absolutely timeless - good versus evil, love versus sacrifice, nature versus nurture, honor versus deceit ... This is magnificent writing that will more than reward your patience."

It has been 60 years since Jin Yong's Condor Heroes was first published in the newspaper and, since then, only three novels have been translated and published by university presses.

However, many more have been rendered into numerous languages in fan-based online forums.

"Contact between China and the West has been deepening since the 1980s, and that extends from political and economical matters into more cultural aspects," Holmwood says.

"These days, it's common to encounter Westerners who speak fluent Mandarin.

"The Chinese people - though they have perhaps felt that their culture has long been neglected - now it's a time when they can feel confident about the place of their history and their culture in the world.

"Sometimes it's that exact uniqueness that creates the selling point."

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