Translation, literature and philosophy Lin Yutang’s three pillars and the space of zhongyong

Yangyang Long*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book or Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter explores Lin Yutang's translation of Chinese literature and philosophy to the English-speaking world. It centres on his unique translation method that the target readers are able to understand, while not abandoning the central tenets of Chinese translation practice. By focussing on Lin's three key theoretical pillars of translation – zhongshi (fidelity, faithfulness), tongshun (fluency, communicability), and mei (aesthetic beauty), this chapter examines what he conceptualises as the space of zhongyong (central harmony) which captures the constant flux of the translator's balancing act between his Chinese-speaking Self and English-speaking Other. The aim of the three pillars and the space of zhongyong, this chapter concludes, is to facilitate the recognition of Chinese culture as a meaningful member of modern world culture by the English-speaking world, thereby confounding previous misrecognition of China by Other-generated stereotypes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Works of Lin Yutang
Subtitle of host publicationTranslation and Recognition
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9781000925074
ISBN (Print)9781032549576
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023


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