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Exploring and Restoring the Lost Glory

Author: WanLiJun
Tutor: LiuTianLun
School: Nanchang University
Course: English Language and Literature
Keywords: Magu (麻姑) cultural propagation folktale translation
CLC: G122
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2011
Downloads: 22
Quote: 0
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Culture is a key word in contemporary world; it concerns now not only a nation’s tradition and ways of life, but also its soft power and economic benefits. Folklore and religion are typical parts of culture and can be approached in separate ways. Magu (麻姑) is a legendary figure both in Taoism and folktales and became a well-known fairy in Chinese traditions very long time ago. However, her influence is declining domestically for various reasons, while she has become increasingly popular internationally as a result of the preemptive propagation by Koreans, who have transformed her into a Korean goddess in a Korean film with the name of Mago. This contrast should be sufficiently alarming to Chinese academic circle and precipitate serious researches into the issues in question. As a result, this research aims to explore Magu as a cultural phenomenon, concerning the origin, transformations, versions, essential motifs, influence and propagation and emphatically translation of Magu texts, so as to gain experience on how to preserve and propagate national heritage against new global and domestic backgrounds.Accordingly, the theory of propagation is selected as the major framework with reference to some concepts in sociology, anthropology, folklore, mythology, narratology, and textuality. And the origin and genre of Magu texts have been determined before the major contents and motifs of them are identified and their influence and propagation are evaluated. It is found that Magu texts fall basically the category of folktales and the origin of them can be traced back 2000 year ago. Because of the long duration of development and their wide geographic distribution, the essential contents and motifs vary considerably from version to version. Therefore, effort is made to investigate the existent Chinese versions and compare some representative ones in terms of their literary and cultural values. Once their features and merits are found out. ten requirements for constructing an ideal Chinese version are laid out with emphasis on the aesthetic value of this tale. In the following chapter, effort is made to integrate an ideal Chinese version with reference to the requirements and theory of cultural propagation. Based on the constructed new Chinese version, an English version is produced after translation strategy is examined and determined.In conclusion, the following findings are regarded significant:1. The texts of religion, folktale, mythology, and literature are quite overlapping in nature and style; this suggests that they reinforce and enrich each other in the process of propagation.2. It is a fact that text has a life of its own, it is ever-productive and enriched in each retelling of it, and so our cultural heritage should be regularly renewed so as to retain its vitality.3. In order to propagate a tale as cultural heritage, it is necessary to rewrite it according to the requirements both of cultural propagation and literary appreciation;4. And an ideal new version can only be worked out through concerted effort of a selected team based on the findings of serious research, and the same is true of translated text in other language.5. So it is suggested that academic, governmental or institutional support be provided for such effort to ensure the effectiveness of cultural propagation.

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