Translating Intersemiotically: Photographing West and East in Brian Castro’s Shanghai Dancing

  • Guanglin Wang


This chapter argues that intersemiotic translation, as proposed by Roman Jakobson, is seen widely in such modernist writings as those by Franz Kafka, Walter Benjamin, and Ezra Pound, and the use of images, photos, and maps in Shanghai Dancing continues the tradition of modernism in its assemblage or dissemblage of text into visual elements. In this regard, one can ask whether the traditional sense of translation, especially the mimetic tradition in the West, is subject to great challenge. By using theories of Benjamin’s, Pound’s, and Derrida’s understanding of Chinese ideograms, photographs, and sign systems, the chapter tries to illustrate that Shanghai Dancing is a good illustration where East and West cultures are well embodied in the semiotic modernity of Shanghai, in which the image of Shanghai is visualized and translated, with linguistic units transmuted into meaningful mental images of fragmentation and multiplicity and served as a very good paratext to the very body of the traditional sense of textual representations.


Intersemiotic translation Ideogram Text and image Photography 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guanglin Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.SISUShanghaiChina

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