Jin Yong is widely celebrated as the most renowned maestro of wuxia fiction whose works have become the common language of Chinese around the world. His fictions, originally serialized in newspapers and magazines in Hong Kong from 1955 to 1972, continue to be reissued and adapted for films, TV series, and comic books. This chapter offers a comprehensive survey of existing English translations of Jin Yong’s fictions and relevant research on these translations. It starts with a brief introduction to wuxia as a literary genre, Jin Yong’s life trajectory, and his fictions, followed by an evaluation of existing English translations, printed or otherwise, of these stories. Next, a survey and critique of research of these translations are presented, after which research lacunas are detected, and a proposal for future research is put forward. This chapter evaluates relevant studies published in English and Chinese respectively since they differ thematically to a noticeable extent. Finally, it is proposed that future research should pay more attention to online fan translations.
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The source of the Chinese is Han (2010). 韩非子 [Han Feizi]. Huaping Gao, Qizhou Wang, and Sanxi Zhang (trans. & eds.), p. 709. The translation is by Burton Watson in Han Feizi: Basic Writings, p. 106.
The translation is by Burton Watson in Records of the Grand Historian, p. 410.
The citation is from Sima (2010). 史记 [Records of the Grand Historian]. (Zhaoqi Han trans.), p. 779 (electronic version).
Serialized in New Evening Post in 1954, this is regarded as the first “new school” wuxia fiction.
There are different categorizations: some would treat Baima Xiao Xifeng (“白马啸西风”) and Yuanyang Dao (“鸳鸯刀”) as short stories; we treat them as novellas. Jin Yong published Yueyun “月云”, an autobiographical prose style short story, in Harvest Magazine in 2000. Since it is not a wuxia story, it is not included in our discussion.
They were downloaded from WuxiaSociety https://wuxiasociety.com/translations/.
Xianxia (仙侠, literally means “Immortal Heroes”) are fictional stories featuring magic, demons, ghosts, immortals, and a great deal of Chinese folklore/mythology. Protagonists (usually) attempt to cultivate to Immortality, seeking eternal life and the pinnacle of strength. This definition is provided by WuxiaWorld. Retrieved on May 20, 2021, from https://www.wuxiaworld.com/page/general-glossary-of-terms.
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This paper is based on my Ph.D. thesis at Lingnan University of Hong Kong. I am particularly grateful to Professor Rachel Lung and Professor Darryl Sterk for their valuable suggestions.
Editors and Affiliations
Appendix 1. Jin Yong’s Fictions
Appendix 1. Jin Yong’s Fictions
Date of publication
Newspaper and Magazine
The Book and the Sword
8 February 1955—5 September 1956
New Evening Post
Sword Stained with Royal Blood
2 January 1956—31 December 1956
Hong Kong Commercial Daily
Legend of the Condor Heroes
1 January 1957—19 May 1959
Hong Kong Commercial Daily
Fox Volant of the Snowy Mountain
9 February 1959—18 June 1959
New Evening Post
The Return of the Condor Heroes
6 June 1959—8 July 1961
The Sword of Many Lovers
11 January 1960—6 April 1962
Wuxia and History
Swordswoman Riding West on White Horse
16 October 1961—10 January 1962
Blade-dance of the Two Lovers
1 May 1961—31 May 1961
Heaven Sword, Dragon Saber
6 July 1961—2 September 1963
A Deadly Secret
1963 (exact date unknown)
Southeast Asia Weekly
Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils
3 September 1963—27 May 1966
Ode to Gallantry
11 June 1965—19 April 1967
The Smiling, Proud Wanderer
20 April 1967—12 October 1969
The Deer and the Cauldron
26 October 1969—23 September 1972
Sword of the Yue Maiden
1 January 1970—31 January 1970
Ming Pao Evening Supplement
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Diao, H. (2023). A Survey and Critique of English Translations of Jin Yong’s Wuxia Fictions. In: Jiao, D., Li, D., Meng, L., Peng, Y. (eds) Understanding and Translating Chinese Martial Arts. New Frontiers in Translation Studies. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-19-8425-9_4
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