Translating Gender in Children’s Literature in China During The 1920s—A Case Study Of Peter Pan

Mingming YUAN


This paper investigates the representation of gender in translated children’s literature in China during the New Culture Movement, an enlightenment initiative inspired by thoughts of humanism and liberalism roughly spanning from the mid-1910s to late 1920s. During this period, childhood carried a spiritual significance, as the hope of a war-stricken nation. For translated children’s literature, children’s physical existence was outshined by their spiritual significance. The first translation of Peter Pan was selected to investigate how socio-cultural conditions in China during the 1920s influence the representation of the protagonist’s gender. It is found that Peter’s gender has been consistently disguised in the target text. The mystification of Peter Pan’s gender is discussed in light of the conceptualization of childhood in China and the development of domestic children’s literature and feminist movements in the 1920s, highlighting the role the target culture context plays in translation.

Keywords: children’s literature, Chinese, gender, Peter Pan, translation

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