Creation for Fidelity – Zhao Yuanren’s Translation of Lexical Nonsense in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Qunxing Zhang


Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is one of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre. The paper mainly regards nonsense as a rhetoric device for humour and amusement and seeks to examine Carroll’s nonsense creation devices mainly at the lexical level, and at the same time explore the strategies the Chinese translator Zhao Yuanren adopts in his translation. The paper finds out that there is a direct correlation between Carroll’s devices of nonsense creation and Zhao’s strategies in translating them. The strategies Zhao adopts show his creativity and experimentation in dealing with the seemingly untranslatable elements of humorous nonsense to achieve fidelity to the essence of the original work. In reconstructing Carroll’s nonsense, Zhao adheres as closely as he could to reproduce the comic effect of the original by different means of creation. In this sense, his translation is creative fidelity.


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, lexical nonsense, nonsense creation devices, translation strategies, fidelity

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