In 1980, Umberto Eco’s first novel Il nome della rosa was published in Italy and has quickly had global resonance, entering China by the late 1980s. Since then, six translations have been published in the Chinese language, including two issued by Taiwanese translators. It is interesting to observe how each version is able to refract the socio-cultural contexts of the translators, depending on the aspirations and cultural images created in the different periods and geographic areas. We need also consider that, especially in the case of Eco’s novels, the translators had to not only deal with the different needs and expectations of their readers but also imagine a ‘new model reader’, just as Eco did. Therefore, this paper aims at confronting the six different translated versions, by identifying the new model readers imagined by the translators, considering their own expectations, knowledge, and cultural context.
This article aims to describe the synchronic system of Chinese characters by investigating its cognitive trait of signs. Unlike alphabetic writing systems in which letters represent sounds, Chinese characters convey their meaning in part through images, which makes its synchronic system unique and requires a reconfiguration of the Saussurean framework of signifier and signified. I argue that the Chinese system is instead comprised of three components: pattern, meaning, and formation. Through a close investigation of the historical development of the Chinese character system and drawing on Peirce’s classification of the sign, I propose a threefold adaptation of Saussure’s semiology to Chinese that challenges the arbitrary relationship between signifier and signified, reconfigures the signifier from sound-image to visual character pattern, and proposes a morphological view that takes account of aesthetic principles in the generation and function of meaning.
The three positions of decodings proposed by communication theorist Stuart Hall have become a starting point for contemporary cultural studies. He insists that receivers of cultural products are not necessarily passive but can be ‘oppositional’. Media scholar John Fiske has further advanced the theory, suggesting that receivers can turn to be ‘producerly’ in their reception of cultural products. The present paper sheds light on the possibility of a more active, even creative position on the part of receivers, particularly in relation to popular songs and other interactive texts. Receivers of cultural products are powerful others to the ‘producing elite’. Jürgen Habermas’s idea of ‘com-subjectivity’ provides a theoretical foundation for the validity and desirability of such ‘creative decoding’.
In communicative narratology, narrative texts are not cut and dry. Some of them indicate the mutual recognition between utterers and receivers, thus forming universal bidirectional texts; others rely on receivers’ subsequent confirmation, forming unidirectional texts. Despite the different types, texts are essentially formulated via both sides of communication, which secondary narrativization pervades. Indeed, this secondary narrativization entails the process of ‘re-textualization’, eventually forming a ‘secondary text’. It remains, in most cases, a type of ‘abstract’ text, which will not become tangible until it is embodied in signs.