Cover of Mark Twain in China by Selina Lai-Henderson
Mark Twain in China
Selina Lai-Henderson

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May 2015
176 pages.
$45.00

Cloth ISBN: 9780804789646

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Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens, 1835–1910) has had an intriguing relationship with China that is not as widely known as it should be. Although he never visited the country, he played a significant role in speaking for the Chinese people both at home and abroad. After his death, his Chinese adventures did not come to an end, for his body of works continued to travel through China in translation throughout the twentieth century. Were Twain alive today, he would be elated to know that he is widely studied and admired there, and that Adventures of Huckleberry Finn alone has gone through no less than ninety different Chinese translations, traversing China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Looking at Twain in various Chinese contexts—his response to events involving the American Chinese community and to the Chinese across the Pacific, his posthumous journey through translation, and China's reception of the author and his work, Mark Twain in China points to the repercussions of Twain in a global theater. It highlights the cultural specificity of concepts such as "race," "nation," and "empire," and helps us rethink their alternative legacies in countries with dramatically different racial and cultural dynamics from the United States.

About the author

Selina Lai-Henderson is Research Assistant Professor of American Studies at The University of Hong Kong.

"Pointing to Twain's declaration at the time of the Boxer Rebellion, 'I am a Boxer,' Lai-Henderson fills out the picture of Twain's anti-missionary position, adding helpfully to Susan Harris's discussion of the Phillippines in God Arbiters. This worthwhile study will appeal primarily to specialists . . . Recommended."

—D.E. Sloane, CHOICE

"A fresh contribution to Mark Twain studies and to American literary studies, as well as to transnational American Studies, and cultural studies more broadly, this groundbreaking book will pave the way for future investigations of the many approaches that the author opens up for us."

—Shelley Fisher Fishkin, Stanford University

"Lai-Henderson marshals the scholarship of translation studies to excellent effect, building both a historical and theoretical understanding of many of the Chinese editions of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The careful treatment of the language and the characterization of both Huck and Jim are salient and compelling."

—Gregg Camfield, UC Merced

"Deftly framed and convincing, Lai-Henderson's study helps us to understand this interactive nexus across the American/Chinese literary republic in lucidly elaborated biographical detail, textual exemplification, and nationalglobal scope."

—Rob Wilson, UC Santa Cruz