Volume 64, Issue 5-6
  • ISSN 0521-9744
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9668
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Informed by the sociological theory of “Conventionalization” developed by Frederick Bartlett, the article examines transformations the expression “love” brought to the indigenous Chinese socio-moral-emotive paradigm during the early twentieth century. It focuses on examining usages and semantic connotations of “愛”, a loose Chinese equivalence of love, in 吟邊燕語 (Chanting the Swallows’ Talks), a translation by Lín Shū 林紓 (1852–1924) of Charles and Mary Lamb’s published in 1904, a time that witnessed a vast number of translation projects as well as the transformative impacts they brought to China. By illustrating how “” in Lin’s translation has departed radically from its traditional usages as depicted in the mid-Qing novel (紅樓夢 ) and become a close equivalence of the western notion of love, the article shows that the Chinese’s emotional experiences during the early modern period may in all likelihood be different from those of the West, but the two seem to have become increasing comparable. When we seek to understand modern Chinese emotional experience, apart from asking how it is ethnically, socially, culturally, historically different, it might be equally important to ask in what ways the West has made it different from before, and how it has managed to retain its unique identity during a time of radical transformation.


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