SWEDISH Academy member Goran Malmqvist said yesterday that the existence of few translations is the main reason that Chinese literature is marginalized in the world.
Malmqvist, one of 18 lifelong judges of the Nobel Prize in Literature, said China already has many world-class writers. "What is world literature? World literature is translation," he added, quoting the former permanent secretary of Swedish Academy.
Malmqvist, 88, a Swedish linguist and sinologist, made the remarks when promoting a collection of works by Chinese novelist Cao Naiqian.
Cao, a police officer-turned novelist, is one of Malmqvist's favorite Chinese writers, which include the latest Nobel laureate in literature, Mo Yan.
"So Mo's winning of the Nobel Prize in Literature will help attach more importance to Chinese literature in the context of world literature," he said yesterday. He also is promoting his latest translation of works of Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer.
Today's the third day of his short visit to Shanghai. He'll give a lecture in Fudan University this evening about translation.
During his visit, Malmqvist has emphasized Mo's winning the Nobel Prize in Literature "has nothing to do with politics."
Malmqvist, the only Nobel judge fluent in Chinese, said he was very irritated by "some biased media" who questioned Mo's award.
Some Western journalists have questioned the recognition after the Chinese writer was announced as the Nobel laureate on October 11.
Criticism that Mo is not qualified was based on his being a member of the Communist Party of China and vice president of the China Writers Association.
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