“Twice Bitten” : Two men and a translation: The making of the Stone

Jasmine Man TONG*, David MORGAN

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


In the 1995 preface to Translators through History (Delisle and Woodsworth, 1995), Jean-François Joly, President of the International Federation of Translators, quotes a line by Antoine Berman: “The construction of a history of translation is the first task of a modern theory of translation” ( Berman 1992 , 1). He elaborates as follows: “Constructing a history of translation means bringing to light the complex network of cultural exchanges between people, cultures and civilizations through the ages. It means drawing a portrait of these import-export workers and attempting to unravel their deep-rooted reasons for translating one particular work instead of another. It means finding out why their sponsors (kings, aristocrats, patrons, high-ranking clergy, etc.) asked them to translate a given work. It means taking into account what the translators themselves have written about their work, its difficulties and constraints.” This paper, as the title suggests, attempts to draw a portrait, based on the documents and letters 1 exchanged by the translators themselves, of the collaboration between two translators working on one translation, the Hawkes-Minford Story of the Stone, otherwise known as The Dream of the Red Chamber. The true and complete story can never be known by outsiders, like us, the readers. But through this paper, we can “hear” and “read” the voices of the translators, the publisher and other informants. Let history speak.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)791-818
Number of pages28
Issue number6
Early online date17 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • collaborative translation
  • David Hawkes
  • John Minford
  • the Story of the Stone
  • the Dream of the Red Chamber
  • Hongloumeng


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