In the 1980s, translation studies witnessed a shift of focus to the consideration of a broader socio-cultural context. Andrew Lefevere, as one of the major representatives, who proposed “rewriting theory” in the middle of the 1980s, concerns the influence of ideology on the translation strategies and the reception of translation in the process of translation. Based on Lefevere’s rewriting theory, this research investigates the translation process of The Gadfly in China from 1949 to 2000 from the ideological perspective, and then probes how the Chinese versions of The Gadfly in different historical periods were influenced by their respective cultural contexts, especially the dominant ideology.
The novel The Gadfly, by the Irish writer Ethel Lilian Voynich, published in England in 1897, received little reaction in Western literary field. However, this novel was highly influential in China in the second half of the 20th century. The translation process of The Gadfly in China went through vicissitudes from the 1950s to the new era, which is essentially out of ideological reason. This thesis divides the translation process of The Gadfly into three historical periods, i.e. the period of the seventeen years after the founding of the PRC (1949-1966), the period of Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), and the period of new era (1977-2000). During the first period, Irish novel The Gadfly received high reputation in China, and its translation became canonical work and affected several generations of people. During the second period, this novel was forbidden to be translated and circulated. During the third period, the translation of The Gadfly enters a phase of revival, for there are various translations of The Gadfly. Through exploring the translation process of The Gadfly in China, it finds that ideology is the crucial factor which decides the fates of The Gadfly in different historical periods. The dominant ideologies in different historical periods constrain the requirements of The Gadfly and thus decide whether it could enter the selection of source texts or not. And they also influence the publication and reception of the Chinese versions of The Gadfly in each period. Furthermore, through the comparison of the different translated versions under the different social-cultural background (i.e. the two versions appeared respectively in the first and third periods because there was no version in the second), the study discovers that the ideology may lead to the great differences between the versions, such as the text length, the language color and the interpretation of the themes, which further demonstrates the strong influence of ideology on translation.