Translating Agendas in Children’s Literature: Oscar Wilde’s Fairy Tales in China

translation political discourse analysis children’s literature Oscar Wilde’s fairy tales


January 5, 2023


Children’s literature is recently regarded as an emergent vehicle for the expression of opposing political views (Simpson, 2020), becoming an up-and-coming part of contemporary political discourse. To examine the discursive properties of agendas and political discourse in fairy tales and their translation particulars, this study adopts the political and critical discourse analysis  (Schäffner, 2004; Van Dijk, 2003) with the method of micro-textual lexis analysis and macro social-historical analysis. It is found that: 1) political discourse in children’s literature exhibits a marked discursive property of substantial adjective usage; 2) denotation expansion, trivialization, and contrast explicitation are three recurrent translation strategies under the strategic functions of dissimulation and delegitimization; 3) translation initiation manifests political awareness with local, ideological, and political implications. The study, with a specific focus on the Chinese context, foregrounds the empowerment of translation with local, ideological, and political implications, highlighting the delicate strategies adopted by translators in a likewise delicate genre of children’s literature.