Katya Knyazeva (avezink) wrote,
Katya Knyazeva
avezink

China in 1951, as envisioned in 1910


Russian speakers are lucky to have PapaHuHu (papahuhu) among us! Lately he's been publishing an extended summary of chapters from China's first futuristic novel, New China 新中国, written by Lu Shi'e 陆士谔 and published in 1910.

Intro and Chapter 1: https://www.papahuhu.com/archive/202004135576/
Chapter 2: https://www.papahuhu.com/archive/202004145582/
Chapter 3: https://www.papahuhu.com/archive/202004155586/
Chapter 4: https://www.papahuhu.com/archive/202004165590/
Chapter 5: https://www.papahuhu.com/archive/202004175594/
Chapter 6: https://www.papahuhu.com/archive/202004185600/

And here is a sample of the original text and its English translation:

我與女士走出戲園,見天忽然下雨了.我道:“,我與你都沒有帶雨具怎麼呢?”女士道:“如今不比從前了,雨天行路,不必定帶雨具.”我問:“衣裳不怕被雨打溫麼?”女士道:“不妨,這會子有雨街的了.雨天隻要在雨街上走,怎會得打濕呢?”我問:“怎麼叫做雨街?”女士道:“雨街,就在店鋪的後背,上覆著琉璃瓦,通光而不漏雨.旁立木柱支撐著,晴閉雨開,專有人管理的. ”我喜道:“路政改良到這樣,可算得無可復加的了.”於是,跟著女士,走到雨街上.果見通明透亮,地上潔淨無塵,沒點子水漬.

When my female companion and I left the theater, it suddenly started to rain.

– Oh, we did not bring umbrellas, what are we going to do now? – I asked.

– Today is not like in the past, – she answered, – There is no need to bring around umbrellas any more when it rains.

– You don’t mind having to dry your clothes every time it rains?

– There’s no such thing, we have rain paths now. How can you get wet if you use them?

– What’s a rain path?

– Rain paths, they run behind the shops. They are paths covered with transparent tiles so that the light can pass through but the rain does not leak in. The tiles are sustained by wooden pillars, they are kept closed when it is sunny and opened when it rains. We have specialised people to take care of them.

– The administration of the city really improved, we could say there’s nothing more to improve, – I said while walking along with her. The paths were perfectly clear, their surface was spotless and there was not a single drop of water inside.

Quoted in "Productive distortions: On the translated imaginaries and misplaced identities of the late Qing utopian novel," by Lorenzo Andolfatto (link).

Tags: 1910, 1950s, book, china, futurism, shanghai, translation
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