‘Finnegans Wake’ Is Greek to Many; Now Imagine It in Chinese


James_Joyce“Finnegans Wake” has bedeviled readers for decades, but few can claim the toil and triumph it has given to Dai Congrong.

Ms. Dai spent eight years translating into Chinese the 1939 James Joyce novel that the author’s own brother described as “unspeakably wearisome.” She endured low pay, a skeptical husband and the continued demands of her teaching job. That is on top of deciphering sentences like this: “Rot a peck of pa’s malt had Jhem or Shen brewed by arclight and rory end to the regginbrow was to be seen ringsome on the aquaface.”

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