Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2021

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Comparative Literature

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



Translation in relation to theater is understudied and seldom theorized. This dissertation shows that connecting the two practices through historical examples promotes new ways of looking at what is conventionally called intercultural theater. By translation in relation to theater, I refer to the complex and related processes of the interlingual translation of scripts, the intersemiotic translation of script to stage, and the intrasemiotic translation between theatrical forms. The Chinese genre of theater known as huaju 话剧 in the decades studied here, the 1910s to 1930s, has been described as borrowed from the Western naturalist or realist stage, but I recast it instead as a translated form. The emergence of huaju as a cultural response to modernization on the global stage allows for this theatrical form to be reconsidered as an example of theatrical modernism, while illustrating deep and overlooked connections between translation and theater.Translational Stages: Chinese Theatrical Modernism also acts as a project of historical recovery for theater artists who have not been the subject of significant critical appreciations, or at least not for their theatrical activities. By excavating the pathbreaking work of Chen Dabei 陈大悲 (1887–1944), Lin Huiyin 林徽因 (Phyllis Whei-yin Lin, 1904–55), and John Wong-Quincey (Wang Wenxian 王文显, 1886–1968) alongside their various investments in translation and their connections to contemporary American theater, I establish the foundations for a comparative study of huaju and reconfigure the standard critical narrative of the form's development.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Robert E. Hegel

Committee Members

Lynne Tatlock, Julia A. Walker, Lingchei L. Chen, Robert Henke,