Telling Tales About the Yijing

Will Buckingham
De Montfort University
This essay explores the cultural translation of the Chinese classic, the Book of Changes or Yijing through a reflection on my own attempts to adapt, use and misuse the text in literary form. My own engagement with the Yijing began when I set out to write a novel- of sorts based on the Chinese classic. The process of writing this novel, Sixty-Four Chance Pieces: A Book of Changes, has required not only that I culturally translate the Yijing, but that I allow myself to be culturally translated in turn by this text. By combining theoretical approaches from China and the West, and by crossing between theoretical reflection and storytelling, this essay explores the complexity of this double cultural translation of readers and texts by asking what it might mean to understand, misunderstand or fail to understand a text as it is transmitted between often divergent contexts.
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