New PDF release: Girl in Translation

By Jean Kwok

While Kimberly Chang and her mom to migrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn squalor, she starts a mystery double lifestyles: unprecedented schoolgirl in the course of the day, Chinatown sweatshop employee within the evenings. Disguising the tougher truths of her life-like the superb measure of her poverty, the burden of her family’s destiny resting on her shoulders, or her mystery love for a manufacturing facility boy who stocks none of her expertise or ambition—Kimberly learns to continuously translate not only her language but additionally herself from side to side among the worlds she straddles.

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They fully eclipse, at least according to this account, in­di­vidual artists’ and featured authors’ control over the final appearance of their published work. The publication assumes its final shape as a result of the magazine’s technical specifications and printing exigencies, much more so than it reflects a meeting of the minds between the represented subject and the literary creator of that representation. ” Realism’s prose descriptions originated with realism’s business strategies for sharing space with visual art, more so than with readers’ empathy for actual fig­ures among the “uncomfortable” classes.

They imagine “how the other half lives,” without repelling the richer “half ” of their readership in turn. My test cases, finally, make no claim that illustrations, in and of themselves, lessen (or aggravate) racism, sexism, or xenophobia in texts we receive as twenty-first-century readers. It is not my aim to determine “who is to blame” for insensitive or offensive imagery. Whenever we accuse or exonerate writers of what we see as racism, sexism, or xenophobia, I suggest we consider their visual as well as verbal fields and that we read authorial hesitations as instances of handing responsibility for representation to artists working in alternative artistic modes.

An article on “The Making of an Illustrated Magazine” from 1893, for example, obscures authors’ and artists’ degrees of agency amid evasive, passive-­ voice constructions. Editorial decisions about written copy have played out at a magazine’s offices and in the “meantime, the manuscript has been the object of repeated consultation regarding its illustration”: “Various members of the staff have written out their ideas as to the best material at hand for illustrative purposes, with suggestions as to the artist most likely to do justice to the work.

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