This article examines Eileen Chang’s 1953 translation of Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea into Chinese as Cold War propaganda for the United States Information Service (USIS). It argues that this translation, meant to show the truth of democracy through its high modernist form, directly influenced the writing and translating of The Rice-Sprout Song (1955), the novel Chang wrote next for the USIS to expose the truth of famine in Communist China. I show that Chang’s translation practices connect US and Chinese literary modernisms in a showdown of literary forms and their disparate claims to the truth. Chang navigates political ideologies by eschewing linguistic equivalence to favor equivocation instead, ultimately transforming Hemingway’s modernist form via her own. It thus adds to transpacific studies and Cold War historiography by revealing the intimate relationship between political ideology and literary form, and their cross-fertilization in the process of translation.

You do not currently have access to this content.