Lin Shu’s Translations: A Definitive Re-Counting


César Guarde-Paz


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Lin Shu’s translations are by far the most widely discussed topic of his literary production. Since there is still some discussion about the real number of works translated by Lin Shu and the unidentified translations he left behind, we adopt the following conventions.


A. Individual re-counting:

1. Individual stories are considered only when they were originally published separately. For example:

1916.3.25-10.25         紅篋記

1917.1                        Headon Hill, Seaward for the Foe. Perils of the Red Box

                                   Tr. with Chen Jialin 陳家麟 (English)

                                   Xiaoshuo yuebao 小說月報 7/3-10, 8/1

                                   林肯救國 (“The Key of the Mine Shed”)

                                   英國下哀底美敦書於法國 (“The Ultimatum to France”)


All fifteenth stories were published separately. Thus, we count these as fifteenth translations, regardless of its later publication in book form. But,

1916.1.25-1917.4.25  秋燈譚屑

1916.4                        James Baldwin, Thirty More Famous Stories Retold

                                   Tr. with Chen Jialin 陳家麟 (English)

Xiaoshuo yuebao 小說月報 7/1-2, 8/4 (Only three stories published independently)

SWYSG 1916.4

                                  織錦拒婚 (“Penelope’s Web”)

                                  科崙布設譬 (“Columbus and the Egg”)


In this case, only three of the 16 stories were published separately before the SWYSG edition. In this case we only count one final book edition.


2. Books divided in different parts are considered only once:

1908.3.4                      塊肉餘生述前編, 後編, 續編

1908.4.9                      Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

1914.5                         Tr. with Wei Yi 魏易 (English)

                                   SWYSG 1908.3.4 (2 vv.), 4.9 (2 vv.), 1914.5 (2 vv.)


But cf., however,


1906.3-4                     魯濱孫飄流續記

Daniel Defoe, Further Adventures of Robinson Crusoe

Tr. with Zeng Zonggong 曾宗鞏 (English)

SWYSG 1906.3-4 (2 vv.)


B. Conservative re-counting (Complete stories):

1. In this case, when individual stories were republished in book form, we only count the book form. This offers the smaller account.


C. Extensive re-counting (Individual stories):

1. We count all individual stories and disregard their publication in book form. But,

1918.11                      現身說法

                                   Tolstoi, Chilhood, Boyhood, Youth

                                   Tr. with Chen Jialin 陳家麟 (English)

                                   SWYSG 1918.11 (3 vv.)

These are counted as three, for they are three independent stories in one book. This offers the largest account.


Individual re-counting: 281

Conservative re-counting: 193

Extensive re-counting: 337


Of these, there are two untitled stories in manuscript, currently stored in the Ancient Books Library of the National Library of China, that could be repetitions of previously published works.