Commentary, reviews, censorship, translation, and "Steamy East" column
Here you will find both general and review articles, articles about censorship and translation, and articles from columns. Some of the articles are up-dated versions of articles originally published elsewhere, while others appear only on this website.
Clicking on any article on the menu to the right will display the article in a full screen.
General commentary and review articles
All general articles related to Steamy East fiction -- except articles that review specific stories or non-fiction works -- are grouped under General commentary on the menu to the right.
All longer articles that explore any topic in the course of reviewing one or more Steamy East stories are grouped under Review articles on the menu to the right.
For links to reviews of specific stories, including those in the review articles, see the title of the story under its author in the "Authors" section of this website.
Links to reviews of non-fiction works are in the "Bibliography" and "Images" sections of this website.
"Political correctness" is a fancy word for something that has been going on since writing began. If you're for it you call it "being sensistive" to the feelings of others. If you're opposed you call it "thought control". Whatever you call it, it is censorship -- an intentional (even if conditioned) avoidance of certain expressions in favor of others or none at all.
Censorship takes place before, during, and after writing. It occurs entirely on the writer's side as an act of compliance with limits that have been imposed on the writer, or which the writer imposes on oneself. Or it occurs entirely on the editor's or publisher's side. Or there is some sort of collusion between editor and writer that results in a "correction" of viewpoint or expression.
Or perhaps, after a book is published, it is suppressed by the police or another government office. Or a distributor, bookstore, or library refuses to handle it. Or versions of the book in other markets, included translations, are differently titled or otherwise revised or edited to satisfy local standards.
Writers are not a particularly heroic breed. Not many are truly prepared to defend an abstract principle like "freedom of expression". Many may push the limits, but few will actually defy them at the risk of public censure, loss of income, or even life.
All articles on this website that touch upon problems of censorship in Steamy East fiction, either in the original editions, or in later (including translated) versions, will be found here.
Steamy East fiction is not limited to English. Writers of all major languages have produced a certain amount of fiction set in Asia or involving Asians outside Asia. This includes, of course, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese.
As the focus of this website is on English literature, however, "translation" means translations of English fiction into other languages, whether French, German, Spanish, or Russian, or Chinese, Korean, or Japanese. Again, because the contributors have been more involved with literature in Japan, most of the commentary will concern Japanese versions of English Steamy East fiction.
Standards of translation, particularly of fiction, are for the most part commercially determined. Fidelity in any stylistic sense of the word is usually at the bottom of a translator's list of criteria. Readability and excitability in the target language takes priority over practically all other considerations.
Translators make their share of mistakes -- meaning mistranslations they are unaware of at the time they are translating. They also intentionally mistranslate in order to (1) shorten, pad, or enliven a story, (2) expand on or clarify something in the story for the benefit, they think, of a reader who might otherwise miss something, and (3) correct something they think was wrong in the original.
So translation, as a commercial enterprise, involves "assimilating" a story told in an alien tongue, into a local tongue, for local readers who might not share the alien reader's prior knowledge or point of view. All manner of things can happen during this process -- some amusing, others problematic.
Any articles about problems concerning translations of Steamy East fiction will be found here. However, articles dealing mostly with censorship in the process of translation will be under Censorship.