The Spy Ring: A Preview

This post is motivated by a Google search on "Eileen Chang"+"Spy Ring."  This Wikipedia dialogue surfaced:

I thought the more "official" English title of the novella is Spy Ring (see here)... Can anyone confirm that?--Ivy ST 07:29, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

I do not know about the "more 'official'" comment, but the only reference to Spy Ring title I find is on the website you've already referenced to, which is a blog. It's a interesting assertion, i.e., that the Lust, Caution is a literal translation of what should have been titled Spy Ring. But it's an assertion by a blogger. I can't find yet a secondary confirmation. Everything on the web is that the movie is based on the short story of the same name, meaning Lust, Caution. The only reference to the story actually being called Spy Ring comes from only one blog, from what I can tell. See this web site. If this source calls the book Lust, Caution, well. To be continued, I guess. --RossF18 02:52, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

Oh, and an English version of the website provided by IvyST above is this. --RossF18 02:54, 16 October 2007 (UTC)
Sorry I shouldn't have said that it's more "official"; I only meant to say that it was the original English title when the story was first published. I'm not sure what you mean by "it's an assertion by a blogger"--you mean because of that, the assertion isn't authoritative or reliable enough? But I suppose you must already know that Roland Soong is the administrator of Eileen Chang’s estate, and his parents were Chang's close friends. Well whatever, this is just a minor thing.--Ivy ST 06:45, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
I may be missing something here, but how can it be "the original English title when the story was first published" (in English I assume) when this 2007 publication is the first publication of the novel in English and it was titled Lust, Caution. If there was a previous publication in English, could you find it and verify that it's, in fact, the same story. Also, yes I know that the blogger appeared to be Roland Soong, the administer of Eileen Chang's estate, and I guess his points do carry more weight than a point by another blogger, but unless we can get actual evidence of what he says is true, the only thing we could ever put on Wikipedia is something like Roland Soong asserts that this novel was previously titled as.... You are welcome to make that change, but until we can find another person saying this or maybe this book on being previously called Spy Ring, I don't think that it's a very verified claim, even if made by Roland Soong. Pardon the poor analogy, but we often need actual verification even when a president says something. --RossF18 12:00, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

Wouldn't Ivy St and RossF18 want to know what the evidence is?  The blogger Roland Soong possesses an English-language typewritten manuscript titled "The Spy Ring" by Eileen Chang.  The manuscript lists "R.M. McCarthy (U.S. Information Service)" as the contact person and that would date it circa 1955 or before.  McCarthy was Eileen Chang's boss at the U.S. Information Service during that period.  In late 1955, Eileen Chang moved to the United States and acquired Mary Rodell as her agent for all her later manuscripts.

Here is page 1 from that manuscript:

The contemporary translation of <Lust, Caution> by Julia Lovell has these two paragraphs:

Though it was still daylight, the hot lamp was shining full-beam over the mahjong table.  Diamond rings flashed under its glare as their wearers clacked and reshuffled their tiles.  The tablecloth, tied down over the table legs, stretched out into a sleek plain of blinding light.  The harsh artificial light silhouetted to full advantage the generous curse of Chia-chih's bosom, and laid bare the elegant lines of her hexagonal face, its beauty somehow accentuated by the imperfectly narrow forehead, by the careless, framing wisps of hair.  Her makeup was understated, except for the glossily rouged arcs of her lips.  Her hair she had pinned nonchalantly back from her face, then allowed to hang down to her shoulders.  Her sleeveless cheongsam of electric blue moiré satin reached to the knees, its shallow, rounded collar standing only half an inch tall, in the Western style.  A brooch fixed to the collar matched her diamond-studded sapphire button earrings.

The two ladies -- tai tais -- immediately to her left and right were both wearing black wool capes, each held fast at the neck by a heavy double gold chain that snaked out from beneath the cloak's turned down collar.  Isolated from the rest of the world by Japanese occupation, Shanghai had established a few native fashions.  Thanks to the extravagantly inflated price of gold in the occupied territories, gold chains as thick as these were now fabulously expensive.  But somehow, functionally worn in place of a collar button, they managed to avoid the taint of vulgar ostentation, thereby offering their wealth on excursions about the city.  For these excellent reasons, the cape and gold chain had become the favored uniform of the wives of officials serving in the Wang Ching-wei's puppet government.  Or perhaps they were following the lead of Chungking, the Chinese Nationalist regimes' wartime capital, where black cloaks were very much in vogue among the elegant ladies of the political glitterati.

This is not quite the same story, is it?  A lot changed between <The Spy Ring> in 1955 or before versus <Lust, Caution> as it ultimately appeared in 1977.  The more interesting story is how and why the changes occurred.  <The Spy Ring> had never been published before.  Those details will be revealed in full detail in a number of other venues.  And you should be surprised to find that it has to do with the politics at the time ...

Related Link