Chapter 4 Chinese Renaissance, Other Renaissances

In: Remembering May Fourth
Gang Zhou
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This chapter revisits an important and long-standing debate on whether “Renaissance” or “Enlightenment” is a more appropriate or accurate term to describe the May Fourth Movement. The author of this chapter proposes a renewed interest in using “Renaissance” as a conceptual category to evaluate the May Fourth new culture movement since it has the merits of placing this Chinese cultural movement in a transnational context. Through an appropriation of Franco Moretti’s concept of “distant reading,” the author highlights the parallel relations between May Fourth China and other cultures at their respective historical junctures in order to emphasize the multiple and transnational practices of Renaissance. This chapter thus demonstrates how the framework of world literary studies can help us reshape and refresh our understanding of the May Fourth new culture movement within a global and cross-cultural context.

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Remembering May Fourth

The Movement and its Centennial Legacy

Series:  Ideas, History, and Modern China, Volume: 23